Underground Sounds: Myrkgrav – Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei annen

Label: Pest Productions
Band: Myrkgrav
Origin: Norway

I really try to cover the more recent releases, but coming across Myrkgrav, I have to share this. Myrkgrav is the project of
Lars “Leiðólfr” Jensen, who played in Quadrivium and Storm. The project started out in Norway, but it seems that Jensen has relocated to Turku in Finland now. ‘Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei annen’ was released in 2016 and after that, the band was put on hold.

With Myrkgrav, Jensen tries to preserve stories and myths from his part of the world, the region of Ringerike. To prevent those from fading into oblivion, he puts those to music. The artist is still working on new material, but it’s not clear if that will come out under the banner of Myrkgrav. To create the music, Jensen uses guest musicians like Olav Mjelva of Wardruna and various others. The artwork immediately sets the mood with its depiction of the beautiful, wild nature.

Musically Myrkgrav sticks somewhere between catchy folk punk and folk metal. It lacks the rigorous sound of full-on metal, but comes closest to Glittertind for me on some parts. Even when the vocals are grunted, the overall sound remains very accessible. Tunes like ‘Skjøn jomfru’ stick close to the folky traditionals, with clean, warm vocals that are easily enjoyable. ‘Vonde auer’ with its fiddle by Mjelva immediately takes you to the valleys and mountains in all their overwhelming beauty. The guitar play is remarkably catchy on tracks like ‘Bekom Gyrihaugen’, with swooping parts carrying you away. It’s one of the multiple instrumentals on this record.

A track like ‘Soterudsvarten’ shows the more heavy side of the band, but the folklore and the playful sound is still a heavy part of it. Sometimes the galloping rhythms feel a bit too repetitive for my tastes, It makes some songs feel a bit unnecessary, but then again on this record, some older work has been added from past periods of Myrkvar. When we return to the folky tunes, that’s where Myrkvar is exceptionally pleasant. The singing voice is calm and sonorous and manages to tell stories. The opening song even comes back towards the end in an English version, which is pretty sweet.

This album is quite a treat, clocking over an hour in total time. Check this out, it’s stilll available to listen to.

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