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Ulver - Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.84 | 125 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This, ladies and gentlemen, is perhaps the greatest left turn in the history of music.

Those familiar with Ulver's discography before their modern era remember an intriguing black metal band, who even then was far from normal. There was the release of Nattens Madrigal, perhaps the quintessential black metal album. But then, what happened between 1996 and 1998? Ulver took a leap of faith, or maybe even suicide as it might have seen at the time for such a band. Abandoning their sound to create a two-disc concept album, one that even brings questions from the title of the album itself, so vastly different from their Norwegian roots.

Ulver transitioned their sound without any noticeable signs of a transition occurring. Gone were the tremelo riffs, the barrage of drums, and the scathing vocals. Replaced was something that perhaps alienated 99% of their fanbase at the time. Programming was introduced. Multiple singers, including female vocals, lended their effect. With the exception of the guitar soloing in 'Voice of the Devil' almost all guitar work is absent. Elements of elctronica and trip-hop were also introduced. Truthfully, you have an almost entirely different band, with an entirely different sound, one that no stranger would recognize as being the same unless you told them so.

The Blake Album has many peculiarities to it. The first disc is where I would reccommend to start, and it is also my favorite. It shares many tendencies with other progressive bands, but in a modern and unique manner. The second is more exploritory and less polished. Their is a heavy amount of ambience, and what may be seen as noise by some. There are some 'rocking' elements, but they are generally few and far between, as it appears the main objective is mood and message.

This album is one of a kind. This is the exploration of a band into new territory, a heroic effort to find something new. This may not be Ulver's best work, but Garm/Trickster G. certainly has captivated many by his vision. The mere guts it took to pull something off like Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell considering the band's history is truly admirable.

OpethGuitarist | 4/5 |


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