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The Legacy Begins - 90%

Jiri777, August 30th, 2008

Ulver has been, and will always be a very unpredictable band. No one knows what to expect each time they release a new album. “How will they change from the last album?” “What will Garm sound like this time around?” Well, all the way back in 1993 they had the same attitude of shocking the people. The legacy started with this unorthodox demo called, “Vargnatt.”

The music is still black metal, but it has some peculiar twists throughout. The standard black metal elements are in the distorted guitars, and blastbeating drums.

Haavard has always been one of my favorite guitarists, and he plays the distorted guitar on this demo very well. Sometimes, the distortion is so bad, that it goes right through you. Other times it sounds really good. An unorthodox element exists within the guitar as well. That is the use of acoustic guitars. “Trollskogen” is a perfect example of this. It is a beautiful instrumental with all acoustic guitars. Very rare to find acoustic guitars used in black metal back in 1993. It is also really professional sounding, especially for a sixteen year-old kid.

Drums are pretty standard of the genre. No unorthodox elements here. It’s just blastbeats and slowing down to keep the beat. On this release, the drummer does not stand out, like he does on “Bergtatt,” and “Nattens Madrigal.”

Garm’s vocals on this release are very weird. They are mostly blackened screams, but done in a very weird way. It’s hard to describe. It is a kind of melodic nasal scream, kind of like Shagrath, but not as stupid. There are also really weird sung vocals in most of the songs. These are limited to a line per song or so. Then there is the weirdest, yet best part of this demo. That is Garm’s singing in the song, “Nattens Madrigal.” The song starts out the same as all the other songs on the demo, but with two minutes remaining it takes an awkward turn. I remember listening to it for the first time, and when he started to sing like this, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sings in a higher operatic baritone voice that almost sounds like a woman. It is very angelic, and enchanting beyond words.

So if you like Ulver’s black metal period, this is an excellent edition for your collection. It features all new songs (nothing from here was rerecorded for Bergtatt) and if you are a fan of Garm’s singing, then you should definitely pick this up.