The Draugur is the returned carcasses of the damned according to ancient Norse mythology and indeed there is something truly eerie about Myrkraverk. Now I’m not schooled in ancient Norse or Icelandic but besides writing reviews my true profession is archaeology and this album rubs me in the right way. In a way the slow pondering drums and the many instruments that weave the atmosphere together feels like a murmuring time travel bringing back a fictional past of shamanic meditation beneath a cryptic moon the bleak undergrowth of Yggdrasil. Personally I love all dreamy and ritualistic sound, a sensation of roaring fires and the dance of shadows on leaves and branches and parts of Myrkraverk succeeds in summoning that rare feeling of transcendence beyond space and time.
Móðir Ringulreiðarinnar is an introduction of sorts and thus remains one of the tracks that never really grew on me. It builds slowly with a focus around drones and atmosphere only to morph into a weird chant of some sort featuring the old hag from the swamp. It’s a fairly short track so it neither adds nor breaks anything. In my book the album could have just started with the slow, steady, subterranean drums of Urðarmáni. This is the soundtrack for all kinds of meditation, a dreaming pathway to the stars and beyond conjured up by the steady beat of a drum. Andsetin follows the suit with more minimalistic approach with barely audible echoing beats that burst out now and then in a slightly wilder pace, and on this meditative level there is quite a storm of drumming that emerges from the cauldron only to slowly die out again into the more layered Þurizas. A haunting string has been added to accompany the serene set of bells and chimes. It begins slowly and builds at a slow but unrelenting speed that ends in a wailing ghostlike chant that fades into silence accompanied by the savage beating of drums. Nornaskapur is based around percussions in the start and keep a high speed most of the song compared to its spiritual siblings. The song ends in an atmospheric layer with wailing chants and pulsating undertones. Kvæði Uruzar put a definite end to the album with brooding nature and howling wolves combined with excellent minimal atmospheres and hymns drifting above and beyond the living world.
Myrkraverk is a solid Ritual Ambient album that goes far in creating that thick atmosphere that more or less drags you in all by its own. For meditation and especially those into a more shamanic school of thought this album have some golden tracks but for those looking for an Ambient album the tracks might feel a bit monotone and on the edge of too long. Personally I like this album for what it holds hidden beneath it’s slow pounding drums and brooding chants. There is more than meets the ear at work here and Draugurinn nails that eldritch feeling of being a doomed traveller of forbidden pathways through the underworld. I would highly recommend Myrkraverk to seekers of a more spiritual path and daddlers into the pagan mysteries of old, and it should appeal to individuals into Asatru as well. Ritual Pagan Ambient when it works well is truly wonderful..
01. Móðir Ringulreiðarinnar
06. Kvæði Uruzar