I recently came across “Woest als een horde”, Myrkvar’s debut, again. I was fairly enthusiastic during the original review, but when I listened after all those years, the album seemed a bit lacklustre. Myrkvar appear to have improved, though, as the opening tracks strongly suggest. At heart, the band is still about straightforward, sing- or even dance-along tunes. But “Voorspelling” shows more complex layering than before, and carries some dissonant tones: it’s less easy to cope with, but all the more interesting for a focused listener. Despite the jolly pace, the songs waver between catchy rhythms and pointless twiddling – “Gjallarhoorn” felt like it was going nowhere, until a sudden, sweet violin-guitar dialogue kicks in. The violin and synth usually perform a neat job. They constitute a vital part of Myrkvar’s sound (duh, it’s folk metal) but are sometimes dangerously close to the cheesiness zone. The intermittent bursts and dead-on tunes are keeping the songs alive – when the violin is dragging it out, the buoyancy is quickly fading. Ultimately, the previous album was listenable, and the sophomore is better. So the conclusion can be modestly optimistic. Try before you buy.
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