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Ulver - Blood Inside CD (album) cover

BLOOD INSIDE

Ulver

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.81 | 121 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FishyMonkey
Prog Reviewer
1 stars I knew this was coming. I saw the warning signs on every album starting with Themes From...and it has finally happened. Ulver has lost themselves in their own soundscape.

You can see the warning signs on prior albums; the meandering, pointless nothings of Dead City Centres and We Are The Dead are horrible, and Lykantropen Themes is filled with too much nothing (read: noise). The Teachings in Silence EP overstayed their welcome on each and every song. And now, Ulver has reached that final pinnacle of faux intellectual pretentious noise rock that has been threatening to overwhelm them for years. The result? Crap.

What you will listen to upon buying or downloading this album is the conglomeration of too many styles and ideas fused into one incoherent soundscape. The smooth techno beats of Perdition City are here. The experimental stuff of Themes From is here. The noise of the soundtracks is here. The solos from their very earliest stuff is here. And above all that is noise. Lots of it. It's not even noise in the traditional idea of random weird noises (not the Mars Volta style). No, this noise comes from guitars, electronic beats, violins, trumpets, bells, even Garm's vocals? "What? Trumpets and violins and electronica, noise? How the hell?" Pulled out individually, each aspect is fine. The trumpets, the electronica, the basslines, the guitars, the weird, it's all damn cool and sounds nice. Now chuck those nice things together and you get borderline unlistenable stuff. It's like throwing chocolate, iced tea, spaghetti, asparagus, chicken and Reeses Pieces in a melting pot and eating the output. Individually each component of the result is fine, but melted together it's crap. This album is similar. Too much. Too much. All the pieces seemed in order, too. Returning to instruments, more experimental, maintaining symphonic while keeping an older Ulver feel, how could Garm go wrong? I mean, it's Garm! Well, it went wrong.

The album opens with Dressed in Black, which plods along at a dreadfully slow tempo gradually adding effects into the mix. There's pianos in abundance, but these aren't the smooth pianos of Perdition City. No, these play frantic melodies over a pulsating, marching beat. There's almost no music or melody to be found here, simply a lot of noise layered over a slow tempo. What we end up with is a boring piece the almost is interesting, but in the end is too jumbled. It sounds like wannabe chaos. Good chaos is King Crimson's song Happy Family. I swear I heard about seven solos at the same time in that song, and all of them worked and it sounded great. Not here. We get some ok segments, usually involving Garm's great voice, but too few.

For The Love of God ups the tempo a bit, from a brisk crawl to the walk of a person who overdosed on NyQuil in the morning. Big change, I know. More messy combinations of things that simply do not work. We even get a guitar solo here, and it's a good guitar solo. Nothing extravagant but nice. Unfortunately, it still doesn't redeem the song because it hardly even fits with the song. Messy. Not lazy, I'm sure this song took a massive effort, but...it didn't work.

Christmas is ok. It really is. It starts with some cool bell effects then launches into a pretty decent part with a laid back beat and some good vocals from Garm. The noise is still here, and it still doesn't fit, and it still is annoying. I think there was one part where a bunch of trombones played and it worked, for a second, just to be shattered. Then it goes noisy, until the end where we get some Christmas-y sounding bells and whatnot over Garm howling quietly, and it sounds kinda nifty. But even this slightly good song doesn't redeem the past two ear-grates.

Next is Blinded by Blood. I really liked this piece when I first heard the album. Garm's vocals sound good, the sound effects make sense and sound good, what's not to like? Well, this time the samples work, but it drags. And drags. It's moderately interesting the whole time, and very pleasant in small doses, but they stretched this one out too long. Oh, by the way, at one point the background gospel male singer (a sample, I know, but...) and the rest of the song aren't even in the same key. What?

It Is Not Sound...yea, it really is. It is sound, and that's all. Sound. Noise. Ok, not the most clever diss I've come up with, but you get the point. I don't like this song much either. Garm's "a loooong time agooooo, yea!" is really fucking annoying, but he does some other cool things that make it better. It settles into a groove reminiscent of the beginning of Sigh's Slaughterhouse Suite. Actually, it sounds blatantly ripped, just layered and butchered immensely. There's an ok keyboard solo at the end. Ok. So we have more stupid layering here, more pointless sound effects for the sake of seeming complex, an ok solo, an ok groove, and annoying vocals.

The Truth. The truth is this is my favorite song on the album if I had to pick one. The noise works for this one, Garm sounds great. The more upbeat sections aren't too great, but the softer more laid-back sections with minimal noise going on is good. I think I hear a sample from some Pokemon town music in there, but who knows? The drums are ocol, although obviously a drum machine. At 2:19, after a frantic(lly annoying) section with tons of noise, it chills out into a softer section, the Garm layers his voice a bunch, then there's an upbeat part at around 2:55 that sounds solely because Garm sounds great and there's this really cool chipmunk-thingy sample in the background for a bit and the layered noise here works. For once there isn't a million instruments, just a lot of voices, which works pretty well. It proves once again Garm is a master of vocals, even if he's not the best vocalist ever. Good song.

In The Red. The layering almost works here, especially towards the end, but...you guessed it, once again, too much. This has a stupid jazz facade all over it where in actuality it has nothing to do with jazz. And don't forget those stupid whispers of "HEEELP...heeeelp...heelp...help" or "AMBROSIAAA...ambrosia...." getting softer in the background. God, that's annoying. The end has some cool jazzy sounds sampled in which almost sounds cool, but not quite. If they cut down on it a bit it would've worked, but they insisted on making it a full-fledged thing.

Your Call has some pretty bad layering, but like Blinded by Blood, it's mostly ambient and chill, and is pleasant in small doses. There's way too many samples on this one as well...WAY too many, but it pulls through ok. Cut back on the annoying violins on this one and add a darker atmosphere and you got an ok song.

Operator is fairly frantic and has more crazy layering. Do I really need to say it? It doesn't work yet again. It comes at as nonsensical, incoherent, jumbled...you name any pejorative word that's a synonym with incoherent and you can describe this song.

So like I said, lots of good ideas, put together in a melting pot to make crap. If Ulver cut back on what they were trying to do, it mighta worked. Maybe. We'll never find out. Hopefully Ulver realizes they tried too hard with this one and goes back to soundtracks or smooth beats or even, I pray to you god, metal.

FishyMonkey | 1/5 |

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