ULVER — Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (review)

ULVER — Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler album cover Album · 1995 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
The Angry Scotsman
One of the more innovative, and influential, albums in metal.

This album must have been quite a surprise in the mid 90's Norwegian Black Metal scene, which was all about grinding and blasting away, shrieking about Satan, and violence both in and outside the scene. While "Bergtatt" does have all the staples of black metal: grim sound, raw guitars, tremolo picking, blast beats, and shrieking vocals... there is much more then that.

These are alternated with slower, more melodic sections, choir like chanting vocals, and acoustic guitar. There is even a fully acoustic song, featuring minimal acoustic guitar and somber vocals. Very haunting song.

The intro song is entirely mid paced, with long chains of double bass, (which I always thought was more hypnotic and melancholic than blast beats) and clean hymn like singing. There is even an ambient guitar solo, an acoustic break and goes out on a folky melody. This song is a great example of black metal can be done well, truly melancholic and moving, bleak but never being over the top or painfully cheesy.

The lyrics deal with Norwegian folklore, the album title meaning "Taken by the Mountains - A Tale in 5 Chapters" influenced by the legend that people were lured into in the mountains by trolls, presumably to be lost forever, "taken" by the mountains. Nice touch having the album read like a story, with the songs being "chapters".

This album is what most black metal claims to be: hypnotic, melancholic, bleak and does so without diving into borderline camp and self parody. The contrasting music styles of folk and black metal keep the album interesting, and makes the extreme parts feel even more extreme instead of boring and unrelenting. The acoustic guitars, folklore/mythological lyrics, hymn like singing, and emphasis on melody mixed with grim black metal gives this album a unique feel, and was a great influence on folk metal and any black metal band that incorporated folky and progressive elements.

Even back in 1995, Garm was out to show he was not your typical musician. Great album.

Four Stars
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