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Myrkur's acoustic potential well defined - 90%

Letos, August 14th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Relapse Records (Digipak)

Mausoleum definitely sounds very different compared to all other major Myrkur releases until now (2018). It is an acoustic recording of eight Myrkur songs, all known from previous records. The "Song to Hall Up High" is a Bathory cover.

Mausoleum does not provide distorted riffs, no growls, no screams, no drums. The artistic composition relies mainly on Amelie Bruuns clear voice and piano performance, the Norske Jenterkoret (norwegian girls choir) with supporting vocals and Håvard Jørgensen from Ulver, providing acoustic guitar. The overall atmosphere is calm, reflective and slow-pacing. It moves between thoughtful and depressive moods and uplifting beauty but it never ventures to the extremes. The plain sound suggest a distinct coldness and distance which gives a constant reminder that this album is in line with black metal releases. So, in a subtle way, the album offers nine acoustic 'black metal ballads' you would normally find scattered across several albums.

On the other hand, Mausoleum can be listened to with a completely different ear. The Oslo girls choir, the acoustic of the Emanuel Vigeland Museum and the aoverall arrangement could propably arouse attention of lovers of classical, folk or even singer-songwriter stuff alike. So, I consider Mausoleum an interesting mix of "Myrkur" and "Amelie Bruun".

The acoustic versions of Myrkur's black metal pieces are, in my opinion, well interpreted. They don't try to stick too close to the originals and venture on their own ways. Mostly, the songs are significantly longer or shorter than their black metal counterparts. Here and there, you find some interesting references to other great songs. Especially "Onde Børn" follows some musical motivs which reminds me strongly of Ulver's "I troldskogen varen wild" while "Frosne vind" brings up Greensleeve memories.

All in all, Mausoleum is not an outstanding masterpiece, but if you are a close listener, all songs are precious gems on their own. Never obtrusive but beautiful if you give them the chance. Also: very nice to hear Håvard Jørgensen and Amelie Bruun perform so well along each other. "Den lille piges død" and "Frosne vind" show their careful attention to each other. I hope we will hear and see more from this!