ULVER
Metal Related / Black Metal / Avant-garde 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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Shadows of the SunShadows of the Sun
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$8.47
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Madrigal of the Night (Nattens Madrigal)Madrigal of the Night (Nattens Madrigal)
Century Media 1997
Audio CD$7.98
$4.82 (used)
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-97Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-97
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$75.50
Messe I.X - VI.XMesse I.X - VI.X
Kscope 2013
Vinyl$19.17
$35.33 (used)
Childhood's EndChildhood's End
KSCOPE 2012
Audio CD$4.99
$9.93 (used)
BergtattBergtatt
Import
Head Not Found N'way 2001
Audio CD$15.99
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Perdition CityPerdition City
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MSI:JESTER RECORDINGS 2001
Audio CD$11.12
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Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And HellThemes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And Hell
Import
Jester Norway 2001
Audio CD$27.18
$12.99 (used)
KveldssangerKveldssanger
Import
Head Not Found 2001
Audio CD$12.47
$10.99 (used)
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ULVER Discography

ULVER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.02 | 32 ratings
Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
Black Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.76 | 21 ratings
Kveldssanger
Metal Related 1996
.. Album Cover 3.04 | 20 ratings
Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.42 | 12 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
Avant-garde Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.17 | 5 ratings
Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film
Metal Related 2000
.. Album Cover 3.46 | 4 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes
Metal Related 2002
.. Album Cover 2.98 | 2 ratings
Svidd Neger
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Blood Inside
Metal Related 2005
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 5 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
Metal Related 2007
.. Album Cover 3.24 | 5 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
Metal Related 2011
.. Album Cover 3.13 | 4 ratings
Childhood's End
Metal Related 2012
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 4 ratings
Messe I.X - VI.X
Metal Related 2013

ULVER EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Mysticum / Ulver
Black Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Metamorphosis
Metal Related 1999
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Silencing The Singing
Metal Related 2001
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Silence Teaches You How To Sing
Metal Related 2001
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 2 ratings
A Quick Fix Of Melancholy
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Roadburn EP
Metal Related 2012

ULVER live albums

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Roadburn
Metal Related 2013
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
Metal Related 2013

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

.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Vargnatt
Black Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Rehearsal 1993
Black Metal 1993

ULVER boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 2 ratings
Teachings In Silence
Metal Related 2002
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
Metal Related 2012
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997
Black Metal 2014

ULVER singles (1)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
February MMX
Metal Related 2011

ULVER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
Metal Related 2012

ULVER Reviews

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler

Album · 1995 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
ULVER (Norwegian for 'wolves') has become one of the strangest and most eclectic bands in the universe over their two decade span of releasing albums and that uniqueness begins right here on their debut release BERGTATT – ET EEVENTYR I 5 CAPITLER (Spellbound – A Fairy Tale In 5 Chapters). The first thing you hear is a fast drum roll and then kicks in black metal riffing but what really grabs your attention is the Gregorian chant vocals that accompany it. Eventually the clean vocals give way to the expected raspy shrieks and screams more typical of the second wave but the interplay between the two styles is the basis of this entire album which was inspired by Scandinavian folktales. What's really going on here is two distinct styles of the album taking place. One is in an aggressive black metal style and the other is in an acoustic folk style with the monk-like chanting. These two styles usually trade off with each other but often they coincide with one taking the lead role at any given moment.

The album is actually considered part of the “Black Metal Trilogy”even though the second album lacks the metal part of the equation. In addition to the fusion of styles, ULVER set themselves apart from other black metal bands of the day by focusing their lyrics around myths and fantastical worlds instead of anti-Christianity, national pride or other hateful themes. The folk sections consist of beautiful classical acoustic guitar, cello and flute. The black metal parts pack in all the aggressive fury one would hope for but what really works is how well it is all mixed together and all the trading off of sounds is perfect. Before you know it the album goes by way too fast. A very unique album that obviously influenced later acts such as Agalloch and Deathspell Omega. Despite being lumped into the black metal universe it is clear from one listen to this beautiful beast that ULVER were on their own trajectory and it's one that i'm glad I have finally latched on to.

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler

Album · 1995 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Primeval Scum
YOU. Stop scrolling down the page. Yes, you. You should listen to Bergtatt. It's not your standard black metal, I promise. It's my second-favorite black metal album. Everything about it is perfect, from the vocals to the musicianship to the song arrangements. Ulver smashed the standards set by the black metal bands before them and created their own, one that no one since has exceeded. It's beautifully atmospheric and seamlessly integrated with acoustic and Scandinavian folk sounds. It has quite the celestial, ethereal atmosphere. Garm's vocals are amazing, how he switches between his angelic chanted clean vocals and otherworldy shrieks.

I Troldskog Faren Vild is an absolute black metal classic. It is the standout song on the album. The extended guitar solo at the end is one of the most spine-chilling moments in all of metal. "Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need" and "Graablick Blev Hun Vaer" are almost equally good. The clean vocals are surprisingly PERFECT for the music and I absolutely love the abrupt dynamic changes showcased on these first three tracks. This is truly serene yet sinister, enchanting music. It cannot get much better. I especially love the folk sections Garm adds, like the beginning of Capitel III, most of Capitel IV, and the end of Capitel V.

Oh gosh, I'm going on and on like a fanboy. Oops. I'll just let you listen to it for yourself.

ULVER Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler

Album · 1995 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Bergtatt' - Ulver (9/10)

To me, Ulver are one of the all-time most intriguing bands. It would be difficult for me to name another band who is so versatile, and manages to produce masterpieces that vary wildly. Released when frontman Krystoffer Rygg was still in his teens, 'Bergtatt' is considered to be a classic opus of the then-relatively young style of black metal. Ulver have since gone down a path of avant-garde ambient music that now has little to do with metal or even rock, but 'Bergtatt' is enough to plant the band as an essential of black metal. Years before Agalloch or Drudkh made their mark, Ulver laid down the foundation for this arboreal sound in atmospheric black metal. Taking the ambiance of Burzum and taking it two steps further, 'Bergtatt' is as relevant today as it was in 1994.

Many modern metalheads may draw comparisons to Agalloch when listening to 'Bergtatt.' It should be appreciated, however, that Ulver crafted this sound first. The black metal mold had been forged over the decade prior,and Ulver furnishes it with lavish arboreal folk instrumentation, melodic riffs, and even clean vocals; something that was often looked down upon in black metal. 'Bergtatt' was indeed ahead of its time, although nothing on the album feels contrived or forced to sound 'progressive' in the commonly used sense of the word. Split into five chapters, 'Bergtatt' is not afraid to incorporate acoustic guitars as a primary element in the sound. Many bands dabbled with mellower dimensions, but they often were used merely to break up the intense black metal, as opposed to, you know, complimenting the musical experience directly. Of course, no masterpiece would be complete without masterful composition, and this is something that sees no shortage in 'Bergtatt'. Ulver hit a sweet spot that balances harshness and warmth, black metal and folk, melodic sensibilities and melancholic aggression. To mention that Ulver were in their teens when 'Bergatt' was produced only makes the feat more admirable.

Potentially the only time when I could be convinced that 'Bergtatt' is not perfect is with the more puritanical black metal elements here. Like the rest of the album, they are performed with passionate intensity and a sense of purpose, but in the midst of some of the most beautiful acoustic guitars ever heard in metal, and a wonderfully arboreal sense of melody in the cleaner moments, the times when Ulver goes full-force with the blastbeats and dark energy feels underwhelming by comparison.That's not nearly enough to keep me from calling 'Bergtatt' a masterpiece, however. It is essential listening for anyone even remotely interested in black metal; it is rivaled only by Mayhem's 'De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas' as the most glorious classic of black metal.

ULVER Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

Album · 1998 · Avant-garde Metal
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Warthur
When some bands move away from the genres they are mainly know for, the transition is gradual, and occurs over the process of several albums. Not so for Ulver, whose break from black metal was sudden and absolutely complete; from this album onwards, they would never look back.

Here, their music havers mainly in a post-rock sort of space, with occasional forays into trip-hop and just enough outbursts of industrial metal guitar to establish that whilst black metal was off the table, metal itself was still part of the palette. Over these instrumentals various vocalists recite portions from the poetry of William Blake. To my ears, it's a rather disjointed affair, with the metal and trip-hop and post-rock sections sat next to each other without sufficient connecting tissue to really make them feel like part of the same composition, and the end result is a bit of a jumble. This might have been OK as a 40 minute album but as a double album it begins to lose my attention.

ULVER Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden

Album · 1997 · Black Metal
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Warthur
The ambient transitions between songs and the acoustic break in the middle of the opening track prove that Ulver hadn't completely lost all ability to handle a recording studio for Nattens Madrigal - the absolutely dire sound quality on the black metal which takes up the bulk of this piece is 100% on purpose. On this album, Ulver take the lo-fi aesthetic which in moderation can add an interesting aesthetic effect to black metal and takes it to a ludicrous extreme, more so even than the likes of Burzum or Darkthrone who infamously went out of their way to reduce the sound quality of their albums in order to attain the atmosphere they wanted. The end result is an album which, if you aren't in the right mood for it, is an outright chore to listen to.

And yet...

There's a strange transformation which comes over the music when the sound quality is this bad. The instruments - particularly some of the higher-pitched guitar solos - often cease to sound like conventional rock band instruments at all and become more reminiscent of out-of-control industrial machinery or shrieking electronics. The vocals from Garm are so full of anger that they often sound as though he is fighting to get them out, like if he didn't give his all he would be completely lost in the mix. The rhythms and repetitive patterns which make themselves apparent in the music are powerful and hypnotic, and save the piece from being mere noise for noise's sake like, say, Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. And the ambient interludes between songs provide a brief and haunting counterpoint to the full-on ugliness on show here. And the songs are in fact much more varied than they have been made out to be - the intro to Of Wolf and Passion suggests a sort of romantic power black metal, which is a combination I'd never thought I'd here.

After this, Ulver would turn away from black metal for good, but this last album is a challenging but I feel unique aesthetic contribution to the genre, and is certainly the best example I can think of of an album where a deliberate lo-fi recording style leads to a distinctive and individual aesthetic which simply could never have been captured in any other way - an aesthetic which is perfect for the album's concept, the saga of a man turned into a werewolf and who eventually embraces the wolf within him due to the misdeeds and cruelty of humanity. Ulver would leave black metal behind after this release to explore other musical avenues, but to those who have already sampled and enjoyed Ulver's work - particularly Bergtatt, their debut - I recommend it as perhaps one of the most intriguing experiments in extreme metal. That said, you'd be well-advised to manage your expectations accordingly; if you simply don't like lo-fi black metal you're not going to enjoy yourself here.

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