February 27, 2020

Munknörr - Futharuna

By Master of Muppets. It's tough to tell exactly when 'metal' transcended its earliest, simplest yet most clearly defined self and became all but a blanket term for 'awesome music that isn't on the radio.' Because of the metal community's appropriation of pretty much
By Master of Muppets.


It's tough to tell exactly when 'metal' transcended its earliest, simplest yet most clearly defined self and became all but a blanket term for 'awesome music that isn't on the radio.' Because of the metal community's appropriation of pretty much anything that's ever made a sound, these days it's tough to tell what isn't metal. We'll take acoustic works - from traditional one-off albums to bands who strictly utilize straight-up medieval instruments - just as readily as we'll claim purely programmed digital nonsense to still be metal. I don't claim to know what the rules are regarding which subgenres are up for metal annexation, I also don't claim to care: Munknörr's Futharuna is apparently metal enough for me to babble about it here, and that's all I care about.

So, yeah, if you're looking for overdriven amps and riffs written in the name of Satan, Munknörr probably aren't for you. Like Wardruna or Eldrim, this Uruguayan act evokes a world long since passed, transporting the listener to a time of shamanism and rune worship. In its most serene moments, Futharuna evokes the air of an ancient ritual by firelight, enveloping the listener in pensive, atmospheric percussion and guttural chanting; at its most intense, it's the kind of music that makes you want to don your battleaxe and run to your nearest woodland, screaming death to the enemy and glory to Odin all the way - and really, isn't that all any metalhead really wants?

In the absence of electronically augmented instrumentation, Munknörr's percussive elements are largely responsible for keeping things immediately heavy. Thundering, ominous drums bring Futharuna to life the way they did before all the digital sonic accessories of modern metal, their pummeling almost palpable in the pulse of the unsuspecting listener. Vocals are likewise utilized in a manner that amplifies the album's atmosphere more awesomely than any effect pedal could ever achieve, testifying to the resonating power that is the core of music - and in doing so, to the futility of our modern attempts to digitally enhance something that is inherently perfect. That such intricate soundscapes are constructed with such simple tools is more than impressive: it's fucking metal.

A more/actually qualified reviewer would almost certainly be able to provide you all with more apt and succinct points of reference for the Munknörr sound, but you got Muppet so you get this: Futharuna exists on a sonic plane directly adjacent to the scores for Spartacus and Game of Thrones, full of energy and ancient imagery. I can't tell you which instruments were used to summon the eery, airy ambience of "Odin", or the pensively plucked procession of primeval sounds that comprise "Laguz". I have no idea at all what's going on "Raido", but it makes me want to commune with the spirits of fallen warriors by fire light on the eve of a great battle, and if that not only makes any sense but also sounds like something that you'd like to hear then this album is more than worth your time.

Futharuna is neither br00tal nor kvlt; it does not djent, nor will it melt your face off in a sea of high gain guitar noodlery or else blast-beat you into next week. At its non-core core, it is more ambient than anything, and surely only an obscure technicality or else a grave lapse in judgment allowed it to appear here on Metal Bandcamp - but here it is, nonetheless. This album never got me to bang my head or hail Satan, but it did manage to take me somewhere that I've never been and yet inexplicably yearn to return to, and that is truly fucking heavy.

3 comments:
  1. To paraphrase

    He humbled you, and in your hunger He gave you unusal musics to hear, which neither you nor your fathers had known, so that you might understand that man does not live on metal alone...

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  2. Never would've checked this out without your review dude. Nice read.

    Also, I saw you bought the new Deha on BC, so I thought I'd give it a spin. I had to stop it. It was too powerful and I could feel myself feeling things I hadn't in years. Hope all is well and you're healthy brother.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, yo, glad you dig it! Sorry to hear that the new Déhà is a bit intense for you, though props for recognizing that and putting it down rather than wallowing.

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