Hailing from the Netherlands, Myrkvar return with their second full-length album. This folk Viking black metal band was born in 2004, when they also released their first demo. They signed a contract with the Belgian label Shiver Records, who released their very interesting debut album “Als Een Woeste Horde” in 2008. On April 2012, four years after the debut, Shiver Records presents the second full-length of Myrkvar, entitled “As En Bloed”.
Compared to their first album I see many changes, with most obvious the huge improvement in production. Their debut album had an amateur, but natural sounding production that I loved. I was afraid that if they polish their sound they will lose something from their feeling, but my fears were vanished after listening to their new work. Now everything sounds very clear and I like the balance between metal and folk instruments. Epic viking guitar riffs are mixed with Fusilan’s folk violins (that practically play all lead melodies) and Hrabnilaz’s screaming vocals, all sounding very harmonic. They use other traditional instruments too, but they must be keyboard samples (since it is not mentioned otherwise in the credits). A few clean male vocals are added in the mix, but most of the time they use brutal vocals, which is actually the most extreme part of their music. Their songs move from mid to fast tempo, with a great variety inside the compositions and they have a positive energy, especially in the instrumental parts, when folk tunes take total control of the music. There are totally 12 songs in “As En Bloed” that lasts for 46 enjoyable minutes. It is a concept album, dealing with Ragnarok (the war that ends everything) based on the Norse Book of Edda, but since the lyrics are in Dutch, I can’t see the way they approach it…
If you appreciated bands like early Finntroll, “As En Bloed” is an album you better check. Myrkvar have made a big effort and they improved their sound a lot. They have also shared the stage with many great bands of the genre, so they are much more experienced musicians. I hope they can get even better in the future. The album is released in a standard jewel case version with 12-page booklet, illustrated by Erik Wijnands (also Carach Angren). If you want to get a first taste of their music you can visit the links below. I know I enjoyed their music very much!