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Ulver - Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler CD (album) cover

BERGTATT - ET EEVENTYR I 5 CAPITLER

Ulver

Post Rock/Math rock


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King of Loss
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Ulver is a new Black Metal band here, with their approach to music being cold and raw, but however as compared to some of their Black Metal counterpatriots Darkthrone, Mayhem or Early Emperor, they take a much more, digestible melodic root to their sound by incorporating a lot of folk influences within their sound here and definitely making it accessible to non Black metallers fans like me.

However, this album is not recommended for everyone since of the heavy Black metal assault in some parts of the album. But of course, if you appreciate Folk Progressive Rock or a fan of heavier forms of Prog Metal like Edge of Sanity and Opeth, you are most likely recommended to take a listen if you are open-minded.

As I've said this album is not for everyone, It would be a 1.5 for Prog Rockers and a 3.5 for "more Metal loving" Prog Metallers. This is a good debut, probably the best debut in my opinion of any Black Metal band, but however, it could be better and the Rating of a 2.5 shows this.

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Send comments to King of Loss (BETA) | Report this review (#55439)
Posted Tuesday, November 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
matti_sillanm
5 stars I was aware of the Ulver-discussion on the forums, but it still was a surprise to find them in Prog Archives, especially under the label of Progressive Metal. Still, Ulver certainly has an interesting musical history, as their music varies from Folky Black Metal and Acoustic Folk to Electronic Music.

Bergtatt, however, is their first full-length, and is the first part of their trilogy. The music is "melodic" black metal with a lot of soft acoustic parts. For me Ulver is the pinnacle of black metal, absolutely one of the best bands to ever do that sort of music, and this album is from 1994, right from the golden age!

The first track, or Capitel I, called I troldskog Faren Vild, is a slower song, and with clean vocals, which Garm handles brilliantly. The second part, Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need, kicks off with a soft folk tune before turning into a black assault of blastbeats and furious shrieking, as well as the third one, Graablick Blev Hun Vaer, which also has an interesting part in which we can hear someone walking in a forest and a soft piano sound. Obviously this has something to do with the concept of the album. The fourth track, Een Stemme Locker is an all-acoustic folk song. After that we get some more black metal in Capitel 5, Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene. The album ends with a beautiful acoustic guitar sound. I understand this album has a concept. As I don't speak Norwegian that well, I can't go into detail, but it has something to do with Norwegian mythology, which is quite usual in Black metal.

This is a perfect debut album, and an indication of what was to come in the latter parts of the trilogy. The guys were under 20 when this was released, and yet they've managed to create a wonderful album with a very high level of professionality and originality. Strongly recommended, but only if you have an ear for the rougher side of metal.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55802)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ulver are one of the most fascinating bands in Norwegian metal, experimenting with and ultimately mastering various forms of hard rock and electronic ambience that has led to them contributing to notable Scandinavian film soundtracks and collaborating with a multitude of other musicians on side projects.

'Bergtatt,' the band's first full-length release from 1994, is the first in a trilogy exploring the more sinister side of Norwegian folklore: its melancholy 'monk metal' later complimented by 1995's folky 'Kveldssanger' and the lycanthropic extreme black metal finale 'Nattens Madrigal' in 1996. This highly eclectic and unusual blend of musical styles demonstrates the creativity and originality of frontman and band founder Trickster G that is present throughout this debut concept release.

Ulver is:

Kristoffer Garm Rygg (alias Trickster G): vocals, synths, drums Jorn H. Svaeren: guitar Tore Ylwizaker: bass, synths, piano

Bergtatt's moderate thirty-five-minute length maintains a sinister and brooding atmosphere as it progresses through extreme black metal, acoustic interludes and soft harmony, making for a listening experience that is encapsulating and consistent. The seamless transition between harmonic chanting vocals (present throughout the first track) and guttural screams perfectly match the varying distortion effects of the lone guitar and the intensity of the drums.

Capitel IV is the highlight of the album, demonstrating the band's talent at creating a mesmerising acoustic song amidst the volume of tracks three and four, although the closing minutes of the disc surpass everything the band have accomplished since in terms of space-out relaxation meeting blinding metal fury. Not every musical movement on the album is memorable and inspired, but there is never a dull moment as each song closes before outstaying its welcome in the eardums.

Unlike the relentless and almost unbearable ferocity of the later Nattens Madrigal album, the black metal elements of this album are reined in to be more melodic and easier on the listener, aided by the impressive production value of the disc as a whole. Fans of doom metal bands such as Opeth and Anathema should enjoy this Ulver release, as should those with a more extreme taste in music. Although the lyrics are sung in an archaic form of Norwegian to suit the themes (the band's later experimental offerings are all recorded in English), the theme and mood of the album still come across from the bleak atmosphere and creepy album artwork.

An album perfectly suited to a dark and rainy night, Bergtatt is an impressive debut from a highly complex band, and although not entirely original in the wake of the doom metal movement, the interesting incorporation of rarely heard instruments elevates this unappreciated classic above the stream of tired, over-aggressive metal that still manages to permeate the music charts. The musical equivalent of that story in Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' where a girl is trapped in a painting and eventually disappears as her parents fail to notice her: memorable and chilling.

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Send comments to Frankingsteins (BETA) | Report this review (#82517)
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Progressive black metal? Yes, it exists, and Ulver were one of the leaders before their drastic left turn. Bergtatt is arguably their best output from their black metal days, incorporating traditional black metal with a strong sense of folk and dynamic elements.

The album starts with a track which reminds me of Opeth during their Orchid days. An uplifting "In Mist she was Standing" styled riff, with an almost marching beat to it ends the track. The second track is generally more folk oriented, and really shows how this is progressive, with flutes and acoustic guitars leading into the typical black metal sound. Garm shows he has vocal abiliies far superior to his black metal peers, with many soaring lines in Soelen Gaaer.

The next track is my favorite, perhaps even one of my most favorite of all black metal songs. Ulver really showed they were different with this track, following many black metal traditions, but with the incorporation of folk and near psychadelic effects. Tremolo picked riffs and blastbeats lead into the most unlikely of directions. A man is running through a forest, crushing limbs along the way, with only a piano as background. After escaping the forest, we are led back to the tremolo riffs and Garm doing what he does best.

This album is the highlight of Ulver's early days, and especially reccommended for those who are fans of early Opeth.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#93474)
Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Bergtatt from Ulver is one of those albums that will get better with each listen. At first I somehow thought of it as a good but strange album where things were just thrown together in mix. Where as I listen now I hear an almost perfect album influenced by folk and black metal. Of course there are many forms and styles of black metal and a lot of those come along here. The album stars with a slow riff encountered with clean vocals which reminds me of early Opeth. But as this album was released in 1994 and Opeth debut "Orchid" in 1995 I can't help but think how much this album influenced them. Bergtatt really brakes loose in the second song when after the folksy intro the music suddenly burst out into blast beats and grim vocals. The song is quite heavy compared to the first but compared to other black metal; well it's quite relaxed actually. The riffs are full of melodies and there are so many switches with acoustics and elements of folk put together that instead of a hard and heavy black metal experience you will experience an almost soothing and calm album.

If I listen to this album and when I later listen to later Ulver I'm actually happy they abandoned their early style. Not that it isn't good but they already perfected it on this short album and I love the fact that this band is so incredibly diverse in any way. Ulver playing folksy black metal is amazing but Ulver doing harsh black metal is perhaps even better and Ulver doing Jazzy electronic stuff even more. Hell, I bet if this band made a gansta-rap album it would be the best in its genre. But anyway, this album is great an a true must have for fans of early Opeth and metal in general.

Written for www.musicmade.com

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Send comments to Jochem (BETA) | Report this review (#112968)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Dim
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ulver, now an ambient mellow band, barely in the outskirts of being called rock. Then. a black metal band, complete with the eerie recording techniques, non stop drumming and riffing, and simple guitar solo's. I like both versions, quite a bit. I'm a complete newcomer to black metal, with only two albums so far (this one, and wolves in the throne room), I must say, the drumming is quite a turnoff to me, and unless the riffs really compliment each other good, they get bland fast, which s the case for about forty percent of the album.

The music basically switches from electric to acoustic, Grunty vocals to clean choir like vocals, with some Gregorian chant thrown in their for good measure. The guitars IMO, don't really do a good job of fusing together when being strummed like crazy, though this might just be a cause of the strange recording. I love black metal solo's when the intense strumming is going, and Ulver pretty much put that love on me from this album, with very clean and calm solo's flow easily while the rest of the band is going insane. My least favorite aspect of this album (and black metal in general) is the snare work. Usually with metal, it's the double bass drum that drives me crazy, but with this style, the snare is being hit almost as much as the hi hat/crash, leaving the drumming to chaotic and overdone for my tastes The beautiful/crazy lyrics are supposedly about a bunch a Norwegian folk tales which they fuse together to follow one character, I wouldn't take my word on it though.

A good album, but there is a little bit of immaturity surrounding it, especially with the more intense metal parts. I don't know how they go from this one to Shadows of the sun, but losing a bunch of members, and the discovery of the drum machine was probably a big factor. Either way, I don't any Ulver I don't like, and this album is exceptional, but from what I'm told, pretty average as far as black metal goes. I was in it for the progginess, and though it barely even exists, I wont rate it based on a lack of elements it doesn't need. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Dim (BETA) | Report this review (#160513)
Posted Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ulver has been one of the leading forces in Norwegian extreme/ black metal through the nineties, but has on later album made more experimental electronic music far removed from their extreme metal roots. Bergtatt is Ulver´s debut and it´s a pretty good progressive black metal album.

The music has three main styles. Mid-tempo heavy sections with Garm´s beautiful clean singing and melodic yet brutal riffing, more typical black metal blast beat sections with raw black metal vocals and finally classical inspired acoustic guitar pieces. These three styles are incorporated into most of the songs which means that there are great diversity even within the songs. The fourth song Een Stemme Locker is a bit different as it is acoustic throughout the whole song with some subtle singing and whispering. What is important to point out though is that even the black metal sections are pretty melodic.

The musicians are pretty good, even though I´m not too impressed with the drums from Aiwarikiar. Garm needs to be mentioned as he is a great singer. He masters both the clean singing and the black metal rasps to perfection. His clean singing is distinct and beautiful.

The sound quality could have been better, but in keeping with the early black metal scene this is pretty low-fi. The vocals are produced very well though.

I think Bergtatt is an enjoyable album, and I believe this is a true black metal classic. Even though I keep mentioning that this is black metal I think the style Ulver plays on Bergtatt is more related to a band like Opeth´s early recordings which means I would rather recommend fans of the first two Opeth albums to try this one out than fans of black metal. I think this deserves 3 stars, and I´m sure that I would have given this 4 stars had I been a fan of the band back then. Listening to Bergtatt today it does seem a bit dated though.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#165376)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ulver was one of the more socially acceptable bands from the first wave of Norwegian black metal bands. This is their debut album and it had a huge impact on the scene.

I never understood why this band was so great. I know that a lot of people rates Ulver as the best ever thing to come out of Norway since the invention of paper clips. I respect that view, but I do not understand it. I come back to this album time after time, trying to understand what they are saying. I still do not have a clue.

This album is a mix of black metal, slightly tinged with folk music, and accoustic pieces. The accoustic pieces is a waste of time and a kind of windows dressing. I do not fall for it. Far too many black metal albums has been destroyed by some pointless accoustic guitars inbetween the black metal songs. This is one of these albums. The black metal is not too bad, although not in the same league as the creative output from the likes of Darkthrone, Emperor and Immortal. Their brand of black metal are tinged with folk music and works OK. This album is certainly not helped by a substandard sound quality. A good re-master should be in order here. I am not impressed by this album at all and reward it a two stars.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#231028)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Jake Kobrin
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Listen to this album on Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/52ua2aBI8N4lDhus48a3lu

This album is a victim of the tragedies of ProgArchives. Had Ulver dawned a distinct moniker from that of their early work and two "Ulvers" were added to the Archives, one in Tech/Extreme Prog Metal, and the other in Post-Rock I can certainly guarantee that this album would be amongst the top 15 Tech/Extreme albums on the website. Thus it certainly saddens me that such a masterpieces must be disregarded because of how an artist has changed (I won't use terms such as "progressed" or "evolved" because that is a matter of opinion.) I consider this album in THE TOP THREE BEST BLACK METAL ALBUMS EVER WRITTEN. That is a fantastically gigantic undertaking, as there have been thousands of black metal albums produced since the genre was conceived in the Eighties. It is also, I believe Ulver's magnum opus.

[To be continued...]

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Send comments to Jake Kobrin (BETA) | Report this review (#232696)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Black Metal meets shoe gazer Britpop. The opening track of this album won me over in no time. Though the music is fairly average, the beautiful melodies of the clean dreamy vocals are a treat. The song is quite extended but doesn't have classic Prog features. It's closer to the repetitive drone of kraut and electronic music, even though it's all guitars, bass and drums. Also folksy themes crop up, making this track quite an interesting blend of styles.

The second piece starts as an instrumental folk tune with acoustic guitars and flutes. It quickly changes into a fast-paced Black Metal attack with both sharp snarls and melodic vocals. For many listeners, the change Ulver did towards ambient music may have come as a surprise but even their black metal already has the approach to sonic texture that is typical for ambient music. This is even more prominent on the third track, featuring the typical black metal primal blast beats that create the same effect as aggressive nihilistic techno beats. Soundscape and primal rhythm, the pillars of both black metal and techno, though few fans of either genre will like to hear it, the similarities of their music are obvious. Ok, admitted, techno fans don't burn churches.

Track 4 is entirely acoustic and atmospheric, an obvious inspiration for Agalloch. The last track returns to the mix of tribal rhythm, black metal nihilism, folk influences and dreamy pop vocals.

Ulver's debut is not an easy listen but it is most intriguing, captivating and highly influential.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#259573)
Posted Wednesday, January 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Bergtatt is the marvelous debut album of Ulver, at the time a very influential black metal band. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Bergtatt does not only include the harshness of black metal, but combines this with the beauty of Norse folk music expressed through a concept revolving around a girl lost in a forest of trolls.

The album opens with a brief drum fill, taking us to what might be the best piece on this album. "I Troldskog Faren Vild" showcases the excellent combination of beauty and beast. Rough riffs drive the song, but the vocals that are sung over it are no conventional black metal vocals. No, they're chanted choir-like vocals that work very well in creating a beautiful feeling. Though these kind of vocals make a frequent appearance on other songs too, vocalist Garm also uses the more conventional ferocious black metal shrieks frequently, like on the second song, "Soelen Haaer Bag Aase Need".

Like already mentioned earlier, Ulver combines black metal with folk on this album. Most of the songs have classical acoustic passages, and there even is a completely acoustic track on the album, "Een Stemme Locker". Another memorable part of the album are the middle few minutes of the third song, where sounds are heard of the girl making her way through the forest accompanied by gentle and delicate piano playing. The combination of these benign acoustic parts and the fierce black metal gives Bergtatt a feeling of beauty with a solitary and melancholic undertone.

Ulver has created a fantastic album with Bergtatt. Its combination of black metal and acoustic folk takes care of all possible repetitivity that one could find in black metal and therefore might even attract those who don't enjoy the genre in general.

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Send comments to The Sleepwalker (BETA) | Report this review (#300237)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars True progressive black metal.

I was not a fan of any type of metal, any type of prog, or really any type of music back in 1994 when this was released. Thus, I can't put this in a true historical perspective, but from what I've learned in the days where I am a fan of all these things there was nothing like Ulver and Bergtatt back in 1994. The music on Bergtatt is based in pure black metal. Aggressive, harsh, shrieking vocals, high tremolo picking, blast beats and poor production. All of these characteristics appears here. However, its everything else that's added, and more importantly integrated, into the mix that really makes this album special.

The key to Bergtatt is beauty (a quality lacking in most if not all traditional black metal). Hypnotizing acoustic guitar passages, gorgeous Gregorian chant-esque vocals, and a melancholic folk influence is infused to every song on the album. Even though the album is realtiviely short, it never drags or is overly repetitive, even in the heavy black metal parts. Perhaps ironically, this strategy hits it's zenith in the first song on the album, I Troldskog Faren Vild. Musically its very aggressive, unbridled, and full throttled. But I Troldskog Faren Vild may contain the most beautiful vocals in all of black metal. Smooth, melodic, perhaps even heavenly vocals poor out of Garm which gives the song such a majestic quality. Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need starts off with a classical prelude before bulldozing it's way into purer black metal, with some wonderful choral backing vocals. The most avant-garde moment of the albums appears on Graablick Blev Hun Vaer, when the wall of sound suddenly stops and a duet of piano and the sounds of running through the forest takes over. (Really now...how many metal/rock bands where doing that.) And just as alarmingly it ceases and the metal returns full force. Een Stemme Locker is a fully acoustic piece with a wonderful guitar riff and solemn, haunting vocals. The album finishes with Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene, a piece that is an excellent summery of the album, combining many of the standout features of the album.

All in all this is a forward looking metal album that is also well thought-out and well executed. Even though there are periods of harshness here, there is so much beauty, that really makes this album worthwhile. An album that fans of adventurous music really should try, even if you don't like metal. 5 stars. Recommended.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#385555)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ulver's debut album is categorised as black metal solely because Bergtatt visits that territory more regularly than any other. But when you have this strange mixture of atmospheric black metal pitched to emphasise a sense of cold otherworldliness as opposed to the aggression of bands such as Mayhem, interspersed with folky acoustic guitar which occasionally moves into the spotlight for a folk interlude, vocals shifting constantly between typical black metal shrieks, strange intonations, and more or less clean singing, and all the other features the band cram into this album, it's clear that what we're dealing with here is a group at the very edge of the avant-garde of black metal as it existed at the time.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#620624)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Bergtatt' - Ulver (9/10)

To me, Ulver are one of the all-time most intriguing bands. It would be difficult for me to name another band who is so versatile, and manages to produce masterpieces that vary wildly. Released when frontman Krystoffer Rygg was still in his teens, 'Bergtatt' is considered to be a classic opus of the then-relatively young style of black metal. Ulver have since gone down a path of avant-garde ambient music that now has little to do with metal or even rock, but 'Bergtatt' is enough to plant the band as an essential of black metal. Years before Agalloch or Drudkh made their mark, Ulver laid down the foundation for this arboreal sound in atmospheric black metal. Taking the ambiance of Burzum and taking it two steps further, 'Bergtatt' is as relevant today as it was in 1994.

Many modern metalheads may draw comparisons to Agalloch when listening to 'Bergtatt.' It should be appreciated, however, that Ulver crafted this sound first. The black metal mold had been forged over the decade prior,and Ulver furnishes it with lavish arboreal folk instrumentation, melodic riffs, and even clean vocals; something that was often looked down upon in black metal. 'Bergtatt' was indeed ahead of its time, although nothing on the album feels contrived or forced to sound 'progressive' in the commonly used sense of the word. Split into five chapters, 'Bergtatt' is not afraid to incorporate acoustic guitars as a primary element in the sound. Many bands dabbled with mellower dimensions, but they often were used merely to break up the intense black metal, as opposed to, you know, complimenting the musical experience directly. Of course, no masterpiece would be complete without masterful composition, and this is something that sees no shortage in 'Bergtatt'. Ulver hit a sweet spot that balances harshness and warmth, black metal and folk, melodic sensibilities and melancholic aggression. To mention that Ulver were in their teens when 'Bergatt' was produced only makes the feat more admirable.

Potentially the only time when I could be convinced that 'Bergtatt' is not perfect is with the more puritanical black metal elements here. Like the rest of the album, they are performed with passionate intensity and a sense of purpose, but in the midst of some of the most beautiful acoustic guitars ever heard in metal, and a wonderfully arboreal sense of melody in the cleaner moments, the times when Ulver goes full-force with the blastbeats and dark energy feels underwhelming by comparison.That's not nearly enough to keep me from calling 'Bergtatt' a masterpiece, however. It is essential listening for anyone even remotely interested in black metal; it is rivaled only by Mayhem's 'De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas' as the most glorious classic of black metal.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#628570)
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's amazing to me that until a short while ago I had only heard Ulver mentioned and had never actually listened to their music. From what I understood, they had begun as a black metal band and generally transitioned into more of a prog band. Based on my experiences with a lot of bands whose careers traced similar arcs, I wasn't expecting too much from this first release; I expected it to be pretty straightforward metal without a whole lot of prog.

Well, as I often am, I was completely wrong. Though there is quite a bit of black metal influence, there's also an incredible amount of subtlety in Ulver's music here. The production isn't spectacular, but that only adds to the subtlety; often very intense listening is required to catch everything that is happening in the music. That may be irritating to some but personally I find it very intriguing and I'm willing to bet that most prog fans will as well.

"I Troldskog Faren Vild" begins with a drumroll that leads into a metal riff, that, despite being labeled as progressive black metal, isn't that hard to digest. To my further surprise the first time I listened through this album, the first vocals are clean. The extremely fuzzy guitars and almost dreamy vocals give the song an almost psychedelic feel, which was a welcome surprise. Not that I dislike black metal, but from what I'd read about this album I was expecting something much more brutal. This, on the other hand, I actually find quite pretty, with folky guitar solos and extremely pleasant vocal harmonies taking place over the constant, almost droning riffs in the background. Though there is undoubtedly a great deal of black metal influence here, this is very dynamic music, a fact which is highlighted by the sudden acoustic guitar solo that takes place towards the end of the track. It's a gorgeous little break, and when the heaviness picks back up in the last minute for an extremely folky- sounding electric guitar solo you begin to grasp the intense maturity of songwriting demonstrated on this first album from Ulver.

All the metal trappings go right out the window with the beginning of "Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need," which starts with a flute section accompanied by classical guitar. This beautiful little introduction lasts for about a minute and a half before pounding blast beats and riffing burst forth out of the relative calm, accompanied by the first growled vocals on the album. Lest you think that Ulver has fallen back into stereotypes, however, they prove they can still create an atmosphere by interspersing these harsh growls with haunting, almost chanted clean vocals. Personally I think this track sounds quite a bit like early Opeth, though the production is undoubtedly a little rougher. This track will probably be a little tougher than the first for non-metal fans to digest, but if you're not terribly averse to growling there's still a ton of beautiful music happening here.

"Graablick Blev Hun Vaer" is another song with an unconventional beginning for a metal track, with chanting vocals layered over what sounds like a fingerpicked guitar part. Like "Soelen Gaaer?" a very heavy metal track emerges from this introduction, with more growling and riffs and drumming that nearly approach speed-metal. Some interesting bass work makes an appearance as well, with the bassist laying down a languid, flowing line behind the insane strumming and drumming that's happening at the front of the track. As quickly as it began, the metal gives way to a fantastic acoustic guitar solo that itself gives way to what sounds like a field recording of someone stomping through the woods. Over this a piano part emerges, lasting for a brief period before fading away just in time for the metal to re-emerge, this time backed by those same chanting vocals from the previous track. The song ends in a bizarre mish-mash of metal and atmosphere that sounds completely alien and yet works absolutely perfectly.

"Een Stemme Locker" starts off again with an acoustic guitar part and very low pitched vocals that are reminiscent to me of Gregorian chant. After awhile these chanted vocals drop out to be replaced with faint whispers, and at about the same time the guitar part gets more complex, with harmonies being added over the repeating pattern. Very faint female vocals are briefly added as well, giving the song an otherworldly, ethereal feel. Overall the song is a very relaxing one, with no metal to speak of, and it works both as a standalone piece and as an interlude of sorts before the final track of the album begins.

"Bergtatt, Ind I Fjeldkamrene" begins immediately with the same kind of droning, fuzzy riffs that dominated the first track. Some extremely brutal growling is introduced over this, and if you listen very carefully you can hear some folky acoustic playing back in the mix as well. After only about a minute this comes to the forefront, and this acoustic guitar part plays unaccompanied for a little while before the metal riffs return, this time aided by clean vocals. At one point, a very faint clean guitar solo begins playing behind the riffs, creating a very delicate effect that really shows off the subtlety of the songwriting here. For most of the rest of the track growled vocals dominate, but the track switches it up briefly at the end to feature another of those gorgeous classical acoustic guitar parts to close out the track.

So if it's not totally apparent by now, this album totally blew me away. Those who really can't stand extreme metal probably won't like it much, but fans of the genre should check this out immediately. Coming in at only about 35 minutes, this is an incredibly tight release without a poor moment on it. Highly recommended for all metal fans, especially Opeth fans searching for something a little grittier. Seamlessly blending folk, psychedelia, and a heavy dose of pounding black metal, this is one of the most impressive and enjoyable metal albums I've heard in a long while.

5/5

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Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | Review Permalink

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