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Ulver Metamorphosis album cover
2.39 | 31 ratings | 3 reviews | 13% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Of Wolves & Vibrancy (4:45)
2. Gnosis (7:59)
3. Limbo Central (3:36)
4. Of Wolves & Withdrawal (8:54)

Total Time 25:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Kristoffer Garm Rygg / vocals
- Band / electronics

Releases information

EP, Jester Records
September 27, 1999

Thanks to ivansfr0st for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ULVER Metamorphosis ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ULVER Metamorphosis reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
2 stars A Symbolic Name

Although Ulver can not be blamed of being a stagnant, self-parody group at any period of their career, I believe that the name of the Metamorphosis EP is indeed symbolic, as this is where the Norwegian group abandoned their roots, which were previously in Scandinavian folk and the Extreme Metal scene. It's not really important anymore though, since they no longer show signs of the past. Ulver's whole existence in the world of music can be summed up with the name of this little EP, that was meant to be a connecting link between two masterpieces - Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Perdition City.

It is a rather short EP, reaching mere 25 minutes and it is a logical advancement from Themes..., developing the Electronic ideas of that album, although performed in a more Experimental way(not that Themes... wasn't already Experimental enough!). Of Wolves & Vibrancy opens the EP and is the most straight-forward and memorable track on it, although a bit repetitive. There are some choirs here and drums that *could* be either real or artificial, I am no longer 100% sure. The beat is very memorable and energetic and makes this track dancefloor-worthy, if you think about it. Gnosis is the next song and is less song-like, showing more minimalist tendencies. Later into the track though, a very memorable lead line appears, which can be compared to the previous track in one way or another. 5 minutes into the song, the song shifts within itself and the listener witnesses a great, mellow part with Garm's vocals, which, luckily, are improving with every release. The lead line kicks in again, accompanied by Garm's more harsh vocals(not in a 'Metal' way though, however, his singing can be compared to James Hetfield's, like ir or not). It is the only track on the CD that features vocals. Not much can be said about the next song, Limbo Central, which I, quite possibly because of the lack of Electronic experience, associate with Tangerine Dream's Phaedra a lot, but the last one on the album - Of Wolves & Withdrawal - is the most minimalistic and ambient, hinting at one of Ulver's future recordings(I am talking about the Silence EPs).

This is not really an essential or even a highly recommended album, as it is short and hints at its successor a lot - piano and choir parts found here will be present in Perdition City as well, and the stylistic change between those two releases isn't that obvious. Metamorphosis EP, in conclusion, is recommended to all Ulver fans who are collecting the group's diverse catalogue and those who would like to listen to their albums chronologically(I know I did), but it is not a crime to ignore the existence of this nice little EP at all. 2 stars.

Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars Another bold step in Ulver's career.

This might be one of Ulver's most diverse disks, with a culmination of ideas and concepts fledged into four fairly very different songs. The first song seems like something out of the Matrix. It is highly electronic, upbeat, almost rave like. The electronic elements are at their highest here, showing how far Ulver have come from their black metal past.

Gnosis shows Ulver's expansion into trip hop like effects and minimalism, continuing the theme here with a variety of programming. We are led to one of Garm's vocal performances, which is reminiscent of the style used on The Blake Album. Overall, it has a very similar setup to Porn Piece from Perdition City, but with a different sound structure. Limbo Central is another intriguing little track, with hyper programming mixed with a pounding asynchronous beat.

The final track shows Ulver's full transition into the minimalism concept, an extremely moody track that might fit well as a sound piece to a film. All in all, another outstanding collection of Ulver's works, but we don't get anywhere near the amount of relevancy that we would find on Blood Inside or Perdition City.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Metamorphosis" is an EP release by Norwegian music act Ulver. The EP was released through Jester Records in September 1999. It bridges the gap between the bandīs fourth and fifth full-length studio albums "Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell (1998)" and "Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film (2000)".

"Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell" was quite the departure from the bandīs black/folk metal past, featuring an avant garde/experimental rock/metal style, but "Metamorphosis" proves that Ulver were far from finished developing and changing their sound. Stylistically the 4 tracks on the 25:17 minutes long EP are experimental electronic music, which is predominantly instrumental but occasionally also features vocals. In retrospect it was obviously Ulver experimenting with electronic effects, sounds, rhythms, and technology in preperation for working on and recording the material for "Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film (2000)", but back then it was a bit of a shock release for most fans.

To others it proved what they had long known, that Ulver were an unpredictable act, composing and playing exactly the type of music they wanted, without regards to the wishes of the fans and the critics. They even adress this in the sleeve notes to the EP, explaining that they donīt see themselves as a black metal band anymore, and that they think of the early part of their discography as a stepping stone to something else.

"Metamorphosis" is an ambient release. Itīs not slow and droning all the time (only "Of Wolves And Withdrawal" fully falls under that catagory), but both mid-paced and even upbeat at times, featuring some busy programmed drums. Layers upon layers of sounds and effects make up the tracks, which according to band founder Kristoffer Rygg were slowly developed as a result of improvisations in the studio. As a consequence youīll have to look long for conventional vers/chorus structures or catchiness in general. Itīs music featuring interesting ideas, but to my ears they seem a little random and a bit more structure and a few more catchy moments could have made this a more memorable listen. Iīm not blown away by what I hear (the closing 8:55 minutes long "Of Wolves And Withdrawal" is a downright tedious affair), but a 2.5 star (50%) rating is still warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

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