Ulver

Picture of Ulver

Bergtatt

Ulver - Bergtatt ©1995 House Of Kicks
1. I Troldskog Faren Vild
2. Solen Gaaer Bag Aase Ned
3. Graablick Blev Hun Vaer
4. Een Stemme Locker
5. Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene

Perhaps the quintessential ever-shifting doppleganger of black metal (assuming one chooses to categorize this outfit as such), Ulver's remarkable musical legend first launched on Bergtatt, one of the more impressive debuts I can think of right at this second. The band, primarily the vehicle for vocalist Garm (who, as you may very well know, has performed in Arcturus and Borknagar, just to name a couple of his many projects), burst forth on the opening track "I Troldskog Faren Vild" with all their musical guns blazing. Over a gliding and dark melody, Garm chants his way through this epic track. This is the sort of song that instantly gains your attention. Bergtatt in general shows much innovation with folk-inspired acoustic passages, a balance of harsh vocals and clean chanting/singing and the ability to use the speedier passages as a sharp and precise surgical instrument rather than bludgeoning away. With an epic feel draping each of the tracks, this album covers a lot of ground and does not leave you ever wishing for the end. Even during the exceptionally somber acoustic chant of "Een stemme Locker", the strong mood does not evaporate. Bergtatt proved to only be the first stepping stone, though it does have a bit in common with its successor Kveldssanger with the acoustic-folk feel. Ulver obviously has since taken quite the left turns, but rest assured their first lap was one of their best.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1999

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Kveldssanger

Ulver - Kveldssanger ©1996 House Of Kicks
1. Østenfor Sol Og Vestenfor Maane
2. Ord
3. Høyfjeldsbilde
4. Nattleite
5. Kveldssang
6. Naturmystikk
7. A Cappella (Sielens Sang)
8. Hiertets Bee
9. Kledt I Nattens Farger
10. Halling
11. Utreife
12. Søfn - ør Paa Ulfers Lund
13. Ulvsblakk

Worlds removed from their most recent (and almost intolerable) black metal nightmare Nattens Madrigal, its predecessor Kveldssanger (ie. Evening Songs) conspicuously sidestepped the cacophonous in-the-bathroom production and feral hiss characteristic of many blasting Norse bands for a passionately relayed Norwegian folk excursion, performed entirely on acoustic instruments. Vocals tend towards an obscure hymnal, almost Gregorian warble, though under-utilized, they're richly textured and melodiously delivered, complemented by an amalgamation of layered guitars, flutes, and cellos. There are literally zero modern equivalents to this pensive mood-setting oddity as rarely are such blatantly classical aspirations heard within the blackened subgenre. A somber and skillfully executed alternative to the norm; the entire affair just reeks of class. See kids, thoughtful dark art needn't always be delivered with a sledgehammer to the skull.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 12/1998

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Nattens Madrigal

Ulver - Nattens Madrigal ©1997 Century Black
1. Hymn I - Of Wolf And Fear
2. Hymn II - Of Wolf & The Devil
3. Hymn III - Of Wolf & Hatred
4. Hymn IV - Of Wolf & Man
5. Hymn V - Of Wolf & The Moon
6. Hymn VI - Of Wolf & Passion
7. Hymn VII - Of Wolf & Destiny
8. Hymn VIII - Of Wolf & The Night

Always a band of twists and turns, Ulver committed one of the most notable one hundred and eighty degree spins between Kveldssanger and 1997's "major label" release Nattens Madrigal. Completing the original trio of albums, Ulver trumped the entire underground and so-called elite black metal world by completely outdoing the entire genre at their own game. Considering that the preceding album was an entirely folksy, acoustic overture, Nattens Madrigal must have been quite the shock to the ears of eager listeners.

In a nutshell, Nattens Madrigal was recorded with most raw "production" possible, rendering the album unlistenable to a good majority of listeners. Black metal, as a subgenre, has been noted for emulating the production values of their icons, namely Celtic Frost, Venom and Bathory. While it's often argued that those early influential bands simply recorded that way due to money shortages, limited access to decent recording equipment and simply being naive, the 90s version of black metal emphasized those shortcomings as core values to black metal's sound. This has been since labelled "grim". Well, kids, Ulver just out-grimmed everyone. Nattens Madrigal is all trebles, buzzing guitars and no low end at all. In other words, it is the worst tendencies of black metal taken to an exaggerated extreme. It's somewhat like having a dental drill performing on your ear canal and not exactly the most pleasant experience.

Nattens Madrigal thus has to be taken on two levels: the actual immediate aesthetics of the production and then the compositional department. Based on songwriting alone (which takes a bit of effort to discern), Nattens Madrigal is a tour de force that would have redefined the most extreme of black metal had it been more palatable. Played at warp speed with hidden melodies, sublime guitar leads and a sense of apocalyptic devastation, Nattens Madrigal is one of the most impressive albums of its kind. That is, of course, assuming one has put aside the way it sounds. It's a bit like ignoring the quills of a porcupine and telling others what a cuddly housepet it makes.

Whatever the motivation for making an album such as this, Ulver certainly took it to a strange extreme. Century Media, the label who had taken on the band, must have completely flipped out upon hearing the masters of this release. To a degree, it's a shame that Ulver went so far in making their cryptic point here. It does force a listener to carefully listen for the elements that make good music: namely performance and songwriting. However, the effort one must go through in order to appreciate this work is monstrous. It is, on one hand, a defining, powerful piece of work, but it's more of a chore to appreciate than most are ever going to be willing to submit to.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

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Metamorphosis EP

Ulver - Metamorphosis EP ©1999 Jester Records
1. Of Wolves & Vibrancy
2. Gnosis
3. Limbo Central (theme From Perdition City)
4. Of Wolves & Withdrawal

Black Flag had an instrumental album entitled The Process of Weeding Out and that title could very well be used in place of the also-aptly titled Metamorphosis by Ulver. Having consistently reinvented themselves on every release, Ulver has made the final transformation into an electronic act in the vein of Future Sound of London or a more resonant and layered Aphex Twin on this four song EP. There shall be no more trolling in the forest and blazing trebly guitars, nor paegan folk anthems for Ulver any longer. And that sound you heard was the impact of thousands of corpsepainted evil teenagers hopping off the bandwagon in search of more primitive and "true" black metal. More room for the rest of us.

While it's safe to say Ulver has only begun their journey into electronic music, Metamorphosis is a good first step. The four tracks are neither too reliant on techno, monotonous beats and programming nor hodge-podge sound pieces. Rather, a good balance is achieved between the two, with some strong emphasis on atmospheric layering of sounds and synth tones. Only the final track on the EP, "Of Wolves & Withdrawal", suffers from the problems that ultimately plagued Themes From William Blakes' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which is far too much quiet ambience that doesn't lead the listener anywhere. The ultimate goal of ambient music is not to be too upfront in creating an atmosphere for the listener, but it cannot be so subdued that it falls into the sublime background. Otherwise, the EP captures their new sound fairly well. Needless to say, metal folks are either going to be mystified or highly critical of this, but the music is no longer designed for their tastes. As a preview for their upcoming Perdition City, Metamorphosis is a great teaser.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

Ulver - Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell ©1999 Jester/Voices Of Wonder
1. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
2. The Argumentum Plate 2
3. Plate 3
4. The Voice Of The Devil Plate 4
5. Plates 5-6
6. A Memorable Fancy Plates 6-7
7. Proverbs Of Hell Plates 7-10
8. Plate 11
9. A Memorable Fancy Plates 12-13
10. Plate 14
11. A Memorable Fancy Plate 15
12. Plates 16-17
13. A Memorable Fancy Plates 17-20
14. Plates 21-22
15. A Memorable Fancy Plates 22-24
16. A Song Of Liberty Plates 25-27
17. Chorus

Whatever you happen to think of Ulver, you can't accuse them of gathering any moss as they have never stood still stylistically. Having completed their black metal trilogy, Garm and company decided to delve into more electronics as well as the works of William Blake for Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. This naturally led to widespread cries of betrayal from the black metal fanbase, which the band emphatically claims they have no allegiance to, as well as both praise and outright harsh criticism from all sorts of metal fans. Having had this album for nearly two years now, I can safely say that Themes... is a mixed bag of both brilliance and excessive tendencies, showing off all the best and worst traits of the band.

The shift into yet another musical realm should come as no surprise to anyone who has kept tabs on this group of musicians. Ulver's first three albums are as different as can be, particularly the acoustic Kveldssanger. That the band would finally jump ship from the metal world into something more modern should be about as shocking as Robert Downey Jr. asking his dealer for another hit. Ulver's artistic vision extends beyond simply the area where they began and I commend them for refusing to give in to fan demands to remake Bergtatt over and over. Ulver actually shows some strong degree of understanding how to utilize synthesizers and electronics into their music with Themes.... Besides, anyone who wishes to tackle the works of William Blake is far more daring than I. Moreover, quite a few of the songs are quite interesting in their own marriage of heavier guitars, Garm's ever-improving voice and the atmosphere built up by the electronics. Track seven on the first disc shows exactly how far Garm has come in controlling his clean singing voice and creating a vitally strong melody.

On the flipside, Themes... could have benefitted greatly from someone stepping into the recording sessions and pointing out all the dead air passages that could have been removed from this release and saved the trouble of including a second disc (which is mostly empty anyhow). Many of the quieter passages serve no real purpose and tend to cause the listener to drop out of attention. More importantly, some of the pretensious nature of the record could be alleviated with a little more care paid to knowing what needs to be included and what could have safely been excluded without harming the full experience of the record. Yes, Ulver needs an editor.

All in all, Themes... is a very unique record, particularly considering their original roots and should contain appeal to fans of ambitious music who do not feel constrained to amend "metal" onto all their interests. While not perfect, Themes... is a smart and intelligent departure into new territories for Ulver. With more practice and experimentation, their future efforts should prove more rewarding.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2000

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Perdition City

Ulver - Perdition City ©2001 Jester Records
1. Lost In Moments
2. Porn Piece Or The Scars Of Cold Kisses
3. Hallways Of Always
4. Tomorrow Never Knows
5. The Future Sound Of Music
6. We Are The Dead
7. Dead City Centres
8. Catalept
9. Nowhere/catastrophe

This here Ulver band started out playing black metal? Perdition City, easily one of the most amazing psychedelic albums I've ever encountered, is an absolutely incredible album, utterly devoid of any tinge of black metal, from start to finish. The live instrumentation - lead guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, drums - and clear vocals provide a lush, organic feel, somewhat akin to the reassuring sounds of the genre known as smooth jazz, while those very sounds are processed and tweaked in the studio to great effect and combined with touches of keyboards to create a groovy, edgy, often eerie, sometimes even downright disturbing, but always otherworldly atmosphere. Each instrument is clearly audible and separable from the others, particulary on a good stereo - upon which Perdition City absolutely must be played for full effect. Random noises and sheets of sound come and go from odd angles in the background as the music swirls and shifts constantly. Soft, repetitive sections bring on dreamy trances, which suddenly collapse into extreme, eye-popping wakefulness as the music crashes into pulsating waves, leaving the listener's heart racing with the beat. These unpredictable, drifting song structures make Perdition City an difficult album upon which to concentrate intently but ideal for taking a mental excursion and drifting along, idly tripping on whatever catches your fancy. Highly highly recommended.

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 04/2001

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Silence Teaches You How To Sing EP

Ulver - Silence Teaches You How To Sing EP ©2001 Jester Records
1. Silence Teaches You How To Sing

You have to give Garm credit. His musical vision and refusal to be typecast as a black metal warrior have certainly led Ulver down some interesting musical paths and this year's Perdition City ranks as a very spectacular and well-realized piece of work in what would seemingly be a foreign territory for the band. Nevertheless, Ulver seems extremely comfortable in this new world of electronic music and have given their most ardent fans another bonus prize called Silence Teaches You How to Sing. And like the Metamorphis EP, Silence... makes for a worthy piece of addendum.

This EP is comprised of precisely one track, which isn't officially titled anywhere. The cumulative effect effect of listening to this EP is similar to someone scanning through radio stations on the AM band and occasionally landing on musical pieces. The twenty plus minutes of the EP takes the listener through static, peripheral sound effects and takes one on a short journey. The more musical moments are akin to the mood pieces on Perdition City, giving the listener one last visit (well, almost) in this urban landscape before Ulver moves onto their next adventure. Ironically, there is very little singing on the EP, which is seemingly quite appropriate.

Limited to only two thousand copies, this EP is destined to be a sought after collector's piece once more people succumb to Ulver's musical visions.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2001

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Silencing The Singing EP

Ulver - Silencing The Singing EP ©2001 Jester Records
1. Darling Didn't We Kill You
2. Speak Dead Speaker
3. Not Saved

If Perdition City layed down the grid, streets, highways and zoning laws for that particular urban center, the following two EPs, Silence Teaches You How To Sing and Silencing the Singing, are two separate journeys though some of the forgotten alleyways. As this year unfolds for Ulver, their sessions for Perdition City continue to prove that the Norwegian outfit was truly onto some magical inspiration with their latest muse. Unlike the previous EP, Silencing the Singing is a tad more focused with the music, offering three pieces rather than a single continuous track. As the EP's title intonates, there is no singing to be found here. Rather, Ulver creates more mood pieces that revolve around the Perdition City theme and atmosphere. The music is subtle and best experienced at night through a good pair of headphones as it is the type of thing that relies on a tired mind for the best wanderings.

This EP is limited to three thousand copies, rather than two thousand. Apparently Ulver has acknowledged "you demanding dogs" as the previous EP is already a highly sought after release. It is a shame that this may be the last of the triumvirate of releases this year. Impressive from beginning to end and one of the finest series of releases of the year.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2001

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Lyckantropen Themes

Ulver - Lyckantropen Themes ©2002 Jester Records
1. Nofvjo224010
2. 2 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224020
3. 3 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224030
4. 4 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224040
5. 5 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224050
6. 6 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224060
7. 7 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224070
8. 8 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224080
9. 9 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224090
10. 10 PQ Entry: Nofvjo224100

Subtitled "Original Soundtrack for the Short Film by Steve Ericsson", Ulver's Lyckantropen Themes is the outfit's full fledged descent into ambient soundscapes. Ulver sheds the the constant sense of anxiety of Perdition City for an experience that is far more subliminal and alluring. The CD is a stripped down and minimalized affair that accents the mood and atmosphere of the music over any sort of song based musical score. As a soundtrack, it is hard to say if it matches the film without actually seeing the film. As its own piece of work, Lyckantropen Themes stands up very well on its own.

The album has a lot in common with its predecessor, Perdition City. One can immediately tell the same team responsible for the previous CD is on board for this album as well. Ulver seems to be getting more adept at this game and have more confidence in their ambient sensibilities. As one person described it, Lyckantropen Themes is background music that may fade to the rear but if you resume paying attention, there is always something going on to interest your ears. The strangely titled tracks, which might as well be cryptic designations by a geological survey team gone rogue, flow into one another. There are fades and builds with occasional background noises. The CD is considerably more serene than Perdition City, as if Ulver has finally taken the listener out of the urban nightmare and into a dark countryside. The music is often very contemplative and looks inwards.

Lyckantropen Themes is not an album that will appeal to the band's metal audience of the past. It is a very dark, but intriguing journey into musical ambience. Those who have been moved and impressed by Perdition City and its companion EPs will do well in picking this up. Within its idiom, Lyckantropen Themes is a successful and impressive venture.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

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1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines

Ulver - 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines ©2003 Jester Records
1. Ulver: Crack Bug
2. Alexander Rishaug: A Little Wiser Than The Monkey, Much Wiser Than Seven Me
3. Information: Track Slow Snow
4. The Third Eye Foundation: Lyckantropen Remix
5. Upland: Lost In Moments Remix
6. Bogdan Raczynski: Bog's Basil & Curry Powder Potatos Recipe
7. Martin Horntveth: De Alte
8. Neotropic: He Said - She Said
9. A. Wiltzie Vs Stars Of The Lid: I Love You, But I Prefer Trondheim (Parts 1
10. Fennesz: Only The Poor Ahve To Travel
11. Pita: Ulvrmixsw5
12. Jazzkammer: Wolf Rotorvator
13. V/Vm: The Descent Of Men
14. Merzbow: Vow Me Lbrzu

A wise man once said, "Remix albums are bad news." If a wise man never actually said that, then let me submit my resume for the position because quite frankly, there's been very, very few remix efforts worth anyone's valuable time. For the most part, it seems like an excuse for studio rats to spend more time in the studio mucking about with music they didn't create to begin with. But seemingly every electronic artist has to have something remixed and now that Ulver is composing mostly with electronics, they have been bit by the bug as well. 1993-2003: 1st Decade in the Machines is not a typical compilation that an artist might release after ten years of existence. Unfortunately, this release features fourteen remixes from thirteen other "artists" and essentially loses any of the appeal that Ulver's music originally had.

For the most part, the studio rats take various bits of Ulver's music from all the band's releases and make them almost completely unrecognizable. Rather than inject them with new perspectives on creativity, they mangle the original music till it is lifeless, characterless and sadly, pointless. With a couple exceptions, these remixes are uniformly bad. Too many of these producers feel that the only way to reinterpret Ulver's music is by distorting it and creating washes of white noise and high pitched squeals. That may have been cute when Controlled Bleeding was doing it back in 1983, but it's about as cute as a possum run over by a large automobile in 2003. All the vibrancy of the original music is lost and what is leftover is a gross, inaccurate sketch of someone's idea of the original song kernal.

Needless to say, this is the first truly unnecessary Ulver release, but thankfully, it's technically not an Ulver release. Remix albums are almost always a waste and there's very little here that would warrant a mad rush to the CD store to demand a copy. This particularly remix album does little to change my opinion of the remix phenomenon. They're the only thing worse and less needed than a tribute album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2003

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A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP

Ulver - A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP ©2003 Jester Records
1. Little Blue Bird
2. Doom Sticks
3. Vowels
4. Eitttlane

Ulver has become quite the prolific group since their transformation from a wily black metal group into an experimental electronic outfit. Since the beginning of 2001, Ulver has released a full length, two accompanying EPs, a soundtrack to a Swedish film, a somewhat superfluous remix collection and now another little EP. Add to that list another soundtrack coming out this fall and you've got some busy little Norwegian beavers to contend with. One might wonder with all this activity if the musical endeavours are a case of "quanity vs. quality" but fear not, Ulver seems to only be getting better and better at their craft. A Quick Fix of Melancholy is an aptly titled EP as it does provide a fast dose of some truly somber, yet stunning music.

As one may correctly surmise, Ulver has grown considerably in their understanding of constructing electronic music. Long gone are the somewhat stiff and extraneous moments of Themes of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. A Quick Fix of Melancholy is a vibrant, breathing piece of work that captures a healthy, albeit disturbing imagination. Ulver moves away from a more beat reliant foundation and instead deconstructs what could be construed as neo-classical music. Unlike the Dargaards and Elends out there, Ulver instead throws out the majority of a fully orchestrated work and utilizes leftover bits and pieces. Leftover then is synthesized string sections providing waltzy sweeps paired up with twisted electronic sounds. To a degree, this EP reminds me of The Nutcracker Suite type of holiday cartoons being thrust through the imagination of a mental patient at the local institution of your choice. Garm's singing also returns on both "Little Blue Bird" and "Vowels", both instances being somewhat operatic in approach (not terribly unlike Joe Papa's style in Controlled Bleeding) and absolutely disturbing. Of note, "Vowels" is one of the most powerful pieces of music Ulver has created to date. The sense of composition seems more prevalent than ever before and this six and a half minute song is utterly captivating. If this is a sign of where Ulver's next full length is heading, we're in for a major treat.

This is so far one of the most impressive feats for Ulver, showing they are doing nothing but growing within their chosen musical pursuit. Music is indeed an extension of one's inner expressions and Ulver seems to have tapped into a musical vein that not many are aware of. The growing skill in which Ulver is putting together their music is quite impressive and this EP is making me salivate at the thought of future releases.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2003

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Svidd Neger - Soundtrack

Ulver - Svidd Neger - Soundtrack ©2003 Jester Records
1. Preface
2. Ante Andante
3. Comedown
4. Surface
5. Somnam
6. Wildcat
7. Rock Massif Pt1
8. Rock Massif Pt2
9. Poltermagda
10. Mummy
11. Burn The Bitch
12. Sick Soliloquy
13. Waltz Of King Karl
14. Sadface
15. Fuck Fast
16. Wheel Of Conclusion

Having gotten their feet with soundtrack scores on Lyckantropen Themes, Ulver returns with their second film score with Svidd Neger. On the second go around, Ulver finds considerably more success in creating a sonic counterpart to the film (although naturally I haven't seen the film, so far all I know each piece of music is entirely inappropriate for the cinematic vision). Svidd Neger is almost an entirely instrumental release, with occasional strange voices and a really chilling shriek at one point. The sixteen tracks flow quite well together, creating an album that can be put on and easily listened to from start to finish without interruption. Alternating between ambiance and evocative electronic music, Svidd Neger produces a variety of emotional qualities. The album doesn't quite conform to the noir imagery of Perdition City or the weirdness of A Quick Fix of Melancholy, but the overall feel of the album still thoroughly identifies the music as Ulver's own.

Svidd Neger ranks as one of my favorite Ulver releases. It succeeds in both a strong electronic/ambient album as well as a provocative film companion piece.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2007

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Blood Inside

Ulver - Blood Inside ©2005 The End Records
1. Dressed In Black
2. For The Love Of God
3. Christmas
4. Blinded By Blood
5. It Is Not Sound
6. The Truth
7. In The Red
8. Your Call
9. Operator

The evolution of Ulver since 1999 has been an intriguing journey. Ever since the band left behind the metal realm for electronic music, Ulver has experimented and occasionally floundered a bit in their quest to perfect their new musical voice. Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell was quite possibly the most disjointed effort, but not unexpected since it was their first foray into electronic music. However, on 2001's Perdition City, Ulver hit a grand slam with one of the more magnificent pieces of music recorded in this decade. Since then, the band has released a couple soundtracks, several EPs and a completely superflous remix album. Now, nearly four years after Perdition City, Ulver has found time to record a proper studio album.

Unlike Perdition City and its accompanying EPs, Blood Inside has a more fleshed out feel to it. Gone are the deconstructed minimalistic arrangements. For awhile, it seemed like Ulver had recorded a full symphonic masterpiece and then spent weeks taking out parts to leave a skeletal structure and ghosts of music. To Ulver's credit, this approach worked. However, Blood Inside feels much more intact. Unlike Perdition City, Blood Inside is less immediate. This CD has taken quite a few listens to get my head around, although at no point did I dislike it. There are moments of dark film noir as well as an array of inserted sounds: cell phones, big band, among other things. Garm also provides a bit more in the vocal department than previous releases.

Blood Inside retains much of the surreal darkness of Perdition City and is a remarkably good album from start to finish. Ulver seems to have slowly mastered their new musical territory and this work reflects another purposeful step on the journey.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2005

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Shadows Of The Sun

Ulver - Shadows Of The Sun ©2007 Jester Records
1. Eos
2. All The Love
3. Like Music
4. Vigil
5. Shadows Of The Sun
6. Let The Children Go
7. Solitude
8. Funebre
9. What Happened?

In the latest departure for Ulver in a career full of departures, Shadows of the Sun finds the outfit shifting gears to release a soft, brooding album featuring extensive vocals from Garm. Naturally, there'll be debate over the exact pigeonhole this release should occupy. In some respects, the album fits into the niche created by Projekt Records' Black Tape for a Blue Girl, offering a bit of chamber music and some of the sparse, melancholy style Black Tape excelled at.

However, it should be strongly noted that unlike previous Ulver releases, Shadows of the Sun distinctly lacks an edge or hook. Granted, this is the sort of album that could be put on late at night when active listener attention isn't necessarily likely to happen. The main problem I have is that it's quite easy to gloss over the entire album and forget to bother paying close attention to any of it. The one standout moment is the track "Solitude", which happens to be a remake of a classic Black Sabbath tune. Kristoffer Rygg's vocals are low-key and appropriately brooding, but again, they lack the edge that has made his vocal contributions in the past so enjoyable.

One might surmise from my review that I don't like this record. On the contrary, it's a fairly okay album that has some decent moments, but its place within the Ulver catalogue is ultimately going to rank fairly low on the "must-have" ladder.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2007

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