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Rawness: the order of the day - 97%

Virella, December 9th, 2004

Now, this album has been turned down by many people, some say it’s because of the production, that it’s too raw, the sound of the instruments don’t sound good at all, that the guitar sounds higher than the vocals. The other reason I’ve heard is that just too generic. It’s true, it’s generic as Hell, but you have to listen closely to the songs because there is a lot of melody thanks to the guitars. So you can say that “the guitars do the talking” on this album. I know the drumming sounds almost the same on a lot of songs, but Ulver wanted to make a Raw Black Metal album at the time, pure Black Metal album, and that’s exactly what we got. At least we didn’t get another Darkthrone clone.

At the time this was released there weren’t many albums like this, just listen to the melodies on some of the songs, like “Hymn VI: Wolf & Passion”, the melodies on this song sound very romantic, I know that seemed corny, but it’s true, it’s beautiful! And it’s still a Black Metal song, with all its darkness and brutality. In the first song “Hymn I: Wolf & Fear”, a little after it starts Ulver just stop the noise and go into an acoustic solo, and soon after return with the infernal sound. Little things like show you that this band was taking a step ahead in the right direction very early, so to those who say that Ulver didn’t experiment until “Themes from William Blake’s…” boo to you, cause this here proves that they were experimenting way before that album, even in their demo “Vargnatt”, Ulver used acoustics and melody, the same things a lot of BM bands at the time were ignoring. Each song has a different punch to it, a different melody which carries the song through with brutality, intensity and melody (I know I’ve been saying this word too much) at the same time!

The guitars are full of intensity all the time, the drums are just pure fricking insane, how the hell can that drummer keep up that beat for that amount of time?! Ohh, and how can I forget about the vocals!! Garm does an amazing job at them!! No wonder every Ulver fan (including me) wants him to return to his roots! His screams are full of anger and hate, the right recipes for a BM vocalist. I guess Ulver wanted to go out with a bang before stepping out of the Black Metal genre and off exploring others, well, they did it, and it’s on of the best BM albums of all time, at least in my book. I just hope that someday Garm will return to some kind of metal genre (of course, I would like it to be Black Metal, but hey, what can you do, just prey) because we really do need some originality back in, and it wouldn’t hurt to hear Garm screams again.