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From the Depths of the Wildnerness - 100%

TimJohns, December 22nd, 2014

Whenever I am listening to such an astounding and distinctive album like "Bergtatt" I cannot help but admire the musically adventurous outlook and the low-key, mellow and beautiful vibes that "Bergtatt" has to offer. Although somewhat well-known and well received and respected in the metal realm, this album has always seemed to stay in the shadows and has become quite an influential masterpiece. Due to the fact that it shows that black metal does not need to be harsh, evil and forceful to make a musical statement. Ulver are among the most innovative and exciting bands within the genre always experimenting, creating new textures of music and have been playing other genres than metal in the past few years. "Bergatt" portrays darkness, loneliness, reflection and the aspects of nature but also shows a lighter side with hope, strength, courage and perseverance. The vocals are absolutely stunning blending the usual but thoroughly done black metal vocals with what appears to be a choir singing in the background.

The title of "Bergtatt" when translated from Norwegian to English also gives indications that the entire album is based on a fairytale and has a mystic and spiritual side to it. Another key element that fascinates me about "Bergtatt" is that the instrumentation always stays subtle and balanced throughout, where each song flows together perfectly and swiftly like the current of a stream. It gives the unique feeling of wandering through a mountain pass, with snow falling from above while witnessing the humbling beauty of nature. "Bergtatt" is also one of those peaceful and relaxing albums that is perfect to listen to on winter days while sitting next to the fireplace and looking outside the window at the snow covered surroundings. The gorgeous and very well played guitar solos are another distinct highlight on this album and leaves traces of influences from vintage and pioneer Scandinavian bands such as Bathory. The way that the instrumentation moves together along with the vocals that add to the overall mood often leaves me in a trance and in awe.

Although the production of "Bergtatt" is not very crisp or bold, I consider it to be actually another positive element to the album because it gives it more of an edge and a slightly dreamy approach. On the same note, "Bergtatt" seems like a lucid interval and feels as though one is actually exploring the mysterious and utterly beautiful land of Norway with everything it has to offer. Strangely enough there are even some influences from progressive rock from the seventies to be slightly heard whether it is the atmosphere of Camel or even the musical flow, progression and mentality to go beyond the regular expectations of a usual black metal band. Overall Bergtatt is definitely the most relaxing and soothing black metal album I have ever heard. It's ability to do more while doing less musically speaking makes "Bergtatt" stand out not because of it's simplicity and minimalism but due to how it's unique approach was able to create an absolute masterful and beautiful work of art. After many listens to this day, "Bergtatt" still leaves me as speechless and mesmerized as the first listen.