I usually tend to draw away from intentionally under-produced, low quality, hissing, growling kind of "trve kvlt" black metal, mostly because of the ridiculous simplicity of the sub-genre: the drum-beats are simple, the only thing the guitarists have going for them is playing speed, bass is sometimes inaudible and the singers don't even sing. In short, if it's something I could have made in 2008, when my musicianship was horribly lacking, its not a skillful genre of music, and therefore not worth my time.
Therefore, it may seem that I would have just ignored all of Ulver
's older music as being nothing more than formula-following, two-bit mindless black metal. However, after reading some reviews on this album, Kveldssanger
, I dared to try it out and see if it really was just a sound-alike to Bergtatt
. Luckily for me, I was pleasantly surprised.
is known for pushing the boundaries of music in every way. They are perhaps one of the most unique bands to come out of Norway
in a long time. Therefore, don't let the "old school" black metal cover of this album fool you: it is anything but black metal...anything but metal, or even rock.
It is beauty. Having grown up with classical music, I have a deep appreciation for the genre that has, all at once, been as baroque, risque and outlawed as metal, as timeless as rock'n'roll and R&B, and even as appealing as some of today's contemporary hits. When any band, regardless of country, philosophy or genre affiliation, merges with classical music of any kind, whether the grandiose, epic orchestra or even the simple yet moving sounds of a classically-played acoustic guitar, I would have to say to Kerry King
that it is NOT musical masturbation...it is genius.
is what we find here in Ulver
's second album. Vocals are sparse, but when they do appear, they are chanting solemn lyrics in the Scandinavian tongue, showing the depth of Garm's versatile singing...or should I say, chanting capabilities? The guitars are played very well, and the string and wood-winds give the album that dark feel that ties it into the dark atmosphere of Norway
's black metal scene.
Does the album stand out? It does stand out...of a sea of black metal mediocrity, to show that this band was willing to push the envelope and dare try something different. Though the whole album is amazing, if I had to pick one song out that stood out, it would be "Kledt I Nattens Farger." The guitars, atmospherics and strings set up a naturalistic, dark atmosphere, and then Garm comes in with the chanting (and whispered growls), that reminds one of the true epic-ness of Norway
and the potential these bands have to raise the roof, even with the gossamer plucking of an acoustic guitar.
At the end of the day, this album is not metal: it is neo-classical. But it is proof that you don't have to be metal to kick ass...or even major ass, as we have seen in the great career of Garm, the true Norwegian Wolf
(you-know-who of Burzum
might be "hardcore" and everything with his attention-getting acts of criminality, but Garm is recognized for his musical skill and talent even outside of metal...can we say Spellemannprisen?). Wherever his hand has been seen - Arcturus
and so forth - such bands thrive. So I am pleased to give this album 20 of 20 and suggest it to everyone, even those who do not like metal at all: it will blow your mind away.