ULVER
Non-Metal / 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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USD $845.00 Buy It Now
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STURMGEIST - MEISTER MEPHISTO 2005 1PR SEALED! SOLEFALD DODHEIMSGARD ULVER STURMGEIST - MEISTER MEPHISTO 2005 1PR SEALED! SOLEFALD DODHEIMSGARD ULVER USD $4.99 Buy It Now 6 days
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Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2016)
Century Media 2016
Vinyl$19.20
Kveldssanger (Re-issue 2016)Kveldssanger (Re-issue 2016)
Century Media 2016
Vinyl$19.20
$24.69 (used)
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden (Re-issue 2016)Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden (Re-issue 2016)
Century Media 2016
Vinyl$19.18
Perdition CityPerdition City
Import
MSI:JESTER RECORDINGS 2006
Audio CD$11.31
$13.43 (used)
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And HellThemes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And Hell
Import
Jester Norway 2006
Audio CD$12.67
$9.29 (used)
AtgclvlsscapAtgclvlsscap
Soulfood 2016
Audio CD$10.35
$10.34 (used)
BergtattBergtatt
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Head Not Found N'way 2001
Audio CD$31.02
$33.03 (used)
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Jester Norway 2006
Audio CD$11.31
$8.70 (used)
Blood InsideBlood Inside
The End Records 2005
Audio CD$7.00
$2.79 (used)
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ULVER Discography

ULVER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.02 | 34 ratings
Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
Black Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.85 | 23 ratings
Kveldssanger
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.33 | 21 ratings
Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.34 | 13 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
Avant-garde Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.55 | 6 ratings
Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film
Non-Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.24 | 5 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes
Non-Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 2.99 | 3 ratings
Svidd Neger
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 5 ratings
Blood Inside
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 4.22 | 6 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
Non-Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 6 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
Non-Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 5 ratings
Childhood's End
Non-Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 3.27 | 5 ratings
Messe I.X - VI.X
Non-Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
ATGCLVLSSCAP
Non-Metal 2016

ULVER EPs & splits

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

ULVER live albums

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Roadburn
Non-Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
Non-Metal 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
Non-Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
Non-Metal 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
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 Kveldssanger

Album · 1996 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
ULVER (Norwegian for “Wolves”) showed themselves to be a restless pack quickly wandering into completely new territory, raising their legs, marking it and making it their own. This nomadic seeker of new sounds were already changing things up on their second album KVELDSSANGER (“Twilight Songs”) by completely dropping the black metal aspects on their debut album and went full on dark Nowegian folk with emphasis on acoustic guitar, choral chanting accompanied by flutes, cello and occasional percussion. Technically the second part of the “Black Metal Trilogie,” someone forgot to tell them that the metal parts apparently didn’t make it into the final mix. While the folk music on this album was part of the debut, the absence of metal gives it a much mellower and laid back feel almost feeling like this could be some revivalist Renaissance music of sort.

Vocalist and founder Kristoffer Rygg admits this was an attempt to create a full-on classical piece and wasn’t satisfied with the outcome but for what technical prowess this album doesn’t exhibit, it more than makes up for it in atmospheric and meditative passages that find the vocal styles in perfect harmony with the classical acoustic guitar riffs and accompanying instruments. In fact, it sounds as if it was created by monks in a far away monastery evoking the sacred sounds of an era long passed with only the subtle orchestrations giving it away that it is a product of the modern era.

While the distortion of metal is nowhere to be found here, this classical imbued folk music still resinates on the darker side of things as if it is indeed the soundtrack for a pack of hungry wolves undercover of the night stalking their next victims deep in the forest under the full moon in the frigid Scandinavian winter. ULVER would once again enter black metal territory to finish out the trilogy but it should have been an obvious prognostication that this band had a hard time settling in one musical genre when after all didn’t even put the black metal in the middle chapter of the “Black Metal Trilogie.”

ULVER Shadows Of The Sun

Album · 2007 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
The album cover for Shadows of the Sun might have come from a picture in Natural History Magazine, but I can't think of a more fitting image to represent such a melancholic piece of art. Since abandoning their black metal roots, Ulver have created a great deal of forward-thinking electronic and ambient music that completely contradicts the first phase of their career (sans Kveldssenger) by abandoning metal altogether. However, one thing has never changed: Ulver's music is fucking dark. No matter what genre they attempt with each passing release, the bleak atmosphere of their work is always something that sticks out, much like Agalloch or Corrupted. However, Shadows of the Sun managed to go the extra mile, particularly by stripping down their sound from the bombast and general loudness that pervaded much of Blood Inside. In fact, this was the first record by the band since Kveldssenger to be so low-key and somber... and it worked beautifully.

One of Ulver's greatest strengths is that they truly know how to create a musical setting and mood, and Shadows of the Sun may be the best example of this. A bevy of instruments come together to enhance the album's variety, such as a trumpet, theremin, cellos, violins/violas, and various guitars; however, it all comes together with the powerful vocals of frontman Garm. It's hard to believe that this guy once performed primarily with black metal shrieks (mainly with Nattens Madrigal), because his somber vocal work here is simply incredible to experience. The way his performances lift songs such as the title track and the Black Sabbath cover "Solitude" is worth the price of admission alone, but the highlights of his vocals come with the layered harmonies he brings to certain tracks. "Eos," which is already a superb song because of its subtle variation and use of minimalism, features some of the best vocal harmonies in modern music. Garm said he was influenced by the harmonies of The Beach Boys for much of his singing on the record, and it's interesting to hear him create such dark soundscapes from the aspects of an often cheery band.

Beyond this, what I love about Shadows of the Sun is how scaled back everything is. It seems as though the members were incredibly selective about the instruments used here, especially regarding the limited percussion. In fact, songs such as "Eos" and "Like Music" have no drumming or electronic beats whatsoever; they are only propelled by piano, strings, synthesizers, and such. The songs that do have percussion, like the title track and especially "All the Love," create busy drum work around repetitive and droning rhythms to convey a lot of variety beneath the soft dynamics. The entire record truly feels like a cohesive experience, but the clean and warm production ensures that the album is best heard through headphones; in fact, despite how bleak and depressing the whole thing is, the music is surprisingly warm and comforting at the same time. Perhaps it's because of Garm's soothing vocal melodies or the uniquely tangible tone of the piano, but I feel as though the production is still the biggest reason. Every instrument feels as though it's enveloping you in each distinct atmosphere, and there's almost a vintage ambience to it all. In the end, however, what cements Shadows of the Sun as one of Ulver's best albums is its consistency. The record knows what it is at all times; there aren't many surprises or weird frills, but for a record this dark and low-key, I'd say that's a good thing. The atmosphere is consistent, the ambient instrumentation is consistent, the vocal work is consistent, and yet every track has something different to offer. Want a more instrumentally-involved piece with percussion (albeit slow percussion)? "All the Love" and the title track. Want something more droning and minimalist? "Eos" and "Funebre." Want a lot more piano work? "Like Music," "Vigil," and "Solitude." When you get down to it, Shadows of the Sun is just an amazing piece of work. It's emotional, unique, beautiful, and well-composed. If you enjoy quiet and somber music, you owe it to yourself to buy this. Now.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

ULVER Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden

Album · 1997 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
Rarely has album artwork evoked as much appropriate imagery as the wolf-adorned picture accompanying Ulver's Nattens Madrigal does. Alone and presumably howling to the moon that lies in the background, the wolf provides ample insight to the dark and bleak nature of what its album contains in songwriting and lyricism... and indeed this experience is bleak. Vocalist Garm has stated that Nattens Madrigal was intended as a backlash to all of the record labels that tried to bring black metal to a wider audience and polish it, which Ulver perceived as effectively ending the genre in terms of aesthetics and purpose. So, seeing as Ulver were a black metal (and folk) band up to this point, everybody was expecting another album like the intense-yet-accessible Bergtatt. And what did we all get instead? One of the most distorted and raw black metal albums ever recorded and released.

Seriously, let that sink in for a moment. In a genre like black metal, which prides itself on being "kvlt" and having horrible production values in the name of underground metal, THIS is one of the most underproduced and raw albums in the entire genre. Right off the bat, you can imagine that it isn't for the faint of heart and certainly not built for any mainstream appeal... but that's the whole point and the charm of this experience. The guitars rip through the ears like buzz saws, the vocals are uncompromisingly piercing shrieks, the drumming is thin and nimble, and the bass is virtually nonexistent; then we get the songwriting, which is simultaneously repetitive and hypnotic. There's only one real moment that gives listeners room for breathing, which is a gorgeous acoustic folk portion in "Hymn I." Aside from that, save for a few ambient outros, the whole album is a giant onslaught of shrieks and buzzing guitars. So what makes this record so appealing despite these elements? Well, for one, the guitar playing is still very beautiful despite the distortion. You get these very soothing melodies, half of which sound like they could have come from a folk record, and the harmonies Håvard and Torbjørn pull off are both melancholic and mesmerizing. Also, Nattens Madrigal features Garm's harsh vocals at their absolute best. There may not be any clean singing present anywhere, but his shrieks are instrumental in giving this record its chillingly cold atmosphere. It actually reminds me a lot of what Dani Filth's vocals bring to Cradle of Filth's Dusk... and Her Embrace; you can almost touch the depressive and haunting scenery the howling and screeching conjures up.

While it may not seem incredibly apparent at first, there's actually a lot of variety in Nattens Madrigal as well. Despite the overall looming darkness of the album, some songs actually feature the occasional moment of hope and peace. "Hymn VI" begins with a very beautiful guitar melody that highly contrasts many of the other songs by being in a major key for once, while much of "Hymn VII" carries a lighter tone to it. There are also some songs that have a more brutal sound to them despite the thin production, such as thicker and lower tremolo-picked riffing of fan favorite "Hymn III" and the extremely jarring and noisy introduction of "Hymn I," which could prove to be a huge shock to fans of more mainstream metal upon first listen. Also, there's one more thing that adds to this album's atmosphere and sound: the lyrics. It was a pretty wise decision to make the entire album in old Dano-Norwegian language, which only adds to the record's mystique and intrigue. When translated (to the best of people's abilities, at least), the lyrics fit the music perfectly with imagery of wolves, the darker aspects of man, and the overall night-related imagery you'd imagine with an album that sounds like this. From what I can gather, the concept of the record is that of a man who becomes a wolf by succumbing to the evil in and around him. The lyrics really make for some good reading on their own, and are immeasurably effective on Nattens Madrigal.

The whole experience is just sublime. The mixture of brutality, beauty, songwriting quality, lyrical mastery, and everything else is almost enough to make one cry at how perfect it is. But in the end, that's only for the ones who can really handle the rawness of this album and be dedicated enough to delve deeper into what lies beneath the intensity. It's obviously not for everyone and many will be turned off by the vocals and production (even certain black metal fans), but for those who stick with it, Nattens Madrigal provides amazing songwriting and an unmistakable vibe that make it one of the most rewarding metal albums of all time. It's cold, bleak, draining, emotional, hypnotic, and dripping with atmosphere with every song. This is the essence of black metal.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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.

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