Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Get into: Mirkvid

Extreme metal and electronic music have an interesting, and to me, rather distasteful relationship. Whenever an extreme metal band incorporates electronic or industrial influences, they tend to do it in the sloppiest, most obvious way possible: black metal with thumping house beats and clanking background noises, death metal with inept synthesizers chirping in among stale riffs, and a never-far-off similarity to Combichrist are all seemingly rules of the game at this point. It seems that the very best bands who are influenced by electronic music are those who don't make a point of it- they don't stubbornly insist on their industrial pedigrees or suggest that they're creating some new, brilliant style with their (nearly always) ham-fisted and cliche-ridden mixture of two poor versions of better parents.

Mirkvid flips that on its ass by being a black metal band legitimately influenced by electronic music but making absolutely no note of it. You will never find anyone describe Mirkvid as "Electronic black metal" or anything of the sort- they'll just say that it's black metal, but, like, kind of weird, like it doesn't really FEEL like black metal... I don't know man, you just have to hear it.

Mirkvid is a one-man project from Alaska that's released several albums since the '90s, all of them on CDr and all of them completely unnoticed by the greater metal scene despite the project's absolute brilliance. Describing the project's music is pretty difficult and better done in imagery than text:

-Doing twelve hits of ecstasy and dancing all night to a DJ doing remixes of Throndt songs

-Ten goth kids taking psychoactive drugs, setting a cop car on fire, and then having group sex in the firelight

-A grim Norwegian forest except all the wolves and ravens are robots and they all move in perfect synchronization with each other and the moon has been replaced by a giant blacklight in the sky

In short, it's black metal for the club; I actually listen to this and I have no doubt that if I were to slap it on at a rave, the kids would keep dancing without even a slight expression of dismay. It's realistically black metal: there's a lot of thrashy tremolo riffs and rasping vocals, but the melodic sense of the riffs often has much more to do with cheap anthem trance synthlines than Darkthrone and the hissing vocals sound more like a perkier Nivek Ogre than Varg Vikernes. Add the thumping, punky bass and the drum machine that eschews blasts for frantic 32nd note hi-hats and hyperspeed rock beats and you have something totally magical. Not even to mention the sporadic synths which just make the whole thing that much more glorious.

There's a distinctive energy and delightful passion to this music which makes it totally singular- I can't think of a single other band out there that sounds like Mirkvid and I doubt I ever will. I've never wanted to dance to black metal like I have when I heard Mirkvid. Perfect music to fuck some skinny, glittered-up goth girl to.

Because they're so unfortunately unknown, no Mirkvid material is on Youtube. To ameliorate this deficiency, I've decided to upload the project's 2002 album, "The Burning Night," for your listening pleasure. Download below and let me know what you think in the comments. It's sick.


  1. this is fucking awesome

  2. indeed it is. horribly underrated. exactly the sort of band we started tbo to help rep.

  3. Downloaded the album via your link, this shit is incredible. It's genuinely fresh and new without resorting to gimmicks or avant-garde bullshit or whatever. Yet another excellent band rec'd by you guys, I've been following this place since day one and you just never stop giving, so thanks for that.

  4. @anon 2: thanks for your loyal readership!

  5. Percival TipplebottomAugust 8, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    I think you've overstated the electronic element here. Rather than any real raveyness, industrial or dance elements, the percussion and some melodies have a slightly hyper-active video game electro feel too it- which fucking rules. But I see this coming more from somebody who's spent too much time playing Megaman, F-Zero and Final Fantasy on their SNES rather than tweaking out to psytrance a dark club. 'In Dark Times' for example, even has a full on chiptune synth in it, which speaks a lot to the the musics overall influence.

    Criticism of your analysis aside, fucking great rec! It's got a singular vibe, definitely good stuff. Need/want more. So thanks for that!

  6. the electronic element is much more similar to shitty, cheap euro anthem trance than it is psytrance or anything; note how solo guitar parts are used in the same way a trance breakdown would go, with the vocals getting reintroduced before the percussion. chiptune- maybe, but i don't actually listen to any of that stuff. to me mirkvid sounds more like the shit stupid girls in tube tops listen to while spilling drinks on each other somewhere in nowhere, germany.

  7. Percival TipplebottomAugust 9, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Haha, well maybe, though I'd suggest that description is a disservice to Mirkvid. Although maybe not, he probably gets all the bitches in Alaska. Anyway, I'd still say it's closest electronic equivalent is the soundtracks to some 8 & 16 bit vids... which I suppose are not totally dissimilar to euro trance.

    Regardless, I'm loving this album and likely wouldn't have came across them without your rec.

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  9. Thanks. And yes, too much Mega Man in my Bathory.

  10. very cool to see you pop up. what's going on with mirkvid? still making music? where the fuck can i get something that isn't the burning night?

  11. There's not really anything going on these days. I put the music on hold while I was focused on school. Every now and then I think about picking it up. That's actually how I found this review, I was curious what came up when I Google'd the name (besides all my forum usage) My friend in AK set up a myspace page years ago that has a few songs. I still have all that stuff on my old PC as well. I'll have to do some digging.

    Glad you like the tunes, honestly Burning Night and Hymns are the best, most focused releases, though Sumerland holds a special place to me.

  12. well if there's anywhere in the known universe any of the other albums are still being stocked, let me know so i can acquire the discography. ever since i snagged burning night from runefire records i've been on the lookout for more of your shit.

    and since this is an opportunity i never figured i'd have, is there an overt electronic influence to your shit or am i reading too much into it?

    or, if you're interested, we could do a full interview and i can pick your brain as much as i like.

  13. lol i just realized this is the first time an artist has found me openly pirating their work hahaha

  14. I've been looking for any information I can on Mirkvid for a while. I thought I found the holy Grail here but the link is broken! If anyone comes across this and has any information on full Mirkvid albums or has phisical copies they'd be willing to sell email me please.