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Ulver - Vargnatt CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

2.06 | 21 ratings

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2 stars 'Vargnatt' is Ulver's 6-song demo recording, recorded in 1993 during the Norwegian black metal explosion. The demo was released originally with only 200 copies, but has later been remastered and released in 2003 because of the increased interest in Ulver's music. This demo shows Ulver in their rawness, before they began their exploration into almost every type of progressive music. Even the remaster is not very clean or polished.

What the remaster does do is help brings out some of the interesting sounds that were buried in the terrible original recording. Vocals are dirty, as to be expected, and there are times when vocals are sung in a high pitch, and they sound just plain awful.

The first track 'Her Begynner Mine Arr' is all heavy black metal with a few riffs that wander off on their own that actually show a slight penchant for exploration even in those early days. 'Tragediens Trone' starts out interestingly enough and not quite as loud, but that is soon lost in the wall of black noise that explodes. Again vocals are screechy when they are high and annoyingly bad when there are a few attempts to make things melodic. Other than that, there is a lot of growling.

'Trollskogen' sounds completely out of place on here because it is a beautiful acoustic solo. You can hear echoes of their 2nd album, which while considered black metal, is actually more dark gothic folk. There are a few whispered vocals, but this track is mostly instrumental and quite nice, at least on the remastered version. The original version sounds like a bad demo, which is what it is. 'Ulverytternes Kamp' starts off pensive enough with a full band and a mix of electric and acoustic guitars. This hints at some ingenuity in the beginning minute, but when those dirty vocals come in, the metal also kicks in and any chance of hearing any more ingenuity is lost. Towards the end at least, you hear some Black Sabbath style riffs.

'Nattens Madrigal' is the name of the 5th track, and would later become the name of their 3rd black metal album, which incidentally has become quite critically acclaimed and many have said it helped set the bar for some of the loudest black metal. After an atmospheric beginning, a sharp guitar crashes in and begins the havoc again. The vocals are more subdued this time, buried under the noise that is until the high pitched singing starts again. The track, even though it shares the name with that 3rd album, is still very low quality, making it hard to pick out any nuances, even on the remaster. The last track is the title track 'Vargnatt'. It starts with a decent drum riff, soon interrupted by a loud guitar riff and more bad vocals.

These tracks, if they were recorded better, actually have some saving grace to them in that Ulver could have made another decent early album out of them. Those that love black metal at it's most raw and intense should love the remaster. But, be warned, that this is worse than any of their first 3 albums by quite a ways, but if you yearn for more of Ulver's style of black metal, this may help. As for me, it's not my cup of tea, and I only listen to it on few occasions when I want to take a trip through the dynamic universe of Ulver's albums. That is the only interest they hold for me as I am always more eager to get to their better albums. I am a big Ulver fan, but I don't see any redeeming qualities to this demo which should only be of interest to black metal fans and collectors.

TCat | 2/5 |


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