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ULVER

Post Rock/Math rock • Norway


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Ulver picture
Ulver biography
Founded in Oslo, Norway in 1993

ULVER are a Norwegian trio who started life as a black-metal band. 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.

Photo by Kerry O'Sullivan (2009)

See also:
-Arcturus
-Borknagar

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Buy ULVER Music


The Assassination Of Julius CaesarThe Assassination Of Julius Caesar
House of Mythology 2017
$27.98
Sic Transit Gloria MundiSic Transit Gloria Mundi
EP
House of Mythology 2018
$5.99
BergtattBergtatt
Head Not Found N'Way 2001
$10.19
$10.78 (used)
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)
Century Media 2016
$23.98
Shadows of the SunShadows of the Sun
Jester Norway 2007
$10.43
$8.26 (used)
Norwegian National OperaNorwegian National Opera
KSCOPE 2017
$25.48
$31.38 (used)
AtgclvlsscapAtgclvlsscap
Soulfood 2016
$25.15
$32.61 (used)
Teachings in SilenceTeachings in Silence
Jester Norway 2006
$15.84
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And HellThemes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And Hell
Jester Norway 2006
$12.22
$28.88 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SAMAEL Rebellion / 1995 / MC CASSETTE MAYHEM, ULVER, SUMMONING USD $9.99 Buy It Now 33m 48s
THE WALL RE-BUILT MOJO PRESENTS PINK FLOYD DISC ONE ASTRA ULVER RAFTER AMAZING USD $4.96 [0 bids]
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ULVER - Shadows Of Sun - CD - **Excellent Condition** USD $26.95 Buy It Now 16h 37m
METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 4/1997 ICED EARTH QUEENSRYCHE SEPULTURA WARLORD ULVER USD $9.99 Buy It Now 16h 40m
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20h 42m
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20h 43m
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Blood Inside - Ulver Compact Disc USD $15.87 Buy It Now 2 days
Ulver - Childhood's End [New CD] USD $11.12 Buy It Now 2 days
Ulver - War of the Roses CD 2011 digibook KScope ambient experimental Norway USD $13.95 Buy It Now 2 days
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Atgclvlsscap - Ulver 884388160057 (CD Used Like New) USD $14.61 Buy It Now 2 days
OCTOBER FALLS "THE WOMB OF PRIMORDIAL NATURE" BRAND NEW! FREE SHIPPING! ULVER USD $6.99 [0 bids]
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IN THE WOODS heart of the ages 1ST CD 1995 AMAZONIAN / MISANTHROPY ULVER USD $36.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ENSLAVED frost SPV 84-20392 CD 1994 OSMOSE marduk immortal Ulver USD $26.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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SUNN O))) - FLIGHT OF THE BEHEMOTH CD Earth / Ulver / Mayhem USD $14.01 Buy It Now 2 days
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Ulver - Lyckantropen Themes (CD Used Like New) USD $12.08 Buy It Now 3 days
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ULVER Perdition City / 2000 / MC CASSETTE BORKNAGAR, TAAKE, AGALLOCH, KVIST USD $26.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Terrestrials LP by Sunn O)))/Ulver Vinyl, Mar-2014, Southern Lord Records Sealed USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
ULVER - Shadows Of Sun - CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $25.95 Buy It Now 3 days
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ARCTURUS La Masquerade Infernale / 1997 / MC CASSETTE (EX) ULVER, MAYHEM, STORM USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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ULVER - ULVER 1993-2003: 1ST DECADE IN THE MACHINES USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $12.62 Buy It Now 3 days
ULVER - KVELDSSANGER USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $12.62 Buy It Now 3 days
Ulver - Live At The Norwegian National Opera [CD] USD $17.91 Buy It Now 3 days
VARIOUS ARTISTS - MY OWN WOLF: A NEW APPROACH TO ULVER USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $6.16 Buy It Now 3 days
ULVER WITH TROMSø CHAMBER ORCHESTRA? Messe I.X-Vi.X LP VINYL European Jester USD $41.91 Buy It Now 3 days
Ulver: Kveldssanger CD 2001 Voices Of Wonder / Head Not Found Norway HNF 014 NEW USD $15.95 Buy It Now 4 days
ULVER - WARS OF THE ROSES USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now 4 days
ULVER - LIVE AT ROADBURN: EULOGY FOR THE LATE SIXTIES [DIGIPAK] USED - VERY GOOD USD $13.62 Buy It Now 4 days
AGALLOCH Compendium Archive 2CD RARE!!! Ulver, Alcest, Mgla, Solstafir, Opeth USD $55.00 [23 bids]
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AGALLOCH Marrow of the Spirit 2LP LP TEST PRESSING Ulver, Mgla, Opeth, Alcest USD $127.50 [11 bids]
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ULVER - THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR (CD 2017) USD $7.95 Buy It Now 4 days
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In The Woods CD Isle96 Arcturus Ved Buens Ende Ulver Emperor Primordial Agalloch USD $23.99 [0 bids]
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GRIEVANCE THE PHANTOM NOVELS CD 1999 HEAD NOT FOUND 1ST PRESS ULVER GEHENNA USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X [CD] USD $15.31 Buy It Now 4 days
ULVER Silence Teaches You How to Sing CD Ltd.Ed. 2000 Mayhem Isengard 1Burzum NM USD $29.99 [0 bids]
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ULVER Silencing the Singing rare Ltd Ed CD EP 2001 NM Mayhem DHG Agalloch USD $19.99 [0 bids]
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ULVER Childhood's End UK 16-trk numbered/watermarked promo test CD USD $35.04 Buy It Now 4 days
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Peste Noire Macabre Transcendance Cassette Demo Tape Darkthrone Vlad Tepes Ulver USD $189.99 [0 bids]
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OPERA IX the black opera DIGI AVANTGARDE,Inquisition,Ulver,Taake,Darkestrah USD $34.99 [0 bids]
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MITHOTYN king of the distant forest ORIG 1998 INVASION REC-agalloch,ulver,alcest USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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THRYFING valdr galga ORIG 1999 DIGIPAK HAMMERHEART-ulver,naglfar,primordial,absu USD $19.99 [0 bids]
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MITHOTYN in the sign of the ravens ORIG 1997 BLACK DIAMOND-windir,agalloch,ulver USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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5 days
Ulver Wars Of The Roses CD USD $25.55 Buy It Now 5 days
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ULVER 2 CD Lot Themes from William Blake's...Blood Inside USD $39.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Anathema "Judgement" +Progressive Metal+ Opeth, Katatonia, The Gathering, Ulver USD $7.67 [0 bids]
USD $11.51 Buy It Now
5 days
Ulver - Live At The Norwegian National Opera (NEW CD & DVD) USD $19.27 Buy It Now 5 days
Ulver 1993-2003 (1st Decade In The Machines) (CD NEW CD USD $18.09 Buy It Now 5 days
TAAKE ...Bjoergvin... LP TSJUDER DARKTHRONE SATYRICON GORGOROTH BATHORY ULVER USD $0.99 [0 bids]
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ULVER discography


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

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

4.00 | 140 ratings
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
1994
3.55 | 96 ratings
Kveldssanger
1996
3.11 | 95 ratings
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
1997
3.91 | 103 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
1998
3.92 | 186 ratings
Perdition City - Music To An Interior Film
2000
3.73 | 63 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes (OST)
2002
3.23 | 59 ratings
Svidd Neger (OST)
2003
3.83 | 154 ratings
Blood Inside
2005
4.06 | 241 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
2007
3.80 | 152 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
2011
3.46 | 68 ratings
Childhood's End - Lost & Found From The Age Of Aquarius
2012
4.05 | 133 ratings
Ulver & Tromsø Chamber Orchestra: Messe I.X - VI.X
2013
3.42 | 41 ratings
Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials
2014
2.75 | 8 ratings
Riverhead (OST)
2016
3.80 | 68 ratings
The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
2017

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

3.18 | 11 ratings
Live at Roadburn
2013
4.00 | 13 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
2013
3.84 | 37 ratings
ATGCLVLSSCAP
2016

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

4.40 | 34 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
2011

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

3.91 | 2 ratings
The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
1997
3.83 | 29 ratings
Teachings in Silence
2002
2.80 | 5 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
2003
3.00 | 3 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
2012
4.60 | 6 ratings
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997
2014

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

2.09 | 18 ratings
Vargnatt
1993
2.00 | 3 ratings
Rehearsal 1993
1993
2.47 | 24 ratings
Metamorphosis
1999
3.09 | 20 ratings
Silence Teaches You How to Sing
2001
3.19 | 19 ratings
Silencing the Singing
2001
3.80 | 36 ratings
A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP
2003
2.33 | 3 ratings
Roadburn EP
2012
3.67 | 3 ratings
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
2017

ULVER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.11 | 95 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars While ULVER (Norwegian for "wolves") has become synonymous with eclectic genre jumping between albums like virtually no other band in history of recorded music, in the beginning they at least attempted to create a series of albums in their "Black Metal Trilogie" which began with 1994's "Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler." However despite the supposed "black metal" part of the equation, even on their sophomore album, the wiley wolfy ones were pulling the old switcheroo by performing their second album in the metal- free zone of the dark Norwegian folk drenched "Kvelssanger." For their third album they make a reprise and finish out the trilogy by bringing the black metal back to the forefront and on NATTENS MADRIGAL - AATTE HYMNE TIL ULVEN I MANDEN (translated from Norwegian as "Madrigal Of The Night ? Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man"), not only do they recapitulate the full fury of the debut but unleash the full fury of caustic black metal which races along like wolf pursued prey fleeing for its very life.

While the three albums are connected thematically, NATTENS MADRIGAL was the band's international debut and most likely the first taste of the Norwegian wolf pack by the majority of the planet. The third installment of the trilogy is a concept that revolves around tales of the dark side of humanity that uses metaphors in the form of wolves in the moonlit night as depicted by the cover art. The album was recorded immediately after "Bergtatt" with no specific timeline for release but as the band got signed by Century Media in the late 90s, vocalist Kristoffer Rygg who is credited as Garm states that the band wanted to unleash their most abrasive and venomous attempt on second wave black metal as their international debut not only as a guidepost for their involvement in the early scene but also as a final farewell before they moved out of the black metal scene entirely. There was also a little shock value involved to freak out their new label as well.

NATTENS MADRIGAL is a relentless beast despite calm surreal interludes that incorporate ambient, industrial and other pacifying sounds. While these sounds are plentiful, they merely punctuate the main compositions that exude an overall abrasive and caustic second wave metal attack with adrenaline fueled blastbeasts, searing buzzsaw guitar riffs and lo-fi production that banishes the bass into Hades. As typical for the day, the din is fortified with vile, angry raspy shouted vocals typical of Darkthrone, Mayhem, Marduk and other similar second wavers of the 90s Scandinavian black metal scene. While the lo-fi aspects of NATTENS MADRIGAL are quite similar to the majority of over-adrenalized 90s black metal, ULVER excels in composing tight melodic constructs which at times such as in "Hymn I: Of Wolf And Fear" breaks out of the super aggressive mode and converts into melodic classical guitar with modern production before descending into the lo-fi hellfire pits once again.

While on the surface NATTENS MADRIGAL seems like a typical 90s black metal release, however it is in fact an interesting closer in their "Black Metal Trilogie" as it eschews the atmospheric and folk touches that the debut "Bergtatt" utilized and opts for a more primeval raw and angry evil as [%*!#] sort of sound. While the fans of the day never could have predicted that after such an energetic and unrelenting display of black metal fury that constitutes the third and final installment of the trilogy, the clues as to where ULVER would take their next journey lay in the cracks between the caustic distortionfest. The ambient, industrial and psychedelic folk snippets between tracks would become the focus of the newer chapters of ULVER's ever-changing journey. While i can't say that i wish ULVER would have stuck to their black metal roots because so many other band's were jumping on the bandwagon, i also cannot say that i don't love the hell out of the early black metal albums that ULVER conjured up. On this one, they not only somehow managed to create beautiful melodies beneath the unbounded brutality but seeded the blueprint of their future musical adventures. NATTENS MADRIGAL is a satisfying adrenalized high octane 90s black metal release fortified with cool electronic embellishments.

 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.80 | 68 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In 2017 ULVER have created an 80's styled Synthpop record in the mold of DEPECHE MODE. I personally don't have any issues with this style of music being a pretty big DEPECHE MODE fan, and being in my late teens, early twenties through the first half of the eighties meant I heard a lot of this style of music. Of course this is ULVER so they mix it up a little but there are some really good songs on here. Lots of synth pads and electronics and the atmosphere is often dark. Some feel there's a vibe from their classic "Perdition City" album. Personally I prefer that live album("ATGCLVLSSCAP") they did recently to this new studio album but that's me.

"Nemoralea" is a favourite of most that have reviewed this. It doesn't make my top three and in fact I think the lead off track should have been something else. Heavy drums to start as vocals and synths join in. Some vocal melodies too on the chorus. Catchy stuff. I like the brief instrumental section 2 1/2 minutes in. Not a bad start.

"Rolling Stone" is a top three for me. Percussion and experimental sounds before a heavier beat and fuller sound takes over. Sax from guest Nik Turner arrives. A full sound after a minute. Vocals just before 2 1/2 minutes followed by the chorus with female vocals. Love the intensity around 8 1/2 minutes. Oh my! Just an insane wall of sound.

"So Falls The world" has this dark atmosphere with sparse piano then vocals and a fuller sound arrive before a minute. The chorus has such a feel good vibe to it. The focus is on the vocals here and this song is one warm and melodic piece. The tempo picks up surprisingly after 4 minutes driven by electronics and drums.

"Southern Gothic" has this experimental intro with odd sounds coming and going. Drums kick in with a full sound. So 80's sounding including the vocals that join in. One of the more commercial sounding tracks on here.

"Angelus Novus" has some beautiful atmosphere to start with spacey synths before the vocals and a more serious sound takes over. This is fairly dark but it does brighten as it plays out.

"Transverberation" has a lightweight intro I'm not into. In fact this is the most commercial sounding tune and there are vocals. It's actually not bad once it gets going.

"1969" is a top three for me. Synths and beats as the vocals join in quoting John chapter one. Female backing vocals help out and there's many references to 1969 including Rosemary's Baby, Helter Skelter, the moon landing, Let It Bleed and more. Great track!

"Coming Home" is my final top three. A spacey intro to say the least before spoken words and powerful sounds start to come and go. Interesting. It starts to pick up after a minute as he begins to sing. He's speaking the lyrics soon enough as it settles back. Electronics take the lead as the vocals step aside before 3 minutes. It picks up again though after 3 1/2 minutes. This is good. Sax joins in too with some innovative sounds. The vocals are back after 7 minutes.

This isn't for everybody clearly but in my opinion this is incredibly well done but it's not without it's flaws. A solid 4 stars regardless.

 Childhood's End - Lost & Found From The Age Of Aquarius by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 68 ratings

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Childhood's End - Lost & Found From The Age Of Aquarius
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The "covers album" tends not to get a good rap, but anyone who knows anything about Ulver would know full well that they'd take an off-beat approach to the idea. Here, they take a leaf from David Bowie's Pin-Ups and give a highly individual spin to a brace of 1960s psych and garage rock deep cuts.

Just as Bowie gave his selection a glam rock spin in keeping with his musical approach at the time, here Ulver recast the songs they select into a distinct mode of their own - a mixture of psych-aligned proto-prog and gothic darkness, like what might happen if the Doors and the Cure got to jamming.

As the cover art implies with its incorporation of one of the most iconic and harrowing images of the Vietnam War, this reinterpretation with the aid of hindsight teases out the darker aspects of the flower power era - a time when the sunniest pop to ever grace the airwaves was churned out even as a war that traumatised a generation and made the whole world question the innocence and good intentions of US foreign policy raged.

The end result is a classic example of how a distinct and original artistic statement can be put together even if it doesn't wholly constitute original material - plus the individual interpretations of the songs are some great goth-psych stuff on top.

 Wars Of The Roses by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 152 ratings

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Wars Of The Roses
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For their Wars of the Roses, Ulver shapeshift once again. It's a bit harder to get a handle on their sound this time around, partly because it's a bit more wide-ranging and experimental, but if you obliged me to have a stab I'd say its their bid at producing melancholic melodic art rock - it's not quite baroque enough to qualify as full-blown prog (or even neo-prog), but it's the sort of thing which wouldn't seem wholly out of place out of an opening act for Marillion or something. The major exception is album closer Stone Angels, a spoken word poem read over an extended ambient musical backing. On balance I'd say that Ulver don't quite have as strong a direction here as they usually do on their projects, which makes it a bit of an oddity in their discography.
 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.80 | 68 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The reincarnation of Depeche Mode and New Order? Great collaborations, and Garm's voice has NEVER been better!

1. "Nemoralia" (4:10) How can you not love this one! "Nero lights up the night (eighteenth nineteenth of July)" and its dedication to Diana Spencer! With an awesome pop hook. Sounds like a YAZ song. By far my favorite song on the album. (9.5/10) 2. "Rolling Stone" (9:26) could be a great New Order or OMD song--even down to the background chorus girls. It not only rocks, it throbs. Great "A Day in the Life" crescendo ending! (9/10)

3. "So Falls the World" (5:57) piano base with awesome synth flourishes throughout. This one sounds very much like an Ulver song. (9/10)

4. "Southern Gothic" (3:40) a little too much like an ABC, PROPAGANDA, THE THE, or YAZ song (though it's so nice to hear!) The vocal sounds like DEPECHE MODE's David GAHAN They've certainly mastered the style! (8.5/10)

5. "Angelus Novus" (4:07) synth washes break for Garm's echoed and, later, doubled voice. At the one minute mark the full musical arrangement joins in. Nice long-held vocal notes. Never becomes the engaging, melodic song you hope for. (7.5/10)

6. "Transverberation" (4:30) more synth and guitar floursishes and riffs á la ABC and other 80s synth bands that I'm not pegging. Nice but could have used a little more shifting and transgressing. The closest we get is the TEARS FOR FEARS/early SIMPLE MINDS/DEPECHE MODE shift at the 3:00 mark. (8/10)

7. "1969" (3:59) more synths, this one more bouncy in a ABC/PSYCHEDELIC FURS/SPANDAU BALLET-like way. I do like the female background vocals used on this one and "Rolling Stone." For 60s buffs, the lyrics are full of 1969 references. See if you can pick them all up! (8/10)

8. "Coming Home" (7:50) interesting MOBY-like vocals with MASSIVE ATTACK/PAUL OAKENFOLD-like music. Out there, experimental; I'm not sure I like it. The second half with its house/rave-like synth beats and solos becomes more engaging. Okay, I like it. It's cool. (9/10)

A solid four stars; an excellent representative of retrospective progressive rock from the bravely chameleonic and unpredictable wolves from the north.

 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.80 | 68 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars You'd think that by this point in their career, after all the twists and turns they've taken us down, the prospect of Ulver trying out a radically different genre from their former work would be utterly unsurprising - I mean, this is the same band which bounced from kvlt black metal to dark folk across their first two albums, after all.

And yet, somehow The Assassination of Julius Caesar manages to be another whiplash-inducing swerve from Ulver, shifting into the realm of honest-to-goodness synthpop. The secret to it, which makes it perhaps my favourite Ulver release ever, is that this is a style of gothy synthpop which feels distinctly Ulver, particularly in terms of their electronic and ambient works of their post-metal era.

After all, Dressed In Black on Blood Inside verged on the electro-gothic, so this isn't an evolution entirely without precedent, and whilst 80s nostalgia synthwave stuff is in vogue at the time, Ulver are able to artfully defy expectations by making the most 80s-tastic cut on here a tribute to 1969. Moreover, just because they've gone synthpop doesn't mean they've gone simplistic with it; there's complex, ornate passages here which reveal hidden depths to their sound, and I'd urge anyone turned off by the synthpop approach to at least give cuts like Rolling Stone or Coming Home a chance before writing off this album out of hand.

Is this what we wanted or expected from the next Ulver album? Almost certainly not, but by this point we'd be fools to expect Ulver to do what we want or expect - better to simply let them do their thing, and celebrate it when that results in creative masterstrokes like this.

 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.80 | 68 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars ''Poor little sister, I hope you understand, the babe in the woods will be taken by a wolf''. And the wolf has spoken. ''Legends fail and houses fall'' but the wolf seems to be changing skin with every new release, like a ''Rolling Stone''. ''In the year of the Lord'' 2017 the wolf has decided to go pop, 80's synth and new-wave. Julius Caesar is assassinated, ''Nero lights up the night'' and ''tragedies repeat themselves in perfect circle'' throughout this sinister lyrical narrative.

Haunted, gothic, electronica, gospel (!) and trip-hop dances around the fire with a dose of 90's Tiamat and Dead Can Dance mashed with 80's Depeche Mode the Sisters of Mercy - nothing ''St. Teresa of Avila'' could do about such an assault of experimentation. This time the wolf abandons instrumentals and decides to sing extensively blending their voice in the hypnotic ambience of the album. Despite the dip in excitement in the last two tracks and the overall simplistic nature of the compositions which affects the lasting impression, Ulver will satisfy their ever-hungry-for-experimentation audience and add another stone to their hall-of-fame tower in progressive music.

Most murderous tunes: Rolling Stone, Angelus Novus, Transverberation

3.5 stars

 ATGCLVLSSCAP by ULVER album cover Live, 2016
3.84 | 37 ratings

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ATGCLVLSSCAP
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. ULVER are a band who can't seem to sit still, they need to change the style of music they play on a regular basis. The title "ATGCLVLSSCAP" is an acronym for all of the astrological signs in order apparently. I didn't know that Daniel O'Sullivan from GUAPO was part of this band. Actually he and ULVER's electronic expert Kristoffer Rygg and SUNN O)))'s Stephan O'Malley have been part of band called AETHENOR for many years. Rygg was quoted as saying this about ULVER performing live, "It took us 15 years to muster the will and want to interact with society, that is to perform live...". So I can just imagine how nervous they all were when they did the series of live shows in Norway that this album was culled from. Nervous because it was sort of an experiment by the band to play these shows by playing improvised music. The music here is dark and features lots of electronics and a fair amount of droning. Experimental is the word and the band I thought of the most when listening to this was SWANS.

"England's Hidden" opens with church bells and this will go on for a long time until joined by sparse sounds before 1 1/2 minutes. These sparse sounds will eventually take over. This sounds like orchestral drones, maybe electronics. It sounds like mellotron after 6 minutes and it sounds amazing! It blends into "Glammer Hammer" where it changes quickly into more of an instrumental "rock" mode with drums, guitar keyboards and more. It calms down before 2 1/2 minutes but then this powerful sound drops like a bomb before 3 minutes. Some great percussion work here as these powerful outbursts come and go until they stay almost to the end. "Moody Stix" is percussion galore not so surprisingly considering the song's title. It's an interesting tune with other intricate sounds that help out, but percussion dominates.

"Cromagnosis" features experimental sounds that build while the guitar and other sounds come and go. This is pretty cool. It turns louder with drums around 2 minutes, man this is good. It's very repetitive but I love this stuff. A change after 6 minutes as it picks up in tempo and becomes catchy. "The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible" because they are spirits? Sorry, couldn't help myself. Sounds echo and there's lots of atmosphere and it's somewhat haunting. An adventerous track that is really out there". Also a great headphone track as most of these are. "Om Hanumate Namah" is also haunting and experimental. It sounds like electronics but it's hard to tell. We start to get a guitar melody over top before 2 minutes then it kicks into gear with drums and more as the guitar continues. Some vocal expressions too. These guys have some really good ideas.

"Desert/ Dawn" is dark with nature sounds like frogs etc. These high pitched sounds come in almost squeaking as a beat follows then experimental sounds as it builds. So good! The organ starts to drone at around 4 1/2 minutes and eventually the droning starts to over-power everything else. It's incredible the way they change things up ever so slightly while keeping the same theme. "D-Day Drone" is exotic and full of atmosphere to start as yes it starts to drone. Suddenly after 5 1/2 minutes it feels like danger is near, a dread is about to fall on us. Then a sampled voice can be heard before 7 minutes and it will continue until after 8 minutes.

"Gold Beach" again has lots of atmosphere that seems to hover and slowly pulse. The organ shines here creating atmosphere. "Nowhere(Sweet Sixteen)" is a re-working of their "Nowhere/ Catastrophe" song from their "Perdition City" album. This is the first true vocal track where the vocals are the focus as we get a beat with electronics. I really like the chorus where he sings slowly with his deep voice "Catastrophe" repeatedly. "Ecclesiastes(A Vernal Catnap)" opens with the atmosphere rolling in as deep spoken words arrive then piano. Another headphone track. The book of Ecclesiastes starts to get quoted in the singing after 3 1/2 minutes. Powerful stuff. "Solaris" ends it but I thought the previous track would have been the perfect closer. Sounds drone and it sounds like strings as well and they do get aggressive or maybe it's just sped up.

If you like your music dark and experimental like SWANS you should really check this out. Man this took a lot of listens before I started to really get into this. Another fantastic album from Norway.

 Kveldssanger by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 96 ratings

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Kveldssanger
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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
3.84 | 37 ratings

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ATGCLVLSSCAP
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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 . . . .

Thanks to tony r for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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