Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven

Nidingr heartbeat Morten “Teloch” Iversen is a guitarist of note in the Norwegian Black Metal scene, as not only has he racked up time in acts such as Myrkur, God Seed and Gorgoroth, he is the main songwriter for Mayhem. With such a prestigious career to date Continue reading

Myrkur – M

myrkur-m

Those who caught last year’s startling eponymous EP from Danish priestess Myrkur will surely be frothing at the mouth in anticipation of début album M (both Relapse). The bewitching amalgam of aesthetics and frozen agonies decorating that EP is, it seems, the template here also: the tremendously affecting medieval harmonies and instrumentation of opener ‘Skøgen Skulle Dø’ gradually fired by a solitary scream and tremolo underpin, while the drop into the eerie coda is both stirring and unnerving.

The early stages of the album show a progression from that début, thanks in no small part to the production skills of Ulver’s Garm, and a host of guest musicians including Teloch and Christopher Amott. The tuba and piano marking ‘Hævnen’ are incredibly effective, whilst truly powerful roars and explosions of sound are balanced by winsome intonations. The lead guitar of ‘Onde Børn’ is augmented by apt pedalwork, giving it an ethereal quality which deafens the down-mixed, trad metal-style riff and blastbeats. As subtleties threaten to engulf, harsh strings produce a delightfully jagged, edgy coda for an almost perfect unity twixt the two poles.

Vocals are at times both exquisite and euphoric: the spellbinding ‘Vølvens Spådom’ a siren’s call, the blend of ecstasy and mourning given staggering might by a reverberating riff. The marching, resonant drums of ‘Jeg Er Guden…’, meanwhile, are enhanced by chiming bells and delightful switches from languid inflections to coruscating rasps. Indeed it occasionally feels as if the Black elements of Myrkur’s sound are something of a supporting cast: the heartbreaking beauty of the Tori Amos-esque ‘Nordlys’ and closer ‘Norn’, plus the lamenting ‘Bissan Lull’ sticking in the mind longer than the nonetheless effective ‘Mordet’ with its blend of Black and NWOBHM rhythms.

There remains enough hostility on offer to keep our extremists intrigued: ‘Skaði’ in particular, with truly chaotic, fearful passages akin to Aevangelist infesting its haunting body, leaves the bones nicely chilled. That something special is at work here cannot be ignored, and M is further proof that this talented, inventive lady is set to confound, attract, entrance and unite disparate factions for years to come.

 

7.5/10

 

PAUL QUINN

Video: Myrkur Releases Epic Onde Børn Music Video

Photo from the Myrkur video shoot, by Lis Dyre

Photo from the Myrkur video shoot, by Lis Dyre

Myrkur have released their first music video from their forthcoming full-length album M (Relapse), due out this August 24th. The video can be watched at this link or below:

 

 

Produced by Kristoffer Rygg (Garm of Ulver), Myrkur’s M also features the talents of Teloch of Mayhem on guitars, Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr & Dodheimsgard on drums, and a guest appearance by Chri Amott  (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy) as well. M will be the follow up to the Danish black metal artists’ solo EP effort from 2014 (also Relapse).

 

myrkur new album cover M 2015

M Tracklisting:

1 – Skøgen Skulle Dø

2 – Hævnen

3 – Onde Børn

4 – Vølvens Spådom

5 – Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne

6 – Nordlys

7 – Mordet

8 – Byssan Lull

9 – Dybt I Skoven

10 -Skadi

11 – Norn

Myrkur will perform her first ever live performance at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival alongside Deafheaven and Tombs. Numerous other festival appearances around Europe are planned throughout the year.

 

 

Myrkur tour dates:

July 4: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark

August 22: Midgardsblot Metalfestival – Borre, Norway

Myrkur New Album Due This Summer, Hævnen Single Streaming Now

myrkur new album cover M 2015

Myrkur will release her first full-length album M, due out from Relapse Records on August 24th. Produced by Kristoffer Rygg (Garm of Ulver), the album also features the talents of Teloch of Mayhem on guitars, Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr & Dodheimsgard on drums, and a guest appearance by Chri Amott  (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy) as well. M will be the follow up to the Danish black metal artists’ solo EP effort from 2014 (also Relapse). Stream the new single Hævnen’ below

Commenting on the concepts of M, Myrkur reveals:

“The album is a story where the songs are connected. It is Nordic folk music, black metal, classical choirs and more. It feels like a soundtrack to some sort of Norse mythology horror movie with blastbeats. I wrote it about many things, as a goddess who wants revenge and to kill off people in my life, perhaps also a side of myself. I feel a strong sense of being divided into two, not one whole. a side of light and a side of shadows battle within me. And sometimes a disassociation to reality. A disconnect to the normal world and to what I am. This album tells my story and the transformation to one is complete in my mind.”

Producer Kristoffer Rygg aka Garm of ULVER on M:

“In a – for me – short, but efficient time I feel that we managed to sew together a production that will be instantly recognizable in the plethora of “history conscious” metal music, with it’s stylistic wavering between classical, folk, rock (shoegaze) and (black) metal traditions. At the same time “M” also sounds strangely contemporary to me. It goes in circles, I guess. Soundwise it’s all out classic analogue stuff. No triggered drums, brick walling or all on grid here. It’s a really natural sound harkening back to the days of old. That’s the feel (or soul) we were after and I think we captured it. It’s no secret that Amalie loves Bergtatt (our first album), and there’s even a song on the album to prove it! I’m not really a type to gush, but Myrkur is a multi-talent and she knows it. Fortunately for me we really hit it off and were on the same page from the get-go… I think our time of meeting was really auspicious as I’ve been working a bit with Ulver’s old metal back catalogue recently and with that stuff fresh in mind the feeling came natural and was a total trip for me, to summon that epic, sylvan Scandinavian sound, as it were. I am really proud to be involved, to help her make her vision come to life, and also to have her carry the torch, so to speak. I think it’s a killer album and I’m anxious to see what people think.”

Murkur, Photo by Ole Luk

M Tracklisting:

1 – Skøgen Skulle Dø

2 – Hævnen

3 – Onde Børn

4 – Vølvens Spådom

5 – Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne

6 – Nordlys

7 – Mordet

8 – Byssan Lull

9 – Dybt I Skoven

10 -Skadi

11 – Norn

Myrkur Live Dates:

Jul 4: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark

Aug 22: Midgardsblot Metalfestiva – Borre, Norway

Arcturus – Arcturion

arcturus-arcturian-93183

I think that how excited you’re prepared to be about a new Arcturus album depends on what stage you were at in 1997 when they released La Masquerade Infernale (Music For Nations) in a burst of masks, frilly shirts and knowingly ludicrous poses. Though neither their first album nor universally the most popular, it was LMI that made them seem, no matter how briefly, so ferociously IMPORTANT. At a time when the Norwegian Black Metal scene was rapidly torn between fragmenting and shrinking into insular irrelevance, Arcturus were at the very forefront of the bands shining a torch into entirely new vistas.

Bold, dramatic, frequently funny and entirely possessed of itself, the combination of Hellhammer’s thundering drums, Garm’s gleefully pompous vocals and Sverd’s densely intricate instrumentation created something that Black Metal fans had genuinely never heard before. It cast a long shadow over the “avant garde” side of Black Metal (to the extent that they could truly be called that anymore) for years afterwards – even suffering that most 90’s of indulgences, the Remix Album – to the extent that though many fans preferred 2002’s more “progressive” The Sham Mirrors (Ad Astra Enterprises), it seemed to others like a futile attempt to recapture their brief majesty.

An odd choice to spend so long talking about an old album in a review of the new one, perhaps, but in this case the context is essential – because Arcturion (Prophecy) sees the also-ran, half-hearted entity that Arcturus have been over the last two albums shut the door behind them and let LMI Arcturus back into the room.  Everything that made that late 90’s classic so… well… CLASSIC is back in full force here, but they’ve also brought some new tricks learned over the last twenty years.

Once again every track has its own theme and spirit – the “carnivalesque” sound that has been part of their image since LMI is still present on tracks like ‘Bane’, but they’re no longer pounding it with repetitive monotony as they did on Sideshow Symphonies (Season Of Mist). Elsewhere ‘Ad Astra’s meditative cosmic vibe returns on ‘Warp’, ‘The Arcturion Sign’ conjures up found memories of ‘Master Of Disguise’ and ‘Angst’ even sees them recapturing some of their Black Metal fury far more successfully than they did on Sham Mirrors.

Which is all rather lovely, but makes it sound as though they’ve simply gone back to a twenty year old album and tried to recapture the formula. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all.  Firstly, they’ve broadened their palette noticeably – the driving, contemplative Rock of ‘Game Over’ and ‘Demon’s sleazy electronic Pop aren’t quite like anything they’ve recorded before, yet manage to retain the feel and character of both the band and the album. Secondly, and even more importantly, though is the undeniable feel that this band has grown up.  Maturity, such a difficult concept to pin down but easy one to recognise, shines in every second of Arcturion. They’re every bit as arrogant and forceful as they were on LMI, but precocious youth has now been replaced by the confidence of age. In Garm’s absence ICS Vortex (who sang LMI’s standout ‘The Chaos Path’) brings a range and depth that exceeds his predecessor’s bold but often limited operatics.

Arcturion is not likely to blow any modern listeners away in quite the shocking fashion that La Masquerade Infernale managed in 1997 – both the Metal scene and the way we engage with music have changed dramatically since those days – but in terms of musical excellence and thematic power it matches or even exceeds that classic album.

Whether or not you’ve ever engaged with Arcturus before, do so now.

 

9.0/10

Arcturus on Facebook

 

RICHIE HR

Borknagar Working On New Album, Original Vocalist On Two Songs

borknagar

Norwegian post black metallers Borknagar have began recording a new studio album to follow up 2012’s Urd!, and original vocalist Kristoffer Rygg (aka Garm/Fiery G Maelstrom/Trixter G) has recorded vocals for two songs. Jens Bogren is set to mix at Fascination Street Studio (Opeth, Kreator, Katatonia), and is expected out in late 2015 via Century Media Records.

Borknagar’s Øystein G. Brun (guitars) comments:

“These days, 20 years ago, Kristoffer and I hooked up for the very first time in Bergen to record vocals for the BORKNAGAR debut album. Glorious days, indeed. Last night I was barely asleep as I got the first vocal samples from Kristoffer late yesterday evening – and have been listening to the songs repeatedly since then. Being a former bandmate and a huge fan of his work ever since we parted ways back in the days, I certainly did expect a lot, but what he sent over this time around surpass every expectations. Really! Still trying to get my jaw back in position and the goosebumps seem to have turned chronic on me.

Kristoffer performs the lead vocals for one full song called ‘Winter Thrice’ and does additional vocals for another opus called ‘Terminus’.

Being a profoundly nostalgic person, this makes me reflect about how damn lucky I am to have been able to work with some of the finest vocalists in the world, throughout the years. Musically the upcoming album will be a celebration of just that. Along with the vocals of Vintersorg, ICS Vortex and Lazare, it should be needless to argue that this will be a very special album! Massively so! More info will follow soon!”

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Life Is A State Of Mind – An Interview With Vulture Industries

VultureIndustries2013_5PR_zps9c507a30Norway has always been a hotbed for cutting edge and forward thinking bands. One of the finer examples of this are Bergen-based progressive/avant-garde metal outfit Vulture Industries. Their latest album, entitled The Tower (Season Of Mist), is quite a masterpiece. Ghost Cult caught up with singer Bjørnar E. Nilsen to ask him all about his remarkable band. Continue reading