Myrkur’s Amalie Bruun: There’s an Underlying Beauty to Black Metal
Myrkur visionary Amalie Bruun was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The classically trained musician first released a pair of black metal albums before issuing the purely folk-driven Folkesange, her third full length.
In the interview below, Bruun touches on the similarities between folk music and the underlying beauty she hears in black metal. The style of this album is something she's wanted to work on for some time now and being pregnant during the writing session helped spur other connections drawn out in the music.
Folkesange challenges expectations of what metal should sound like. How did making such a non-traditional metal album challenge you as an artist?
It's not a non-traditional metal album, as much as it's just a folk record. But because I'm signed to a metal record label, the question comes up. It's something I've dreamt of doing for years, actually. I've worked on and I've studied all these different songs and performed them live and decided which ones should go on the album.
There's an earthly pagan quality to these songs and a strong affliction of femininity. What makes those two characteristics so symbiotic?
There's something to this whole Mother Earth thing — the creator, the nurturer, all these things that are a feminine quality — or power and intuition. It kind of comes with being a woman, I think. I found out I was pregnant when I did the record and this changed a lot of my spiritual mindset during the recording as well.
Folkesange is ethereal and beautiful. Sometimes it actually soars. Why is it important to ground such an uplifting sound with darker lyrical ideas?
I don't know if it's grounding it — maybe it's balanced. I think a lot about balance in life and in art. A lot of these songs are actually hundreds of years old and they reflect what people were thinking and talking about and experiencing back then. Obviously, it wasn't all that easy and happy all the time.
You are a classically trained musician who was introduced to black metal by Darkthrone. What commonality did you recognize between your own music and what they did?
Not much.Because I was raised listening to classical music and Nordic folk music, I heard a lot of that in this type of black metal. It's very harsh, but very beautiful at the same time. There seems to be a lot of nature worship as well. Again, it's the duality and the balance. Of course, I understand, to some people that listen to Darkthrone, it sounds very ugly, but I see beauty right under the surface that I love.
The human condition is a dichotomy of good and bad that continually shifts back and forth. What do you hope that your new record will guide people to understand about themselves?
What an interesting time for this album to come out, during a pandemic where there's a virus that doesn't discriminate between who you are. It just attacks the whole human race. It almost feels a little bit like, "Is the planet getting back at us or something?"
I hope that people can find some comfort in listening to this record and inspiration to appreciate nature and realize that we have been here for so many years. It will go up and down and that will probably never stop.
2020's Best Metal Albums (So Far)