It is a really distinctive act, because while Bruun personally identifies her Myrkur projects as black metal, there is a much more complex and nuanced sound being developed here. Her folk background feeds in heavily, and that tends to soften the harsher elements one would expect from a traditional black metal act and create something that feels a lot more mythological and unearthly. To a large degree the rage one would expect to hear in a metal album is absent. Instead it feels rather mournful and haunted. Long-term metal fans may struggle with Myrkur, because it often sits on the fringes of the genre. Anybody put off by the metal tag should probably give it a chance; it may pleasantly surprise you.
The seventh track, "Funeral", is the album's stand-out in my opinion. It's a heavy song, slow in pace and with a great distorted sound. Other key tracks include the opening title track "Mareridt" - an eerie prologue of deep bass rumbles and soprano wailing - and the fourth song "Crown" - a slow, contemporary sounding song that provides a solid contrast. At its best the album has a beautiful sense of atmosphere.
The remaining tracks vary, but are mostly very enjoyable. "Måneblôt" (track 2) presents a loud wall of noise, rich with thrashing guitars, before suddenly crashing down and getting replaced by acoustic folk music. It's a bit like the black metal version of folk group Clannad. That folk edge is even more pronounced in "De Tre Piker" and "Løven" (tracks 6 and 14, respectively).
It's not all great. "Kætteren" (track 10) sounds a bit too much like straight-up medieval music, and "Kvindelil" (track 13) is remarkably forgettable despite an attempt to give it a haunted, unworldly feel. Stuck back in the final third of the album is "Børnehjem" (track 11), a laughably bad combination of Gregorian chants and an awful child-like monologue; it's not simply the worst track on the album, it's a genuinely awful song.
Despite Bruun's claims, it is quite difficult to accept Mareridt as a heavy metal album, although there is a strong proto-metal influence and touches of black metal here and there. Instead it's very much its own thing - a sort of dark folk - and should really be celebrated as such. This is a wonderfully distinctive piece of work.
Average Score: 3.1