ULVER

Non-Metal / Black Metal / Avant-garde Metal / Atmospheric Black Metal • Norway
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Ulver (Norwegian for “wolves”) is a multi-disciplinary musical quartet from Oslo, Norway and now, London, England. The band was formed by Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg in 1993, and their current members are Rygg (vocal, programming), Jørn H. Sværen (misc.), Tore Ylwizaker (programming, piano) and latest member Daniel O'Sullivan (guitar, piano, various). Since their first folk metal/black metal release in 1993, Ulver’s style has ever been changing by combining elements of experimental, electronic and ambient music, avant-garde, rock, trip-hop, and their own genre-defying innovations.

"Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler" is a folk-themed black metal album. The title Bergtatt literally translates as “mountain-taken”, but is more commonly used to describe someone who is stricken with awe. In Norwegian folk tales the word refers to people who wander off into mountains, lured by trolls or other mythical beings. The narrative of the album’s lyrics follows a woman as she becomes so
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The Assassination Of Julius CaesarThe Assassination Of Julius Caesar
House of Mythology 2018
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Shadows of the SunShadows of the Sun
Jester Norway 2007
$16.52
$8.23 (used)
Shadows of the SunShadows of the Sun
House of Mythology 2018
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BergtattBergtatt
Head Not Found N'Way 2001
$9.66
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Blood InsideBlood Inside
The End Records 2005
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KveldssangerKveldssanger
Head Not Found 2001
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Sic Transit Gloria MundiSic Transit Gloria Mundi
EP
House of Mythology 2018
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AtgclvlsscapAtgclvlsscap
Soulfood 2016
$31.97
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Childhood's EndChildhood's End
KSCOPE 2017
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Norwegian National OperaNorwegian National Opera
KSCOPE 2017
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ULVER Discography

ULVER albums / top albums

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler album cover 4.36 | 40 ratings
Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
Atmospheric Black Metal 1995
ULVER Kveldssanger album cover 3.70 | 26 ratings
Kveldssanger
Non-Metal 1996
ULVER Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden album cover 3.74 | 26 ratings
Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Black Metal 1997
ULVER Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell album cover 3.31 | 14 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
Avant-garde Metal 1998
ULVER Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film album cover 3.94 | 7 ratings
Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film
Non-Metal 2000
ULVER Lyckantropen Themes album cover 3.73 | 6 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes
Non-Metal 2002
ULVER Svidd Neger album cover 3.73 | 4 ratings
Svidd Neger
Non-Metal 2003
ULVER Blood Inside album cover 4.07 | 6 ratings
Blood Inside
Non-Metal 2005
ULVER Shadows Of The Sun album cover 4.14 | 9 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
Non-Metal 2007
ULVER Wars Of The Roses album cover 3.41 | 8 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
Non-Metal 2011
ULVER Childhood's End album cover 4.53 | 6 ratings
Childhood's End
Non-Metal 2012
ULVER Messe I.X - VI.X album cover 4.17 | 6 ratings
Messe I.X - VI.X
Non-Metal 2013
ULVER Terrestrials (with Sunn O)))) album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Terrestrials (with Sunn O))))
Non-Metal 2014
ULVER Riverhead album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Riverhead
Non-Metal 2016
ULVER ATGCLVLSSCAP album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
ATGCLVLSSCAP
Non-Metal 2016
ULVER The Assassination Of Julius Caesar album cover 4.67 | 3 ratings
The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Non-Metal 2017

ULVER EPs & splits

ULVER Mysticum / Ulver album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Mysticum / Ulver
Black Metal 1994
ULVER Metamorphosis album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Metamorphosis
Non-Metal 1999
ULVER Silencing The Singing album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Silencing The Singing
Non-Metal 2001
ULVER Silence Teaches You How To Sing album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Silence Teaches You How To Sing
Non-Metal 2001
ULVER A Quick Fix Of Melancholy album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
A Quick Fix Of Melancholy
Non-Metal 2003
ULVER Roadburn EP album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Roadburn EP
Non-Metal 2012
ULVER Sic Transit Gloria Mundi album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
Non-Metal 2017

ULVER live albums

ULVER Live At Roadburn album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Roadburn
Non-Metal 2013
ULVER The Norwegian National Opera album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
Non-Metal 2013

ULVER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ULVER Vargnatt album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Vargnatt
Black Metal 1993
ULVER Rehearsal 1993 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Rehearsal 1993
Black Metal 1993

ULVER re-issues & compilations

ULVER The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
Black Metal 1997
ULVER Teachings In Silence album cover 3.96 | 3 ratings
Teachings In Silence
Non-Metal 2002
ULVER 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
Non-Metal 2003
ULVER Oddities And Rarities #1 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
Non-Metal 2012
ULVER Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997
Black Metal 2014

ULVER singles (1)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
February MMX
Non-Metal 2011

ULVER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
Non-Metal 2012

ULVER Reviews

ULVER Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden

Album · 1997 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
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 fuck 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.

ULVER Childhood's End

Album · 2012 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
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.

ULVER Wars Of The Roses

Album · 2011 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
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.

ULVER The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
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.

ULVER Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden

Album · 1997 · Black Metal
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Ulver, The Trilogie Part III: Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden (1997)

By the time of their third album Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden Norwegian band Ulver had already covered two different forms of music. On Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler (1995) they played atmospheric black metal and on Kveldssanger (1996) they played dark folk. With Nattens Madrigal the band returned to black metal for what would ultimately be the final time, but produced something completely different to Bergtatt.

I guess you have to hand the award for diversity to Ulver given the number of genres they've covered in their career, but in terms of black metal the difference between Bergtatt and Nattens Madrigal isn't something I think can really be applauded. You've heard of progressive metal, well this must be what regressive metal would sound like in theory. On Bergtatt you have an album that can be considered groundbreaking within the black metal genre. But on Nattens Madrigal you instead have something that for the most part exemplifies all the things that the genre's detractors just love to hate: very lo-fi guitars with little variance in song-writing. The kind of stuff, the traditional black metal sound as it were, that even though I personally understand and like it to a degree always seems to be the source for all black metal to get a bad reputation.

The last paragraph probably comes over as excessively harsh because in context and based on its own merits for what it is I do actually find Nattens Madrigal to be a pretty solid example of this style, but it all feels like one big step backwards from where they started with Bergtatt. It's like it was an album the band just needed to get out of their system before they went off to explore other musical genres, or something. The best track in my view is the last one VIII: Of Wolf and the Night, as it seems that behind the fuzz of the raw guitars there are more ideas going on that suggest that the creative band who made Bergtatt are still in there somewhere.

Decent for what it is, but disappointing too since they proved themselves to be much better than this sort of thing on their very first album, Nattens Madrigal is one of those albums that I have a love/hate relationship with. The fans of the traditional raw and cold Norwegian black metal sound will likely love it though. I'll rate it based on its own merits as is fair, but most of time when I want to listen to some Ulver it'll be Bergtatt I'll be returning to.

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