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Post Rock/Math rock • Norway

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Ulver biography
ULVER are a Norwegian trio who started life as a black-metal band around 1993. They have gradually developed an experimental Progressive Metal style and their avante-garde sound is seen to best effect on their 2005 release, Blood Inside. The current line-up (as of July 2004) is Kristoffer Garm Rygg, Jørn H. Sværen, and Tore Ylwizaker. Former members include guitarist Grellmund who committed suicide in late 1997 and Håvard Jørgensen who contributes guitar on their latest album. Related bands include Coil and Borknagar.

Apart from their latest album, "Blood Inside", other notable experimantal and progressive works include Themes from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", released in 1998 and "Metamorphosis" and "Perdition City" which are even more experimental than the "Blake Album" especially in their use of electronics.

See also:

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Ulver's admission have been agreed by Prog Archives Collaborators.

Vargnatt demo (1993)
Split EP with Mysticum (1994)
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler (1995)
Kveldssanger (1996)
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden (1997)
The Trilogie - Three Journeyes through the Norwegian Netherworlde (1998)
Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1998)
Metamorphosis EP (1999)
Perdition City (2000)
Silence Teaches You How To Sing EP(2001)
Silencing The Singing EP (2001)
Teachings In Silence EP Incl. both "Silence" EPs (2002)
Lyckantropen Themes (2002)
1993 - 2003 1st Decade In The Machines [Compilation] (2003)
A Quick Fix of Melancholy EP (2003)
Svidd Neger (2003)
Blood Inside (2005)

Ulver official website

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Buy ULVER Music

Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And HellThemes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And Hell
Jester Norway 2006
Audio CD$9.61
$9.61 (used)
Head Not Found N'way 2001
Audio CD$8.40
$14.24 (used)
Head Not Found 2001
Audio CD$7.50
$7.49 (used)
Blood InsideBlood Inside
The End Records 2005
Audio CD$6.98
$4.45 (used)
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)
Century Media 2016
Perdition CityPerdition City
Audio CD$7.70
$8.19 (used)
Shadows of the SunShadows of the Sun
Jester Norway 2007
Audio CD$7.04
$5.38 (used)
Madrigal of the Night (Nattens Madrigal)Madrigal of the Night (Nattens Madrigal)
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$7.89
$7.88 (used)
Soulfood 2016
Audio CD$9.13
$8.10 (used)
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ULVER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

ULVER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 123 ratings
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
3.57 | 87 ratings
3.02 | 84 ratings
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
3.90 | 93 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
3.92 | 168 ratings
Perdition City - Music To An Interior Film
3.78 | 58 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes (OST)
3.25 | 54 ratings
Svidd Neger (OST)
3.83 | 140 ratings
Blood Inside
4.02 | 217 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
3.81 | 139 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
3.20 | 61 ratings
Childhood's End - Lost & Found From The Age Of Aquarius
4.08 | 110 ratings
Ulver & Tromsø Chamber Orchestra: Messe I.X - VI.X
3.49 | 30 ratings
Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials

ULVER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 9 ratings
Live at Roadburn
4.27 | 11 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
3.76 | 22 ratings

ULVER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.41 | 30 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera

ULVER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 2 ratings
The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
3.83 | 29 ratings
Teachings in Silence
2.80 | 5 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
3.00 | 3 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
4.57 | 5 ratings
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997

ULVER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.09 | 17 ratings
2.50 | 2 ratings
Rehearsal 1993
2.43 | 23 ratings
3.09 | 20 ratings
Silence Teaches You How to Sing
3.19 | 19 ratings
Silencing the Singing
3.80 | 35 ratings
A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP
2.33 | 3 ratings
Roadburn EP

ULVER Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kveldssanger by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 87 ratings

Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars ULVER (Norwegian for "Wolves") showed themselves to be a restless pack quickly wandering into completely new territory, raising their legs, marking it and making it their own. This nomadic seeker of new sounds were already changing things up on their second album KVELDSSANGER ("Twilight Songs") by completely dropping the black metal aspects on their debut album and went full on dark Nowegian folk with emphasis on acoustic guitar, choral chanting accompanied by flutes, cello and occasional percussion. Technically the second part of the "Black Metal Trilogie," someone forgot to tell them that the metal parts apparently didn't make it into the final mix. While the folk music on this album was part of the debut, the absence of metal gives it a much mellower and laid back feel almost feeling like this could be some revivalist Renaissance music of sort.

Vocalist and founder Kristoffer Rygg admits this was an attempt to create a full-on classical piece and wasn't satisfied with the outcome but for what technical prowess this album doesn't exhibit, it more than makes up for it in atmospheric and meditative passages that find the vocal styles in perfect harmony with the classical acoustic guitar riffs and accompanying instruments. In fact, it sounds as if it was created by monks in a far away monastery evoking the sacred sounds of an era long passed with only the subtle orchestrations giving it away that it is a product of the modern era.

While the distortion of metal is nowhere to be found here, this classical imbued folk music still resinates on the darker side of things as if it is indeed the soundtrack for a pack of hungry wolves undercover of the night stalking their next victims deep in the forest under the full moon in the frigid Scandinavian winter. ULVER would once again enter black metal territory to finish out the trilogy but it should have been an obvious prognostication that this band had a hard time settling in one musical genre when after all didn't even put the black metal in the middle chapter of the "Black Metal Trilogie."

 ATGCLVLSSCAP by ULVER album cover Live, 2016
3.76 | 22 ratings

Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Have I mentioned before that I LOVE ULVER! I love the creative, adventuresome, unpredictable, ever-evolving spirit that is this band. To me, this is an essential feature of the most creative bands/artists'the willingness and drive to constantly try new things, the curiosity and fearlessness to experiment with new media and new styles and new techniques. I don't know if it's driven by a desire to grow, by insatiable curiosity, by envy and respect of other musical styles, or the mental discipline to always try to test oneself, but Ulver seem to constantly reinvent themselves. (Which is one of the reasons that Ulver should be the poster-child for the campaign to get ProgArchves to let go of the system of categorizing a band/artist into one and only one sub-genre'forever and ever'based upon a one-time decision-making process.) While many reviewers of this album are citing a turn in direction toward a German Kosmische Musik influence coming through on this one, I would go a bit further and urge people to consider the influence of the entire career of Holger Czukay'soundscapes and radio sampling being the special focus. Garm and mates must be huge fans. The life-work of ambient music pioneer Brian Eno is also heavily drawn upon here, no doubt.

1. 'England's Hidden' (7:39) opens with sample recordings of church/cathedral bells ringing (how Brian Eno!) over which an odd glockenspiel arpeggio and some Beatles-esque dissonant string orchestra chords are sustained into slow crescendo. As the strings take the fore and begin playing in real chord sequences, the bells and glock fade away. I am strongly reminded of Eno's Discreet Music album as well as some of the Fairlight CMI work Peter Gabriel incorporated into his 1982 eponymously titled album (also called 'Security'). Truly an awesome, stunning, masterful song. (10/10)

2. 'Glammer Hammer' (4:49) opens as a bleed over from the previous song before taking on a kind of X-Files theme played by U2 and THE CURE. Cool, awesome, moving song. The break at the 2:15 mark is so creepy as they engineer the tunings of the sounds/instruments before entering into a heavier rock phase of the song'one that is very familiar to those of us who have heard a lot of Ulver's discography. Awesome song with some awesome drumming and a great build up to the contrasting pastoral ending. (10/10)

3. 'Moody Stix' (6:44) has a kind of Asian feel and sound to it, with many percussives, tuned and untuned, contributing to the mix in the first minute. The arrival of electric guitar power chords, deep heavy bass, and heavily treated psycho-babble from the lead guitar cannot quite offset the kind of circus atmosphere created by the percussives and drum kit'the later of which become more dominant as the song progresses to its end. This could be a great contribution to a soundtrack to a film scene. (8/10)

4. 'Cromagnosis' (9:48) is a two-part, two-tempoed song, the first very psychelic yet engaging in a lilting Kosmiche kind of way, the second more like a driving WHO or MOTORPSYCHO song. It is great. It all works'bongos and all. (9/10)

5. 'The Spirits that Lend Strength Are Invisible' (3:16) bleeds over from 'Cromgnosis' like an interlude the band need to tune instruments and reconfigure keyboard and computer programs. About 1:40 in some heavily treated percussives and then a little later some pitch-modulated synth sounds play over the base-line mix. Very EnoAmbient, Apollo era-esque. (8/10)

6. 'Om Hanumate Namah' (7:42) is pure Kosmiche Musik complete with awesome chanting, Edge Evans guitar style, and some great drumming a la Vespero. Awesome and enthralling! (10/10)

7. 'Desert/Dawn' (8:34) is dominated by the immense palette of a church organ though simple bass, drum and multiple synths play their weave over the top in a Math Rock kind of way. (8/10)

8. 'D-Day Drone' (9:21) has an apocalyptic Shadows of the Sun-like feel to it with multiple synth washes and tympanic-bass laying solid foundation of doom and ominosity for a Holger Czukay-like radio sample of some traditional Persian-like instrument played over the top by a synthesizer. During the second half the organ takes over as provider of base/background while radio voice samples take over for the lead instrument. (9/10)

9. 'Gold Beach' (4:52) continues the theme of peaceful organ-play over which radio samples are slipped in and out. Don't know why, but this song really gets me. So cool, so relaxing. In a David Sylvian kind of way. Awesome chord progressions used by the organ. (10/10)

10. 'Nowhere (Sweet Sixteen)' (5:56) is a more 'normal' song in that it has an ABACAB structure and traditional four-piece rock band lineup. I find the song most interesting for reminding me how much I like the vocal talents of bandleader Kristoffer Rygg. (How does he hold that note for so long in the fifth minute?) More Post Rock in the ANATHEMA-style'though I really like the way the drums are recorded. (8/10)

11. 'Ecclesiastes (A Vernal Catnap)' (9:01) is a treated piano and heavily synthed background over which someone is reading for the first 3:30 in what I presume to be Norwegian while in the second half Garm sings the English version of the New Testament's famous verses from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 1-8. Over bongos. Kind of cool but unnecessary (though I love the parenthetical title). (8/10)

12. 'Solaris' (2:12) is a very odd and edgy ambient piece with a strings-synth chord sequence and female operatic singing providing the background within which a heavily oscillated volume controlled instrument (or instruments?) of undetermined name (drums?) weaves its railroad-like melody into the mix. Fascinating in a Baroque music listening quiz kind of way. (9/10)

I have to agree with several of the reviewers who have already made their judgement over this album that it is one of the best Ulver albums I've ever heard'certainly one of the most interesting and intriguing. Too early to know if this will be considered one of their masterpieces but we'll certainly know by next December.

4.5 stars, rated down, for now, for no good reason that I can think of . . . .

 The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde by ULVER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.91 | 2 ratings

The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by CassandraLeo

4 stars A picture disc repackaging of Ulver's early black metal and folk material, The Trilogie is the first of several reissues this material would get. The packaging is beautiful, as expected, but it suffers from the usual subpar audio quality of picture discs with excessive crackles and pops, and the material has not been remastered for this release. For Bergtatt and Kveldssanger the lack of remastering is not a problem, but Nattens madrigal remains the unrelenting wall of noise it was on every pre-Trolsk sortmetall reissue of the album, which remains a problem even on vinyl. The material on this set is essential, so if you can afford the inflated second-hand prices this set goes for and you find them worth paying for the packaging, it's worth picking up, but there are better ways to acquire this material. (I'd most highly recommend the vinyl version of Trolsk sortmetall).
 Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 by ULVER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.57 | 5 ratings

Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Ulver's early black metal and folk work gets yet another repackaging here. However, it proves to be utterly necessary, since of the many times this material has been repackaged, most of it has never sounded this good. It's rather unfortunate that the remaster of Bergtatt succumbs to the general tendency of modern remasters to make the album louder than it was originally, but the box set makes up for this with the remaster of Nattens madrigal, which has never sounded better. Nattens will always be a lo-fi album, but this time around it actually has a reasonable level of dynamics rather than being an solid wall of noise, and you can even hear the bass on this version.

If you haven't heard the material on this box set yet, it's among the most essential recordings of the Norwegian second wave of black metal. Vargnatt is a fairly typical black metal demo (the instrumental acoustic interlude provided a hint of the band's adventurous spirit, but otherwise it could be considered fairly typical of the genre if you accept its penchant for odd melodies and strange arrangements), but on Bergtatt they emerged as if fully formed from the head of Athena. With the possible exceptions of Enslaved and later Emperor, the album is as progressive as second-wave black metal gets, with liberal amounts of folk interludes and clean singing and even the occasional delve into the avant-garde. The average song length is about seven minutes on this album, which gives you an idea what you're in for. The fact that the band members were mere teenagers when they recorded this is almost impossible to believe, and many listeners still consider it to be Ulver's finest work (although as they have a large and varied discography with many strong releases, this opinion is nowhere near universally shared).

Famously, the band did a complete left-turn with their second album, Kveldssanger, which is an entirely acoustic neofolk album with almost exclusively clean singing. The band later criticised their own performances as "immature", but I don't hear it. The album is simply a beautiful collection of elegantly performed folk tunes that is likely to appeal to nearly any listener, regardless of their opinion of metal music; it is a superb and influential recording that remains a landmark of its genre. The album in its presentation here is given the rare bonus track "Synen" from the same era (which was previously only available on the hard-to-find multi-artist collections Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings and Souvenirs from Hell), which is performed in a similar style to the rest of the album and makes a wonderful addition to this collection.

Nattens madrigal is the final full-length album in this set (which also includes rehearsal versions of four of this album's tracks), and is pretty clearly the band's attempt to outdo their Norwegian contemporaries at their own game. Various writers have noted that for their second and third album it's as if they siphoned the two elements of Bergtatt off into individual albums; Kveldssanger contains the acoustic folk passages while Nattens madrigal represents the furious black metal. It sounds like an unrelenting wall of noise on first listen even with the remaster, but repeated listening will reveal a surprising amount of melodicism under the surface. Some of these songs, with different arrangements, could almost qualify as pop songs, and indeed at one point the band planned an orchestral re-recording of the album (although it apparently has been abandoned). The ambient interludes on this one are also a highlight, and do quite a lot to help evoke the mood of terror the band were obviously going for. The prog influence on this one is subtle, but it shows up occasionally.

After this point, Ulver would abandon black metal entirely, becoming musical chameleons on the level of the late David Bowie. Their next album would be industrial and progressive metal, then they would experiment with various forms of electronic music before recording dark ambient, post-rock, psychedelic rock, and many other styles. Still, the material on this box set should not be overlooked, and this is probably the best way to acquire it, especially if you can track down a copy of the vinyl box set. Strongly recommended, and fully deserving of a full five-star rating.

 Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.02 | 84 ratings

Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Nattens Madrigal' - Ulver (82/100)

Has there ever been a band as wilfully eclectic as Ulver? The flux from black metal to folk to electronica to ambient to experimental rock to neoclassical and drone has been a crash course in a wild and provocative art, and they've almost always excelled in whatever they set their hearts to. What's less talked about is how varied they managed to be within those individual genres themselves. Take black metal, for instance. The debut Bergtatt introduced Ulver on a note of nature-based aesthetic black metal, replete with folk interludes and earthiness bands like Agalloch would take to heart in the following decade. The following year's Kveldssanger was a purely folk album-- a strange move for a metal band that had only just established themselves in one genre.

So what of Nattens Madrigal? It is Ulver's second black metal album following Bergtatt, yet bears very little resemblance in sound or atmosphere. If anything, the fact that two such different albums may be described with the same label isn't just a testament to Ulver's variety, but the variety and range of black metal itself. It's indeed as if they fashioned their second and third album to pick apart the two halves of Bergtatt, like a toddler who wants different foods of his meal on separate plates. Kveldssanger's pure folk melancholy is replaced by pure aggression and darkness, with only scant traces of conventional beauty to be found. Even the production sounds drab and grimy by comparison.

It's the weirdest thing to hear a band wilfully devolving themselves in a sense, and first impressions would have it seem like Nattens Madrigal is at a less developed, less adult stage than its mature predecessor. I think I might still think that to some extent, but continued listens have proven that Nattens Madrigal deserves every bit of praise it gets. Comparing it with Bergtatt is ultimately futile past a certain point. It is coming from a very different place, and means to take the listener to a very different destination.

I've been listening to Bergtatt a lot lately, and I am consistently amazed by how far they were able to push their unique sound on a debut. They were still basically kids, and managed to outdo a lot of the best work of their other Second Wave contemporaries. Such as it was, Bergtatt barely fit the current mould; clean vocals were a bigger part than growls or rasps. I get the feeling Nattens Madrigal was produced with the intent of proving to the world they could beat the rest of the Second Wave at their own game. That includes using the tropes we're all deathly familiar with: blastbeats, tremolo picking, evil snarls and liberal references to night and wolves and other spooky [&*!#]. Nattens Madrigal may be a more conventional listen, but I think it's actually more of a grower than Bergtatt. Whereas Bergtatt had great ideas an made the most of them, the riffs and jolted album flow makes Nattens Madrigal more of a slow burn than a lot of other conventionally kvlt black metal fare.

The atmosphere is ripe and frequently scary. I think that's because of the way Ulver incorporated latent experimental elements into the music. While no one should ever approach the album with an appetite for the avant-garde, the abrupt way Ulver starts and stops their ideas here is pretty chilling. The most underrated part of Nattens Madrigal is undoubtedly the ambient interludes, which are interspersed commonly throughout the record and do more to evoke a feeling than most Second Wavers' attempts at ambiance. It conjures a feeling of outer space (a la Darkspace) just as much as being alone in the woods, chased by wolves. Considering how well they were able to surprise and reinvent themselves with this album, I'm a bit disappointed Ulver didn't actually do more black metal. What new innovations could they have made in the genre, had they just stuck with it? Luckily, their decision to go electronic resulted in other masterworks like Perdition City and Shadows of the Sun, so I'm not complaining too much.

 Shadows Of The Sun by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.02 | 217 ratings

Shadows Of The Sun
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The album cover for Shadows of the Sun might have come from a picture in Natural History Magazine, but I can't think of a more fitting image to represent such a melancholic piece of art. Since abandoning their black metal roots, Ulver have created a great deal of forward-thinking electronic and ambient music that completely contradicts the first phase of their career (sans Kveldssenger) by abandoning metal altogether. However, one thing has never changed: Ulver's music is [%*!#]ing dark. No matter what genre they attempt with each passing release, the bleak atmosphere of their work is always something that sticks out, much like Agalloch or Corrupted. However, Shadows of the Sun managed to go the extra mile, particularly by stripping down their sound from the bombast and general loudness that pervaded much of Blood Inside. In fact, this was the first record by the band since Kveldssenger to be so low-key and somber... and it worked beautifully.

One of Ulver's greatest strengths is that they truly know how to create a musical setting and mood, and Shadows of the Sun may be the best example of this. A bevy of instruments come together to enhance the album's variety, such as a trumpet, theremin, cellos, violins/violas, and various guitars; however, it all comes together with the powerful vocals of frontman Garm. It's hard to believe that this guy once performed primarily with black metal shrieks (mainly with Nattens Madrigal), because his somber vocal work here is simply incredible to experience. The way his performances lift songs such as the title track and the Black Sabbath cover "Solitude" is worth the price of admission alone, but the highlights of his vocals come with the layered harmonies he brings to certain tracks. "Eos," which is already a superb song because of its subtle variation and use of minimalism, features some of the best vocal harmonies in modern music. Garm said he was influenced by the harmonies of The Beach Boys for much of his singing on the record, and it's interesting to hear him create such dark soundscapes from the aspects of an often cheery band.

Beyond this, what I love about Shadows of the Sun is how scaled back everything is. It seems as though the members were incredibly selective about the instruments used here, especially regarding the limited percussion. In fact, songs such as "Eos" and "Like Music" have no drumming or electronic beats whatsoever; they are only propelled by piano, strings, synthesizers, and such. The songs that do have percussion, like the title track and especially "All the Love," create busy drum work around repetitive and droning rhythms to convey a lot of variety beneath the soft dynamics. The entire record truly feels like a cohesive experience, but the clean and warm production ensures that the album is best heard through headphones; in fact, despite how bleak and depressing the whole thing is, the music is surprisingly warm and comforting at the same time. Perhaps it's because of Garm's soothing vocal melodies or the uniquely tangible tone of the piano, but I feel as though the production is still the biggest reason. Every instrument feels as though it's enveloping you in each distinct atmosphere, and there's almost a vintage ambience to it all. In the end, however, what cements Shadows of the Sun as one of Ulver's best albums is its consistency. The record knows what it is at all times; there aren't many surprises or weird frills, but for a record this dark and low-key, I'd say that's a good thing. The atmosphere is consistent, the ambient instrumentation is consistent, the vocal work is consistent, and yet every track has something different to offer. Want a more instrumentally-involved piece with percussion (albeit slow percussion)? "All the Love" and the title track. Want something more droning and minimalist? "Eos" and "Funebre." Want a lot more piano work? "Like Music," "Vigil," and "Solitude." When you get down to it, Shadows of the Sun is just an amazing piece of work. It's emotional, unique, beautiful, and well-composed. If you enjoy quiet and somber music, you owe it to yourself to buy this. Now.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Kveldssanger by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 87 ratings

Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Already, with Ulver's 2nd album, it was apparent that this band was going to be full of surprises with each album. Many people lump Ulver's first 3 albums together saying that it was their black metal trilogy. To me, I don't think you can lump any of Ulver's albums together because each one is so different. Where the first album was black metal but with medieval style singing in many places throughout, this one is all acoustic with Gregorian type chanting in about half of the songs and just instrumental in the others. The third album in this so called trilogy is really noisy and heavy and also the least accessible of the three albums, but it is still quite different from anything else the band has done, even from the first album. But I won't go into detail about that album here since this is about the 2nd album.

Like I said, it is all acoustic and very peaceful, yet still dark and eerie sounding. The vocals do have some variance in them, but they all follow a chanting style and sound like a group of monks singing along with the beautiful guitar and occasional violin. There really isn't a lot of variety between the songs, but some of them are heartbreakingly beautiful. It would be hard to go through each track and break them down because every description would pretty much say about the same thing. But, strangely enough, this never gets boring because the arrangements are diverse enough to keep one's interest, and the album only lasts 35 minutes, so it doesn't really wear out it's welcome. Most of the tracks stay quite short, with only 3 going over 3 minutes (just barely except for the last track which goes for 6 minutes).

These are mostly quite lovely tunes if you don't mind the chanting part. My wife tells me that I must be going Catholic when I listen to this, so that gives you an idea of how authentic it sounds. But it is still quite an enjoyable album, and if you are listening to the discography in order, then it's a nice break between the two loud albums that come before and after this one. My preferred play list from these three albums would be to intersperse them sort of randomly to give it a little more variety.

So, it's pretty good and I can easily bump it up from 3.5 stars to round it off to 4. A little more variety would have been good, but may have sounded out of place, so there ya go.

By the way, lovers of folk music would probably enjoy this album too.

 The Norwegian National Opera by ULVER album cover DVD/Video, 2011
4.41 | 30 ratings

The Norwegian National Opera
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by progadicto

4 stars If there is an experimental and innovative band nowadays, that's Ulver and this live album is such a great example of their talent to make extraordinary atmospheres and dark but even proggy compositions.

This concert at the Norwegian National Opera presents some of the greatest titles of the band between 1998 and 2011, including tracks from delightful albums from latest 90 such as Perdition City, Svidd Neger and William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; from their latest and equaly amazing producutions: Blood Inside, Shadows of the Sun and War of Roses, along with some tracks that you'll find into EP's like A Quick Fix of Melancholy or Silence Teaches You How to Speak, among others.

The concert catches you from the first minutes with a dark musical ambiance that shows some sort of acted but cruel execution by hanging. After that, Ulver displays a lot of video material to give their music a kind of visual context that fits perfectly almost any song, turning the National Opera into a phantasmagoric scenario fullfilled with dark and impressive atmospheres.

The concert is a materpiece from the beginning to the end but if I got to pick some highlights I recommend to you listen (and see) very carefully what I call the "Blood Inside Suite", the two songs extracted from Perdition City and Like Music and Not Saved at the end of the album. With no hesitation, 4 great stars...

 Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.00 | 123 ratings

Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars ULVER (Norwegian for 'wolves') has become one of the strangest and most eclectic bands in the universe over their two decade span of releasing albums and that uniqueness begins right here on their debut release BERGTATT - ET EEVENTYR I 5 CAPITLER (Spellbound - A Fairy Tale In 5 Chapters). The first thing you hear is a fast drum roll and then kicks in black metal riffing but what really grabs your attention is the Gregorian chant vocals that accompany it. Eventually the clean vocals give way to the expected raspy shrieks and screams more typical of the second wave but the interplay between the two styles is the basis of this entire album which was inspired by Scandinavian folktales. What's really going on here is two distinct styles of the album taking place. One is in an aggressive black metal style and the other is in an acoustic folk style with the monk-like chanting. These two styles usually trade off with each other but often they coincide with one taking the lead role at any given moment.

The album is actually considered part of the "Black Metal Trilogy"even though the second album lacks the metal part of the equation. In addition to the fusion of styles, ULVER set themselves apart from other black metal bands of the day by focusing their lyrics around myths and fantastical worlds instead of anti-Christianity, national pride or other hateful themes. The folk sections consist of beautiful classical acoustic guitar, cello and flute. The black metal parts pack in all the aggressive fury one would hope for but what really works is how well it is all mixed together and all the trading off of sounds is perfect. Before you know it the album goes by way too fast. A very unique album that obviously influenced later acts such as Agalloch and Deathspell Omega. Despite being lumped into the black metal universe it is clear from one listen to this beautiful beast that ULVER were on their own trajectory and it's one that i'm glad I have finally latched on to. 4.5 rounded up!

 Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.49 | 30 ratings

Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Terrestrials

The first time i listened to this album really made a lasting impression on me. I was watching the tv series 'The Pacific' with all it's blood and guts - thinking of past lives as a soldier in numerous wars with swords swinging and guns ablazing......then the commercials came on to ruin my ficticious daydreaming. Buy something!.....and forget about the war! I got mad and frustrated - looked at the coffeetable in front of me, where this beautiful cover art seemed like it was smiling at me. Ahh to hell with it and on the stereo I threw it - after all I had about 7 minutes of wallpaper time to spend, so why not spin what, at the time, was the most anticipated release of the year for yours truly.

Well the 7 minutes came and went and by the time the granades had started to fly in a sea of bullits and young men with fear in their eyes, I still couldn't quite get myself to turn it off and return to the war. Instead I turned the volume way up and kept the tv on mute. Something magical happened. The slow almost oozing nature of the music complemented the images of humanity being trambled under foot. The first track 'Let There Be Light' felt like an ode to humanity. The eerie viola creeping and crawling on it's belly seemed to mimic the wounded American soldier slithering through the bloodstained grasses - just as the feedback of Sunn O)))s guitars very similarly interjected an enigmatic sense of fear into the music. By the time the trumpet emerged like a soft beam of light I felt bruised and old - like an old stone. That trumpet though saved me from the terror by breathing light into the piece. From these dark cauldrons of drones and grainy unsubstantial flutters there was suddenly music, by the flick of the switch, and then it grew exponentially in size and gusto culminating in this beautiful catharthic release with the drums rolling by like a series of rhythmic waves, or subdued thunder. The feel is raw and earthy like brown dirt, and it works wonders together with the incomprehensible nature of the surrounding instruments.

By this time I was very close to a mental breakdown or some kind of grim spiritual orgasm - either way I was seriously contemplating turning either the tv or music off.......but I didn't. The following track 'Western Horn' stopped me dead in my tracks with it's yearning trumpet cry. The battle up on the screen had stopped and grey smoke, broken bodies and a sense of detachment filled the screen as if to underline the horrific silence that always follows the bang. The music was perfect. It captured everything about the scene which can never be expressed in words.

Finishing off this journey, 'Eternal Return' acted like an epilogue to all this madness. The stoic yet lonesome voice of Kristoffer Rygg joins in for the first time, and it couldn't have waited for a more perfect moment than this, where frail hapsichord and those ominous and highly vibrant guitar noises of Sunn O))) really come to the fore. Bookends the album like a day of snow in late August.

This is not an easy album to get into by any stretch of the imagination. I gather I was lucky with my first encounter. I saw the record's 'intentions' instantly - and no it was probably not meant as a dramatic backdraft to a cinematic W.W.ll battle, but the feel of the thing - the stuff between the lines - the mental state you have to be in when approaching Terrestrials - that I got from day one no less.

I keep returning to this record - sometimes it's like witnessing an ancient sun ceremony from the feet of a Mayan pyramid, other times I go back to the war....but each and every time I listen to it I get an experience out of the norm. Terrestrials promises you something earthy just through it's title yet what it delivers zooms right out of the soil and tattooes itself in your least it did in me.

Thanks to tony r for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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