Thursday, December 29, 2016

CD Review: MYRKGRAV Takk Og Farvel; Tida Er Blitt Ei Annen (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Takk Og Farvel; Tida Er Blitt Ei Annen
Myrkgrav is a one-man folk/black metal band founded in 2003 by the Norwegian musician Lars Jensen. Takk Og Farvel; Tida Er Blitt Ei Annen is the project’s second full length, following Trollskau, Skrømt Og Kølabrenning which was released in 2006 among a series of full length demos, EPs and split releases.
Both full lengths can be streamed at Youtube (this one at Jensen’s Youtube profile, the other at Black Metal Promotion) there though Jensen’s work is more than worth shelling out your funds to acquire. You receive over an hour of top notch musicianship: professional, sophisticated, grandiose and hypnotic… but I’m starting to get ahead of myself here.
In the 90s and 2000s there were many solo projects in which the founding member handled all the instruments independently without the benefit of session musicians, thus taking complete creative control of their work. Some may think it’s preferable to have a full band contributing ideas to an album, and I’m not denying it’s valuable if those ideas work well together. But many solo projects (Charmand Grimloch’s Tartaros almost always comes to mind) spawned releases that held their own as viable musical statements as if more than one artist collaborated on them.
Myrgrav’s current outing falls within that category and Jensen displays a perfect grasp of what he was doing and sought to achieve. By handling all lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, strings, flute and drums, choosing all arrangements and taking them as far as his imagination allowed he created a monumental effort that was released just in time to enter the hall of 2016’s finest moments in extreme music. One you could swear was recorded by several musicians working together.
This release also demonstrates the integrity of a musician pursuing his own vision to the fullest, and show metal fans how far one person’s imagination and self-awareness can travel. That Jensen takes on so many different instruments allows for a diversity in his songs that is not too overdone or overindulged to the point of pretentiousness. He could as easily have recorded an album with long guitar solos that force down your throat how virtuoso-like his playing is. Rather he composes according to what works best for each song.
Granted there are a good number of guitar solos and pagan/Celtic themes here, but they are more or less evenly balanced and there is minimal effort to overstay their welcome. The same can be said about the balance between songs featuring vocals and songs that are strictly instrumentals, and the balance between melodic vocals and black metal vocals. There is as much diversity as on rock/fusion albums with varying influences, just channeled in another direction. Did I mention the material here takes you back to an ancient past in which paganism ruled and the winds were alive with the spirits of yore, and does so effortlessly? This is important, too. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Skjøn jomfru (Norwegian version)
2. Vonde auer
3. Bakom gyrihaugen 05:21 instrumental
4. Soterudsvarten
5. Om å danse bekhette (10th anniversary edition)
6. Spålsnatt instrumental
7. Tørrhard
8. Finnkjerringa (10th anniversary edition)
9. Østa glette instrumental
10. Sjuguttmyra
11. Uttjent
12. Tviom! instrumental
13. Skjøn jomfru (English version)
14. Takk og farvel

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