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SHADOWS OF THE SUN

Ulver

Post Rock/Math rock


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Ulver Shadows of the Sun album cover
3.96 | 182 ratings | 15 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Eos (5:05)
2. All the Love (3:42)
3. Like Music (3:30)
4. Vigil (4:27)
5. Shadows of the Sun (4:36)
6. Let the Children Go (3:50)
7. Solitude (3:53)
8. Funebre (4:26)
9. What Happened? (6:25)

Total Time 39:54

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Trickster G. (aka Garm) / vocals
- Tore Ylwizaker / programming
- Jørn H. Sværen / drums
- Pamelia Kurstin / theremin
- Christian Fennesz / white noise

Releases information

Released through Jester and The End Records
Solitude is a Black Sabbath cover

Thanks to OpethGuitarist for the addition
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ULVER Shadows of the Sun ratings distribution


3.96
(182 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
41%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
31%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

ULVER Shadows of the Sun reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The wolves gather...

2 years after the cacophonous Blood Inside which emphasised the group's partial return to their rock roots, the Norwegian shapeshifters are back with another studio album. Unless you are not familiar with their music, you should know what to expect - expect the unexpected!

It happened so in Ulver's career that they never stuck to a single particular style and radically switched genres like mere gloves with virtually every release. The classic example is following Kveldssanger, an amateurish neo-classical record mainly influenced by Norwegian folk, with a raging black metal offering - only in order to abandon rock music altogether for a decade immediately afterwards. Their further work was not considerably more spontaneous, which the newest output only proves.

Let us now come back to the subject, the newest album Shadows of the Sun. There is a very slight connection between this record and its predecessor, Blood Inside; in fact, the only song that could have sounded reasonable in the context of the new album is Blinded by Blood, the spiritual and calm nature of which seems to have passed over and influenced the direction for the new release.

Aside from this negligible link, Shadows of the Sun is almost the exact polar opposite of its forerunner. Unlike the disharmonic, bizarre and dissonant Blood Inside, this novelty is a completely different experience: calm, moderate and melancholic. It is, as one may have learned to expect from Ulver, a coherent and full work, as opposed to being a collection of unrelated tracks.

The album consists of nine relatively brief tracks and is just under forty minutes in length. Now, is the record's durability its strength or its weakness? The songwriting is minimalistic and moderate in terms of melody, yet lush and deep when it comes to complexity of layers and the context of various moods and themes. It is by no means an accessible work and requires both numerous listens and the listener's effort to truly sink in. When the closing track nears its end I usually feel that this is exactly the time the album should have ended and if it were to go on further I would begin to lose my attention, therefore according to my own unconscious perception (and nothing more) the durability is exactly what it should be or, to put it correctly, what I would want it to.

The songs are subtle and do not ever depend on simple verse structure. It has become a tradition since 'The Blake Album'and there is really no necessity for me to bring this obvious message to the table in this review again, but the artificial and the natural elements are blended once again, and done so impeccably. You have got electronics on the one hand and strings, brass, organ on the other. Kristoffer 'Garm' Rygg's low voice is once again a quintessential part of the sound and the main reason why you also remember specific parts of the album in addition to being able to follow the themes, having felt them through numerous times before.

The songs vary in sound, arrangements and vibes, despite sadness and melancholy being the central theme, the mood often changing in a timeline of a single song (as it can be witnessed on the third track entitled Like Music).

There is a Black Sabbath cover on the album - Solitude from Master of Reality. With a sole exception of the earlier Planet Caravan, this is the only cover of the Birmingham doom pioneers that makes sense in an album by Ulver at this point of their career (unless they would radically alter a song's structure to have it fit). There are no discrepancies between the cover and the rest of the album that my ears are able to sense and the conclusions done during the album fit the lyrics of this bleak song rather well.

As a conclusion to my review, I would like to encourage all those who have already become Ulver fans to experience their newest record without hesitations. This may very well be their most mature, coherent and flawless work to date. The album will especially appeal to fans of Perdition City, A Quick Fix of Melancholy, Silencing the Singing and the group's soundtracks.

Those who have not will find themselves in a situation when they have to choose one of the musicians' efforts to evaluate their career - an impossible task if one takes into account the vast spectre they have covered during their presence in the world of music. The sole move I can suggest is to think whether the adjectives exploited in this review evoke any interest in your feelings and make decisions accordingly to that.

Without a shadow of doubt, a 5 star album and an early contender for the title of 2007's best record!

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Send comments to Trickster F. (BETA) | Report this review (#142345) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 06, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On this record ULVER have cooked up some dark, ambient soundscapes with almost spoken vocals. There isn't a lot of variation on this record which is ok as this is about creating a mood. This is music to relax to much like NO-MAN and latter TALK TALK. I have to mention the album cover which has such a fantastic picture on it that was taken from a "Natural History Magazine" October,1978.

"Eos" opens with synth-like sounds as slow paced vocals come in. They become distant sounding (processed ?) 4 minutes in. "All The Love" reaches a full sound 1 1/2 minutes in with dissonant trumpet and piano before drums arrive. This song blends into "Like Music" which has lots of atmosphere. It ends with haunting sounds. "Vigil" features piano, strange sounds and whispered vocals. Vocals become reserved after a minute with more piano. 3 1/2 minutes in it gets about as chaotic as it's going to get on this album.

"Shadows Of The Sun" has these dark synth sounds for 1 1/2 minutes. The climate changes as that sound stops and vocals and piano melodies come in. Spooky piano to end it. "Let The Children Go" is a strange song that is more about the soundscape than the melody. Vocals 3 1/2 minutes in. "Solitude" is a BLACK SABBATH cover and is the best song by far on the album. It features vocals with trumpet melodies that come and go. This song has a low end, dark undercurrent to it. "Funebre" is a melancholic song to say the least. The vocals are almost whispered as piano plays on. Theremin on this one as well. What is it with bands from Norway and theremin ? "What Happened ?" is a dark song with strings.

3.5 stars. I like it but unless your into ambient music you may want to pass on this one.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#149495) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Known for their futuristic worlds of cacophony, bizarreness and abstraction (Perdition City, Blood Inside), I confess surprise couldn't be greater with "Shadows of the Sun". This time, by opposite, the album flows guided by its heavy flagrance - a dense, melancholic nostalgia, a disturbing catharses eliciting Mankind's worst fears and actions, like the inconsequential, restless moan of despair before the end.

A consuming disturbing pain is gently manifested in "Eos". Its ethereal and subtle ambiance created by a fuss of violins, strings and keyboards owes nothing to the Camel ones, with every detail seemed to be made to touch the deepness. The track's emotive charge culminates pleasantly in a sublime recital. "All the Love" continues this intricate paradigm and adds piano (a constant from this track to the end), saxophone and abstract drums to the scenario. Classic piano leads the next tracks "Like Music", "Vigil" and "Shadows of the Sun", painting them beautifully, while each one of the first two end in a metaphysical strident chaos remembering the band's last albums. "Let the Children Go" is another highlight of the album, possibly the best, together with the first one, with its dense, disturbing dark mood, not only an antagonistic organized chaos of effects, but also a moan full of emotive charge. "Solitude" is a well design cover of Black Sabbath's which fits like a glove on the mood. The album ends with the grotesque feeling of "Funebre" and the releasing "What Happened?" turning back to the "Eos" (and the album's) main motif. Lyrics around all the work are inconspicuously vague, enlarging even more the album's introspectiveness.

In a time where music seems to find progressively more difficulty in having more than simply a "couple" of years validity, where originality without dissonance seems so difficult to achieve, and where subtlety and feeling rarely equal or surpass the past works, this is, truly, a precious gem...

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#154737) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review by Dim
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well well well... I got this album right after I got Bergtatt, being my first album by Ulver, VERY VERY different. This group has been everywhere, black metal, WEREWOLF metal, industrial, jazzy electronic, and now ambient? Shadows of the sun makes Sigur ros look like a grindcore band, that is how chilled out this album is, Tangerine dream would even have a hard time facing off against these guys!

The album starts with a very slow, but catchy song Eos, that is even singalongable, and this even flows to a more upbeat song (by upbeat, by no means to I actually mean upbeat). This song All the Love features one of the two point in the album where a full drumbeat takes place. Complete with an atonal and off time piano riff the song obviously has the most energy (and by energy, by no means do I mean energy). Only once more in the album do the songs get anywhere close to this MAGNITUDE, and that's in the song shadows of the sun, where the energy only lasts a fraction of this song. Still some of the songs are unbearably catch and melodic, and semi nice to relax to. If you want energy... go with All the love, if you want catchy go with solitude, if you want slow and melodic, go with Eos.

A lot of people are touched by this emotionally, and a lot of people think this is the dumbest thing Ulver has done (behind Nattens madrigal). I think it's a pretty good album, definitely not up to par with Themes, but none the less a good, album by one of my favorite bands at the moment. Recommended to a small few in the super chill section of post rock.

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Send comments to Dim (BETA) | Report this review (#168802) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Great Dark, Ambient Mood Music

Ulver has covered a massive amount of musical terrain during their career, and with Shadows of the Sun they produce what may have been coming for awhile - a purely ambient album. For lovers of dark chillout sounds, this album is superb. I really enjoy the variety of sonic colors, Garm's great low vocals, and the slow grooves (the Black Sabbath cover Solitude stands out in that regard). The production is very well done, big reverbs but good separation, good layering of vocals and keyboard pads, effective use of silence.

At the same time, it is an enormous stretch to call this progressive. There is nothing here that's not already part of the playbook of the modern soundtrack musician, and in fact there are many other great ambient works that at least rival this album.

I must admit that I play this album a lot. The combination of calm and dark, though not unique, is very well done here. The lyric themes are quite dark, dealing with death and loss, but there is also a warmth to the music that comes from the fullness of the key sounds and of course Garm's voice. It is both a good music to play in the background and to immerse yourself in - you can still enjoy it with full or divided attention (not the usual for prog).

I definitely have no problem recommending this album if the buyer knows what they're getting. But proggies looking for a innovative post-rock masterpiece, this is probably not the album to buy. Instead, get Blood Inside, which displays a much broader array of emotion and instrumentation. This one is for those times you want ambient solitude. A great album for what it is, just not prog.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#208721) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is my first encounter with Ulver, so I never heard anything like this. A journey that I never found before this time in music. Imagine this: a bleak, iced plain of a tundra , illuminated by a weak flicker of Nordic sunset light. This is the landscape that come to mind when I listen to this album. You can imagine then the music: a cold, creepy, minimalist atmosphere, with long, suspend notes, accompanied by the utterly deep and warm voice of the singer. Every song is very melancholic, almost sad; not much happiness in this music, like the brilliant cover shows ( I got this album only because of the artwork, I'd never heard of Ulver back then).

The album starts with "Eos" a song played exclusively with a dim sounding organ, accompanied by vocals. Everything is slow, calm, and beautiful. The atmosphere is unforgettable. One of the best songs, even though it might not sound too appealing from my description.

"All the Love" has a beautiful intro, still played with only keyboards. Very simple, yet so profound and moving. The vocals come in shortly. The mood is lightened after a while, as the drums come in, with a downtempo rhythm, and a bleak sounding piano. The mood is even more lightened when a lovely sax solo comes in. After that, you can hear a dreamy, creepy piano riff that accompanies the vocals. Brilliant song, if you ask me the best song of the album.

"Like Music" has a much more relaxing atmosphere, thanks to some nice keyboards, which don't sound as dim as they were previously. The piano is active, less downtempo, generally everything is enlightened. Until half of the song. A threatening, creepy atmosphere comes in, played with keyboards an violin. That's how the song ends. Brilliant.

"Vigil" has an eerie, creepy intro: we hear different electronic sounds, but shortly after the piano comes in. The mood is enlightened and not creepy anymore, but still quite grim. I'm not too crazy for this song, but I appreciate the weird effects that you can hear.

The title track starts with an organ playing one note, until the vocals set foot in, and the mood is changed once more when the drums come in. The mood is really mellow, until the singer sings "Shadows of Tremor, Of The Sun". After that the atmosphere changes from really light, to eerie and creepy. Very nice.

"Let The Children Go" has a nice intro, but the whole song is very weird. All sorts of effects and instruments can be heard, creating a very strange, yet alarmed atmosphere. The vocals are desperate, the drums create threatening sounds, the sax and the vibes really ive an impressive touch. But the drums are the ones that really moved me. Brilliant song, as well as the weirdest song of the album.

"Solitude" reminds Black Sabbath's same titled song: the mood is relaxing but also melancholic and sad. But this isn't my favorite cut of the album, most definitely.

"Funebre" has a creepy and very short intro of drums. The vocals come in, and the atmosphere is suspended between creepy and relaxing. Some nice moments, especially from the singer, but not my favorite.

"What Happened" also isn't one of my favorites. It's almost minimalistic in many parts, sinister in others,. The last minute is practically silence.

"Shadows" no doubt is a great album, full of surprising and innovating moments, but I couldn't give it five stars. I think 4.5 is more than sufficient.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#296866) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Shadows Of The Sun' - Ulver (10/10)

Often, the term 'ambient music' has admittedly had a bit of a pejorative meaning in my mind. More often than not, I've associated the ambient approach and label to be music that fails to capture the listener's attention; the sort of thing that is best left in an elevator or hospital waiting room. Of course, there is no way to critique an entire genre or musical direction with 'good' or 'bad'; there's always going to be gold buried within any mountain. Of course, leave it to the eclectic Norwegian experimental outfit Ulver to create a piece of music that is mellow and soft, but leaves me hanging for almost each blissful moment. This is about as far a cry as one could get from Ulver's origins as a black metal act, and while the band gives a completely different presentation here, I find myself loving the band more than ever with this inventive sound they have fashioned with their 2007 masterpiece 'Shadows Of The Sun'.

Make no mistake with this one; the album is incredibly laid-back, and often quiet to the point of straining one's ears to hear each detail. But, while the music here may not be chock-full of energetic riffs and variety, Ulver's 'Shadows Of The Sun' succeeds simply by how well the sound is arranged, and how surprisingly good the songwriting is considering the ambient label the album has. Expect nothing but a quiet, mellow trip with 'Shadows', but it is also one of the most atmospheric records I have ever come across. Much of the album is driven by peaceful, intricate electronics. These are done very well, and while there is not much sparing the piano and the occasional string section in terms of 'typical' instrumentation one might expect to find in most music, the sounds are done perfectly, and often feel arranged much like a classical composer would envision them.

A notable aspect of the music here is the use of the electronic instrument, the theramin. A fairly obscure instrument with a uniquely distinctive voice to it, it gives a very eerie sound to its parts; particularly the opener 'Eos'. Even before listening to 'Shadows Of The Sun' in its entirety, 'Eos' always stood out to me as being one of those songs I could always put on regardless of mood, and have it sweep me away by its sheer beauty. Dark, deep and brooding vocals from Krystoffer Rygg (listed here as Garm, or Trickster G.) add some extra resonance to the vast soundscapes, taking a lyrical approach that can often be left open to one's personal interpretation.

The album is certainly not meant for every occasion, and not every listener will have the patience to dig into every niche and detail of the music before getting bored. That being said, I have found myself really struck by the post-apocalyptic, brooding, and melancholic ambiance the music gives; it is a personal journey, and a dark vision of the future all in one. It is Ulver's 'Shadows Of The Sun', and it's been one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#435388) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ulver's Shadows of the Sun is a slower and more sedate album than the neurotic and twitchy Blood Inside, and personally I can't help but think it's a bit of a step down for the band. I can't imagine why they chose to include a rather dull and lifeless cover of Black Sabbath's Solitude on the album (never one of Sabbath's better tracks), unless it was a simple matter of just not having enough good material to fill out the album. Certainly, the compositions here, whilst effective in a melancholy and minimalistic way, lack the distinctive richness that made Ulver's electronic post-rock phase so intriguing.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#726402) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012

Latest members reviews

2 stars What's the difference between a shiraz priced at five pounds and a shiraz priced at thirty pound ? The snobbery & brand name. That feature on today's BBC website is what this album reminded me about when trying to express any views on this album. Ulver started out as the thinking man's black ... (read more)

Report this review (#433667) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One thing that people who have listened to Ulver throughout the years know is that you cannot listen to any one of their albums and say "I know what this band sounds like" because their sound changes with each album. You never know whether to expect black metal or ambience. But these guys ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#304296) | Posted by TCat | Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Atmosphere - - atmosphere. This is definitely a gem that is hard to classify. Lyrically haunting and also laden with abstract and discordant arrangements, this impulsive discovery of mine (thanks mostly to this site) was well worth the blind leap. I am not quite sure about the math/rock lab ... (read more)

Report this review (#288405) | Posted by Crawlution | Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first Ulver album and what an album! Definitely one of the best collections of songs, start to finish, from this, the 21st Century. And though this is a dark and pessimistic concept album, it does an amazing job of conveying the despair and hopelessness of our role as perpetrators and victims of ... (read more)

Report this review (#277805) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars gorgeous album. from the black sabbath cover to the eerily quiet yet hauntingly powerfull songs that seem to blend together and leave you wanting. only gripe is that it's too short. hope there's another one soon. ... (read more)

Report this review (#161902) | Posted by shentile | Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars hands down, my album of 2007. they said this would be their most personal album to date, and IT IS. That is why it translates so well. This one needs the attention that only headphones can give. I really believe that this is just another shining star in a rather long and celebrated, yet alw ... (read more)

Report this review (#153081) | Posted by avalanchemaster | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I had no prior experience hearing Ulver prior to this CD. The word about it is spreading rapidly like a precious secret gem. This Norwegian outfit ekes out a sparse, minimal sound almost on the order of early Dead Can Dance or even Black Tape For a Blue Girl. This is post-rock in its extreme. R ... (read more)

Report this review (#146310) | Posted by beebs | Sunday, October 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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