Singles in Review | Issue 20

New Tracks

Myrkur - “Hævnen”

2015 shall forever be remembered as the year women took over metal. Following fantastic releases from Chelsea Wolfe and Dorthia Cottrell in the last couple of months, we’re about to see Amalie Bruun’s one-woman black metal outfit, Myrkur, release its first studio album. “Hævnen” is our first taste of M, out later this month on the prestigious Relapse Records.

Taking her name from the Icelandic word for “darkness”, Myrkur’s music is as gloomy and frostbitten as the moniker implies. “Hævnen” packs an impressive punch in its three-and-a-bit minutes. The track begins with a brooding mid-tempo riff and wordless vocals, sounding like something from Nirvana’s debut album. The next thing we know, “Hævnen” is thundering away with the lo-fi fury of a Darkthrone song. A beautiful shoegazey section offers some relief for the listener, like a starlit glade in the middle of a dark wood. However, Myrkur saves the very best for last. The outro is flat-out gorgeous, with Bruun’s ethereal voice complementing rich strings and piano. It is amazing how well she transitions between seraph and tortured banshee, not to mention the different styles of music she employs. In both its ideas and its execution, “Hævnen” is a very promising taste of what’s to come.

Nevermen - “Tough Towns”

Doseone (of Clouddead) informed us a little while back that he was forming a supergroup with Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) and Mike Patton (Faith No More) — by a little while back, I mean 2008. A whopping seven years later, we’re only just hearing our first taste of the Nevermen. It’s been so darn long since the conception of the project, most of us forgot it was even happening.

Well, better late than never. “Tough Towns” is the lead single from Nevermen, taken from a full-length album arriving later in the year. Usually the sign of a good supergroup is that it takes into account all the differing styles of its members and makes them gel into a unified sound. An example of this Venn diagram approach is Them Crooked Vultures, which sounds pretty much as coherent as a Foo Fighters/Led Zeppelin/Queen of the Stone Age mashup could possibly be.

Conversely, “Tough Towns” is driven by the tension of its warring aesthetics. There are a dozen different flavours on offer, none of them quite sitting comfortably with the others. This stylistic unease works to the song’s advantage, even reinforcing its rousing lyrics of anger and revolution. The track jumps between experimental hip-hop verses and thundering pop choruses in which Patton showcases his peerless vocal talents. One can’t help but think of Peeping Tom, Patton’s one-off experimental pop album.

Ramshackle and anthemic, “Tough Towns” is an oddity worth checking out.

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2015.
Posted 2:13pm Sunday 16th August 2015 by Basti Menkes.