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After a highly-appreciated folk black metal album in ‘Bergtatt’, Ulver show their ‘softer’ side and follow up their previous release with an album that is devoid of both harsh vocals and guitar distortion. A band making the transition from folk black metal to folk from one single release would have been unexpected when ‘Kveldssanger’ first came out. Nowadays, Ulver fans know that radical genre-switching and experimentation has become a very common occurrence in their music.
The mesmerising tranquil atmosphere is created through some smooth acoustic guitar work, assisted with Garm’s emotive Norwegian chants. Garm’s vocal performance is stunning and the greatness of his vocals is highlighted in the ‘a cappella’ pieces (namely ‘A Capella (Sielens Sang)’ and ‘Ord’). AiwarikiaR is used sparingly in this album, playing the flute few times on the album and supplying the drum work for short intervals of only one song, Ulvsblakk.
All 13 of the songs on this album are very short, with 10 songs falling short of the 3 minute mark and only one longer than 4 minutes. The length of the songs and the album itself emphasises the fact that this album must be listened to as a whole musical piece and not randomly through mp3.
‘Kveldssanger’ is by no means a mandatory album to purchase, but anyone who appreciates acoustic interludes in songs (such as Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, Woods of Ypres and earlier Satyricon material), or folk bands such as October Falls, should enjoy the album. Folk-era Empyrium fans will also love this full length release as it displays the true greatness of dark, yet uplifting, atmospheric folk music. Open-mindedness is required!