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Ulver - Blood Inside CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.89 | 173 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Rating: B-

Ulver is one of those bands that leave little room for expectations, since any expectations taken into their music will turn out wrong. You can hear all but one of Ulver's full length CDs and you still won't be able to expect what's in the one you haven't heard. And that's much of their appeal. The rest of their appeal comes from the fantastic music, and while I've found some of their later period work a bit lacking, Blood Inside reverses that disappointing tide, standing not only as one of Ulver's better "electronic" (for lack of a better word) CDs, but simply as one of their better CDs, period. Unlike Themes from William Blake's Heaven and Hell, this is not gritty and industrial (or clunky and overlong, as that CD was). Unlike Perdition City, this isn't smooth and jazzy (or dripping with cringe-worthy pretension, as Perdition City was). Unlike its follow-up, Shadows of the Sun, Blood Inside isn't minimalist and ambient.

Instead, it's their most streamlined, well-thought out CD since Nattens Madrigal (not that it sounds remotely like the brutal, uncompromising black metal of that release). Like so much of their later work, it does put a lot of focus on atmosphere, but here it's backed up by excellent songwriting and dense-yet-comprehensible layerng. Starting with "Dressed in Black" and not ending until the last seconds of "Operator", Blood Inside keeps the listener engaged with well placed effects and samples that augment the music, highlighting its best aspects, and creating an excellent (if depressing) atmosphere.

Attempting to describe all the styles included on this CD seems futile, given just how many it encompasses, but there is electronic music, hints of metal, classical (in the samples), some ambience, and some noise rock (and surely more in addition to this). Blood Inside sees Ulver adept at finding grooves and exploring them, such as on "For the Love of God" and "It Is Not Sound." Other than that, I really can't do much to explain the sound, other than that it is distinctly maximalist: there is always a lot happening, even in the slower moments.

Ulver have never been afraid to push boundaries, and their discography is the perfect reflection of that. On their early CDs, they managed to go from a black metal CD with folk elements to a black folk CD (with no metal) to a black metal CD (with no folk). Each of these experiments worked, establishing Ulver as one of the most invigorating bands of the 1990s. Garm and co. were not satisfied with just metal/folk, though, and so they moved to electronic/industrial with Themes from William Blake's Heaven and Hell. And their experiment failed, as happens occasionally when you experiment as persistently as Ulver does. Perdition City was an improvement, but it still fell on its face at times. With Blood Inside, however, that is rectified. As such, it is the best late period Ulver to date, and a worthwhile purchase for those looking for good, experimental, boundary-pushing music.

Pnoom! | 3/5 |


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