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What is This Awesomeness? - 99%

__Ziltoid__, February 1st, 2011

Well this album is a doozy. For the second straight week, I’ve chosen to stray away from my beloved death metal to bring you something different from my norm. This week, I’m writing about an Ulver album, which could mean literally anything from raw black metal to trip hop with a saxophone. However, I’m still unable to pinpoint what label to use for Ulver’s 2005 album, Blood Inside, which just happens to be one of my personal favorite albums of all time.

This can only be defined as an ethereal experience. That is what I’ve been able to conclude after listening to this album for such a long time. Blood Inside starts off with the methodically plodding, yet ever-ascending opening track in ‘Dressed in Black,’ which reaches its apex not only with continuously accelerating cymbal hits, but downright loony sounds that just leave a feeling of “what the fuck” in your mind. Don’t worry, though, it’s the good kind of “what the fuck.” All of the sheer unorthodoxy and absurdity of everything just become so much more perplexing when you realize that all of it works perfectly together. This is an album that takes any other preconceived notions of music and throws them out the window in the most creative of fashions.

Of course, creativity is at it’s best with constraints. If anything, creativity is pointless without a premise to work within the confines of, because otherwise, it’s just randomness for randomness’ sake. Ulver utilizes constraints in a very subtle way in that they stick to very simple instrumental arrangements, with very simple drum rhythms, basslines, and guitar parts (although those are scarce on this album). But what Ulver does with these simple layers is combine them in such a unique way to make what seems like a magical journey. That guitar solo on ‘For the Love of God’ is not going to impress anyone technically, but it’s placement and composition in the context of the song makes it mesmerizing, especially in conjunction with the rest of the atmosphere that’s developed by the vast arrays of synthesized noises.

These noises are really the defining musical characteristic of this album. They are the supposed randomness, the quirkiness, and the abstract quality that some people can’t quite seem to grasp. But the role they play here is absolutely crucial in that they define the atmosphere by creating a surreal sound that distinguishes itself from all other forms of music, and by being utilized in the perfect way in the composition, whether it’s by adding a distinctive melody in the background to work as counterpoint to Garm’s luscious vocal performance, or by taking center stage and creating a majestic wall of chaotic oddity that creates a beautiful soundscape in your mind as you listen in, wondering what exactly is going on and why you enjoy it.

Speaking of Garm, he does a phenomenal job here, easily delivering the best vocal performance of his career. He utilizes his vocal abilities to perfect effect by creating soothing vocal melodies while also giving his voice a very rhythmic feel, especially in ‘Christmas’ and ‘The Truth.’ Those two also happen to be my favorite songs on the album.

Each song here has its own distinct identity and significantly contributes to the overall masterpiece that is Blood Inside. This is the kind of album to just sit back and listen to in a dark room and just admire everything that makes it what it is. While some might cry that this is some hipster-fication of Ulver’s legacy, I feel like this is a great step forward for musical progression. Blood Inside takes that leap that music has needed for so long, and I wish that more music of any kind would take inspiration from this album. While this seems to be a relatively well-accepted album in the music community, there is certainly a small sect that hates everything about this. To them, this is just a goofy album of noises. Sadly, they’re missing the big picture.

Written for

Frustrating. - 45%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 18th, 2007

Change in the right direction can be healthy for both a band and it's followers. Ulver have changed on numerous occasions. Playing everything from a seemingly folk inspired black metal, to straight up black metal and even travelling across several genres and finally reaching an electronic inspired form of avant-gardé. I tend to find that drastic changes are usually unwelcome by fans, but a natural progression in a totally different direction than the band had initially started at is perfectly fine. The vast majority of people welcome change and some even ask for it. Blood Inside is one of those cases where fans sit back and consider where it all went horribly wrong. It's a tale of two halves. The first half being excruciating and the second being bearable.

It's not necessarily a bad full-length, but it's just so completely different from the earliest material it's unreal. The only real positive that has come from such a transition is the fact that Garm's, or Trickster G's vocals have gone from strength to strength. It's fairly amusing and quite ironic that Garm's new terrible choice of name matches the horrendous development of this band. Some may argue that as a black metal fan that I am of course opposed to anything outside of the genre, but that's ridiculous. I'm open minded and have even enjoyed some of Ulver's latter material, enter Perdition City and Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell to an extent.

Blood Inside continues with the electronic/ambient journey Ulver are currently on and which seems like a perpetual movement. The unusual assortment of sounds that Ulver create don't compliment Garm's vocals whatsoever. They are in complete contrast and if you have a talented voice at the helm of your band, you should showcase it. Ulver fail to do so and thus lack any real influence. Songs are just random assortments of layers. A failed attempt to be eerie, dark and haunting. The sheer amount of instruments and sounds used is fairly intimidating. It's difficult to pin-point exactly what happens and where. Thus making this one very frustrating listen.

It's even more frustrating considering the fact that the second half of the album is pleasant enough. The Truth, In The Red and Operator are the three highlights which stop this from being a complete disaster beyond imagination. Diverse, innovative and catchy (specifically In The Red). Ulver finally manage to allow Garm to take control of the proceedings by using his multi tonal voice to portray the undoubtedly dark lyrical themes. The contrast between light and dark lyrics is appealing to the senses also, which is always good. The slightly panicky feel to the songs makes them far more enjoyable. It adds a new quality to the music, which was lacking earlier.

A bit hit-or-miss.

Evolution through revolution - 90%

VRR, June 11th, 2007

"For The Record No One Will Understand What It Is About", declares Kris "Trickster G" Rygg in the opening lines of "It Is Not Sound". You can't help but think he has a point. For almost a decade now, Ulver has been confounding its long-suffering (and no doubt exhausted) fan base with a tireless exploration of the outer limits of musical creativity. Since the introduction of Tore Ylwizaker to the line-up for 1998's “Themes From William Blake...” Ulver has displayed characteristics more chimeric than lycanthropic in nature. The works that followed have been a haze of dissonant genre-defiance, contradiction and self-reference. By rights, Ulver should not be.

But they do Be, and they Are, and this latest fragment to fall from the jack-knifed truck that is Ulver's collective conscience is an apt overview of the band's previous decade of activity. It is the construction of music itself that becomes the focus of this album, interlaced flawlessly with asides and hints at parallel themes that range from the biblical to the surgical. This release stacks layers of meaning on top of each other, creating a sonic Babel comprising as many interpretations as there are listeners, and then awaits with joy the moment of its own demolition by a baffled and irate audience. The deceptive production techniques hint at chaos within the tightly structured arrangements. Layers clash and compete for brief moments during transition, before one element gives way, allowing a wholly new Thought to take centre stage.

The over-arching effect of this technique is to create an album of holistic intention - no single track here is a standalone classic; few would make any sense at all if played individually. Unified though, they become something more than the sum of their component parts. Much like Life's "box of chocolates" the value comes from anticipating the approaching unknown. Strangely sentimental pop sequences suddenly fall away into the abyss and settle upon a crunching, pounding mechanical techno beat. Hellish cacophanies of multi-layered dissonance will rise to crescendo before someone hits that mute button and all is gone in a microsecond. The (now trademark) drum & bass rhythm break rattles on in an adjacent room - a segue into a powerful acappella vocal line.

Garm's vocal delivery commands a special place amongst the nightmarish compositions. There is a growing realisation that Rygg is one of the most under-appreciated and technically able vocalists of his generation; the long list of guest spots on other peoples' albums can attest this. That three quarters of the music buying public will never even consider buying an album with his vocal talents on is a defining injustice of modern pop culture. Here, each syllable is thrown out with an unmatched precision of power and inflection. The lyrics themselves are ambiguous conundrums with meanings that shift like desert sands. Subtle stream of consciousness verses become blasphemous innuendo depending on where the listener imagines the punctuation to fall:

"Love God harder from behind the red flames of the dragon with seven heads directing angels to blow the horns going down faster than the light..."

A sense of self-awareness permeates every aspect of this album like a rogue sentient AI on the verge of discovering its own ego. The unusual sterile white CD tray, the wipe-clean lyric sheets (printed on plastic, not paper), and the musical references themselves are at once purposeful and yet almost deliberately "gimmicky". The elaborate solo at the end of "It Is Not Sound" for example, is taken from a Bach composition played on an antiquated synthesiser. However, it is also a reference to Wendy Carlos' "Switched on Bach", the first electronica album ever recorded. Simultaneously, it echoes the score of "A Clockwork Orange" (also composed by Carlos), and introduces a cinematic theme which is revisited in stabbing string loops in later tracks that pay direct tribute to Bernard Hermann's "Psycho" score.

The ability to dissect this album in such a manner is one of its strengths, and the reason for an abundance of layers - the listener is challenged to pick out every possible meaning from the miasmatic whirl of sound. The concept here is to create deliberately orchestrated Found Sounds, though rather than using mundane sounds of city centres, Ulver explores the sonic artefacts that rattle around the collective consciousness of modern popular culture. In this respect the album is as meaningful as it is absurd. It will appeal to post-structuralist music theorists as if it were the final Revelation burnt on plastic. Anyone looking to Ulver for a new metal album though is clearly a decade late.

I'll be DAMN if this doesn't suck - 5%

TheBloodOmen, February 8th, 2007

First of all, let me start by saying that I love Perdition City. Even though it does tend to drag along a bit in certain parts, overall I have no complaints. So, when Ulver decided to drop the black metal and "experiment" I had no problem with that idea. My biggest problem with the concept, though, is I believe the band should have made sure the experimentations work before releasing a product that is going to be sold. I think every good band takes pride in that, and I wonder if they actually listened to this crap themselves before they released it. I say, if you want to experiment, fine and dandy. Experiment all the hell you want, in your living room, friends' houses, basements, a studio.. but if it's a disaster just admit it to yourselves, and start over please.

The one and ONLY reason I gave this junk anything at all by way of a rating is Garm's excellent singing voice. Somehow, despite the horrid vocal effects he chooses to apply on this album, he manages to overcome by simpy being vocally gifted. If this album were worth a damn, I'd probably do a track by track rundown to show you readers what you're getting here. Since this particular record sounds completely the same from beginning to end, I'll simply point out why it sucks harder than any other record listed on metal archives.

Basically, what you're dealing with is 250,000 (I kid you not) unneccessary layers in the so-called music. Yes folks, there is supposedly music in here somewhere though I have yet to personally hear it. Worse than the layers, though, at least I believe it's worse it's so difficult to decide for sure, is the incoherent noise than dominates the majority of the album. This is not musical noise, or noise-oriented music. This, is straight up fucking noise, period. Noise that can be heard on any Godspeed You Black Emperor or Sigur Ros album, so if you're lost on the concept of musicians creating music and you enjoy a bunch of dudes making noise to sell to you then Blood Inside will tickle you pink.

Another prevelant issue with this album is the muddled, crappy, stupid junk sound production that accompanies what is already a sparkling failure. This is not the same Garm (although they are actually the same individual) from the Borknagar debut or early Ulver releases, this is Trickster G. And, Trickster G insists on making "music" that's difficult to comprehend. The problem with his style of complicating the music is...there is no fucking music anymore. I don't personally care if Garm adds his vocals to another black metal track in his life, I don't even like black metal as a rule. What I do care about, is hearing a quality release from Ulver featuring the same smooth grooves that were present on Perdition City and more of Garm's beautifully clean, untampered with vocals.

It would surely be a waste of a great talent if such an album is never again heard. But this here, serves only two viable purposes that I can think of presently. One is, frisbee, if you're into that sort of thing. The other, is if you become enraged with your significant other and feel that you absolutely need to through and break something, give this CD a fling.

Modern Industrial Music - 88%

Bagman, February 8th, 2007

It is not uncommon for black metal bands to experiment into electronic or industrial fields, Tom Warrior started a (bad) industrial band called Apollyon Sun, Samael is now a industrial rock outfit, Emperor used synths since their first album and many of us know the weird and twisted industrial "metal" of Aborym.

Ulver has explored the industrial fields, but in their own way. Instead of taking electronic instruments into their soundscapes, they have changed their songwriting. Since the William Blake album Ulver have been experimenting with many industrial elements, then the releases that folllowed were heavy influecend by avant garde industrial, like that of Coil and maybe with influences from dance industrial ands like Front 242, these releases weren't ambient music, they were compilations of abstract and minimalistic songs, or in some cases something like experimental synth rock.

Blood Inside is more like a mix of all that Ulver has done before , we have shredding guitar, neoclasical passages, programmed and real drums, clean (almost perfect) vocals, synths from space rock and lots of samples. The result is a new hope for the future for industrial music (something really different from the mainstream industrial rock that you listen on empty v).

This album continues with the minimalism direction Perdition City into the first track: Dressed in Black wich is based in a repetitive chord progression played by a synth. The next track is almost the same stuff, but with a guitar solo and real drums (believe it or not, they are using real drums again). After this two songs we have many different things that start progressing, Christmas uses guest drums again, and probably is one of the best tracks of the album, with various solos (one from a guitar again, but with an awesome texture).

The next two songs are pretty good: Blinded by Blood (a deep and emotive ballad) and It is not Sound (a neoclassical electronic piece with half of the song ripped of from the toccatta of Toccata fugue in D minor BMW 565) somebody remarked that this "solo" is "hilariously bad", that only shows how ignorant was the writer of the review as he is insulting one of the better known pieces of baroque music.

I don't like very much In the Red or The Truth, they are fast songs with programmed drums, and are good after all. The violin passage in Your Call is incredible and probably the better part of the album, and the transition between Your Call and Operator it's amazing and you can buy the album for the sole purpose of listening to this event. The album ends with Operator, a metalized industrial track with a memorable shredding solo; it's the most fast and intense track on the album.

In conclusion, the Ulver of the new millenium have created a fine release of progressive industrial music, probably the next album will be more on the path of post-rock and neo-classical music.

Worthless? It not Ulver is. - 94%

bimu, September 24th, 2006

This is a brilliant album.

I admit that when I first heard it, I was quite confused. But not much later it became one of my most frequently played albums and I still listen to it quite often. Let's face it, Ulver is no longer a metal band. For quite a long time now, Ulver has been dabbling in different genres, most of them from outside the metal spectrum. Thus, "Blood Inside" seems hardly even experimental by the band's standards. So, what we can hear is typical Ulver in a way - a mixture of various genres, in tune with the current trends (whether you like them or not) in broadly understood progressive music, which form a new and original whole.

From what I observed, negative reviews of this album point out its failures at experimention with different sounds and samples, its layered nature, pretentiousness, pointlesness, or general lack of artistic value. Now, I don't know how well the reviewers are familiar with the trends in progressive music I mentioned, genres such as post-rock, click electronica or more trippy sub-genres of rock - but this is where textures and the overall nature of "Blood Inside" are rooted. You might say that you don't care for such genres because they haven't anything to do with metal, but neither does Ulver. My point here is that "Blood Inside" is Ulver's own take on what seems to be the current trend in progressive music. It's not, however, a copy of such trends, rather Ulver's interpretation and deconstruction.

Examples? The drums are produced in a very similar fashion to what we can hear on the last two Sigur Rós albums. The reversed bits and vocal harmonies bear resemblance to those on the Gathering's last offerning. The song structures based on noise, static and other non-musical sounds remind me of ideas explored by Mum. The subdued tinkling sounds (vibraphone and the likes) can be found, again, on Sigur Rós albums or in some tracks by Godspeed You! Black Emperor or A Silver Mt. Zion, where you can also find violin parts similar to those on "Blood Inside". And so on and so forth.

So, this is Ulver doing modern progressive music. This is of course neither good or bad in itself, but, at least for me, they do succeed in what they attempt. Yes, the music is very layered, but the melody is never lost, the vocals are very interesting and, while often processed and layered, fit the instruments perfectly. There are some powerflul near-wall-of-sound fragments, particularly towards the beginning and towards the end of the album. It's true that some samples work better that others (e.g. the classical bit from "It Is Not Sound", performed by Keith Emerson, if I am not mistaken, is an example of an idea that the album could do without), but generally they enrich the music and are its integral part. I see quite well why people may not like it, but personally I enjoy songs/albums composed of highly non-musical and noise-like elements that nevertheless manages to be unmistakebly musical.

What else? The repetitive ending of "Dressed in Black" is truly powerful (and very post-rock like in its nature), "The Truth" is beautifully chaotic and dynamic with interesting drum parts and amazing vocals. "Operator" is a perfect album closer. On the other hand, "Christmas" and "Blinded by Blood" are the most boring bits of the album, while "In the Red" ia the highlight: the vibraphone, string samples, drums, vocals, jazz samples and other strange bits blending into a magnificient piece of music.

Also: it is still Ulver, the melodies, the chord progressions, the vocals, etc. are all as recognisable as they ever have been.

Conclusion? (to paraphrase the inlay notes of the album) Ulver is not metal. Ulver is and has always been pretentious. Ulver is creative. Worthless? It not Ulver is.

OK, I was really wrong. - 87%

caspian, August 31st, 2006

I'm sure many people (myself included) don't like to admit they're wrong. To swallow your pride, admit you're an idiot- it's not something that's easily done. It's tough to do, but here it is:

I was wrong. I'm an idiot. I bashed an album that is actually really good. So, here is my attempt to put things right.

The songs here are pretty diverse, very layered and quite perplexing to the first time listener. When you give this album a spin, one of two things will happen. You'll sit there, amazed at the brilliant layering, perplexed but in awe of Garm's godlike vocals, listen to the whole album and turn it off feeling incredibly satisfied. The other thing that could happen is that you'll hear some sort of rambling, incoherent cacophony, way too much layering, and a technically talented vocalist who completely wastes his vocal talent.

It's definitely understandable that you'll hate this record- I did for some time. For some reason though, I kept on listening too it. I'm not quite sure why, but I did. And over time the record started making more and more sense. Song like For The Love of God, Christmas, Blinded by Blood, In The Red.. Stuff that seemed like poorly arranged noise started making brilliant sense. Garm's vocal melodies are indeed amazing, probably his best work since Arcturus' Sham Mirrors- there's no doubt he's one of the best, if not the best metal vocalist around now.

The arrangements do indeed walk a fine line between genius and chaos, and a few probably cross over into chaos- I still have no idea what The Truth is on about. But there are some great moments here- the stripped down strings in Blinded by Blood, with the really good sampling of some old soul singer, the slow, excellent intro on For The Love of God, and the random but brilliant jazz ending to In The Red. (It's funny, that was one thing I hated in my last review). The shimmering beauty in the intro of Your Call, and the semi structured chaos in Operator are also great. Garm's vocals are very multi tracked, and very poppy and melodic. It's hard to think of any standout tracks for him really- he's amazing in every track.

Nonetheless, there are faults with this album. Blinded by Blood has too many vocals (as good as they may be), The Truth is a fairly messy..mess, and some of the songs won't really stand out too much. I guess one fault could be the sheer layered-ness, and the general inaccessibility of this album. It's a real shame, because I think most people would love this album if it wasn't for it's stubborness and the sense of chaos that pervades the whole thing.

However, despite saying that, I think everyone should get this album. Even if you don't originally like it, you must stick with it. Don't give up on it. You will eventually be rewarded.

Utter garbage - 16%

FishyMonkey, April 13th, 2006

I knew this was coming. I saw the warning signs on every album starting with Themes From...and it has finally happened. Ulver has lost themselves in their own soundscape.

You can see the warning signs on prior albums; the meandering, pointless nothings of Dead City Centres and We Are The Dead are horrible, and Lykantropen Themes is filled with too much nothing (read: noise). The Teachings in Silence EP overstayed their welcome on each and every song. And now, Ulver has reached that final pinnacle of faux intellectual pretentious noise rock that has been threatening to overwhelm them for years. The result? Crap.

What you will listen to upon buying or downloading this album is the conglomeration of too many styles and ideas fused into one incoherent soundscape. The smooth techno beats of Perdition City are here. The experimental stuff of Themes From is here. The noise of the soundtracks is here. The solos from their very earliest stuff is here. And above all that is noise. Lots of it. It's not even noise in the traditional idea of random weird noises (not the Mars Volta style). No, this noise comes from guitars, electronic beats, violins, trumpets, bells, even Garm's vocals? "What? Trumpets and violins and electronica, noise? How the hell?" Pulled out individually, each aspect is fine. The trumpets, the electronica, the basslines, the guitars, the weird, it's all damn cool and sounds nice. Now chuck those nice things together and you get borderline unlistenable stuff. It's like throwing chocolate, iced tea, spaghetti, asparagus, chicken and Reeses Pieces in a melting pot and eating the output. Individually each component of the result is fine, but melted together it's crap. This album is similar. Too much. Too much. All the pieces seemed in order, too. Returning to instruments, more experimental, maintaining symphonic while keeping an older Ulver feel, how could Garm go wrong? I mean, it's Garm! Well, it went wrong.

The album opens with Dressed in Black, which plods along at a dreadfully slow tempo gradually adding effects into the mix. There's pianos in abundance, but these aren't the smooth pianos of Perdition City. No, these play frantic melodies over a pulsating, marching beat. There's almost no music or melody to be found here, simply a lot of noise layered over a slow tempo. What we end up with is a boring piece the almost is interesting, but in the end is too jumbled. It sounds like wannabe chaos. Good chaos is King Crimson's song Happy Family. I swear I heard about seven solos at the same time in that song, and all of them worked and it sounded great. Not here. We get some ok segments, usually involving Garm's great voice, but too few.

For The Love of God ups the tempo a bit, from a brisk crawl to the walk of a person who overdosed on NyQuil in the morning. Big change, I know. More messy combinations of things that simply do not work. We even get a guitar solo here, and it's a good guitar solo. Nothing extravagant but nice. Unfortunately, it still doesn't redeem the song because it hardly even fits with the song. Messy. Not lazy, I'm sure this song took a massive effort, didn't work.

Christmas is ok. It really is. It starts with some cool bell effects then launches into a pretty decent part with a laid back beat and some good vocals from Garm. The noise is still here, and it still doesn't fit, and it still is annoying. I think there was one part where a bunch of trombones played and it worked, for a second, just to be shattered. Then it goes noisy, until the end where we get some Christmas-y sounding bells and whatnot over Garm howling quietly, and it sounds kinda nifty. But even this slightly good song doesn't redeem the past two ear-grates.

Next is Blinded by Blood. I really liked this piece when I first heard the album. Garm's vocals sound good, the sound effects make sense and sound good, what's not to like? Well, this time the samples work, but it drags. And drags. It's moderately interesting the whole time, and very pleasant in small doses, but they stretched this one out too long. Oh, by the way, at one point the background gospel male singer (a sample, I know, but...) and the rest of the song aren't even in the same key. What?

It Is Not Sound...yea, it really is. It is sound, and that's all. Sound. Noise. Ok, not the most clever diss I've come up with, but you get the point. I don't like this song much either. Garm's "a loooong time agooooo, yea!" is really [%*!#]ing annoying, but he does some other cool things that make it better. It settles into a groove reminiscent of the beginning of Sigh's Slaughterhouse Suite. Actually, it sounds blatantly ripped, just layered and butchered immensely. There's an ok keyboard solo at the end. Ok. So we have more stupid layering here, more pointless sound effects for the sake of seeming complex, an ok solo, an ok groove, and annoying vocals.

The Truth. The truth is this is my favorite song on the album if I had to pick one. The noise works for this one, Garm sounds great. The more upbeat sections aren't too great, but the softer more laid-back sections with minimal noise going on is good. I think I hear a sample from some Pokemon town music in there, but who knows? The drums are ocol, although obviously a drum machine. At 2:19, after a frantic(lly annoying) section with tons of noise, it chills out into a softer section, the Garm layers his voice a bunch, then there's an upbeat part at around 2:55 that sounds solely because Garm sounds great and there's this really cool chipmunk-thingy sample in the background for a bit and the layered noise here works. For once there isn't a million instruments, just a lot of voices, which works pretty well. It proves once again Garm is a master of vocals, even if he's not the best vocalist ever. Good song.

In The Red. The layering almost works here, especially towards the end, guessed it, once again, too much. This has a stupid jazz facade all over it where in actuality it has nothing to do with jazz. And don't forget those stupid whispers of "" or "AMBROSIAAA...ambrosia...." getting softer in the background. God, that's annoying. The end has some cool jazzy sounds sampled in which almost sounds cool, but not quite. If they cut down on it a bit it would've worked, but they insisted on making it a full-fledged thing.

Your Call has some pretty bad layering, but like Blinded by Blood, it's mostly ambient and chill, and is pleasant in small doses. There's way too many samples on this one as well...WAY too many, but it pulls through ok. Cut back on the annoying violins on this one and add a darker atmosphere and you got an ok song.

Operator is fairly frantic and has more crazy layering. Do I really need to say it? It doesn't work yet again. It comes at as nonsensical, incoherent, name any pejorative word that's a synonym with incoherent and you can describe this song.

So like I said, lots of good ideas, put together in a melting pot to make crap. If Ulver cut back on what they were trying to do, it mighta worked. Maybe. We'll never find out. Hopefully Ulver realizes they tried too hard with this one and goes back to soundtracks or smooth beats or even, I pray to you god, metal.

Wow, totally unexpected - 90%

danyates, October 13th, 2005

If you know anything about Ulver, you would know that they were a black metal band in the 90s. Then after the suicide of their guitarist, they started making electronica albums, such as Perdition City, and this album, Blood Inside.

First of all, I should tell you I bought this album thinking it was black metal. If I had known that it was electronica/industrial-ish, I would have never bought it, or even downloaded it.

When I say "electronica," your first thought it probably "Oh wow, electronica. Bleep boop beep bleep boop."

Well, in this case, Blood Inside is not random bleeps. It is an actual well constructed album, which is very musical, and sometimes very melodic. Songs like "Blinded by Blood" would be a good example of a song that is not too chaotic and is actually pretty mellow. There are some chaotic moments, though, such as the intro to "Your Call"

I would probably say my favorite songs on here are "It is not Sound" or "For the Love of God," which actually includes a guitar solo. Nothing too flashy, but it fits the music perfectly, and it makes a great addition to the song.

And I can't believe I haven't touched on the vocals yet. Garm's vocals are EXCELLENT. I cannot stress that word enough. It is all clean vocals, and sounds like Mikael Akerfeldt (from Opeth) at times.

This album did take a lot of listening to get into, though. At first, I was thinking, "Uh, aren't they black metal?" I listened somemore (only because some songs were extremely catchy and I liked them a bit), and I found the beauty of this album.

It seems odd; me suggesting electronica to you, but you won't regret listening to this album. It will be a musical pleasure for people who have an open mind, and are willing to listen to new genres.

I rate this album 90/100.

just when you thought they couldnt get any better - 97%

NJMetalMeister, May 11th, 2005

It indeed gets better. This album is astounding, and its more musically coherant than the last few ulver releases. The vocals on this album are flat out killer, probably garm's best work. But enough of my ramblings, onto the review:

Track 1: Dressed in Black. Starts out with two tones being repeated over a few times, and in typical ulver fashion, it builds up into the actual song by layering other sounds over it, and particularly noteworthy is the piano layered on top of it. The layering of garm's vocals in this song are subtle, yet eerie, and all out brilliant. Note the guitar hidden in there around the 4 minute mark, it is particularly nice to hear some more traditional instruments on this album. The other part of this song worth mentioning is the piano playing starting at around 5:50, which leads nicely into the ambient outro. 10/10

Track 2: For the Love of God. No, this isnt the steve vai song (haha) but there is a guitar solo very present in this song nonetheless, which is very nice. Garm hits a lot of high notes in this song, also nice. The song tends to be mostly dominated by drums and bass (even though many other instruments are present), creating a great atmosphere. I do find the overuse of the word Fuck in this song amusing, i really dont know why, but it makes me smirk a bit. This is my least favorite song on the album, and it's still a great tune, so that really tells you what kind of an album it is. 9/10.

Track 3: Christmas. Starts off with bells and chimes, like just about every christmas song ever written, so it is not just a clever name. This song has my favorite vocal lines in the song (not lyrics but actual musical lines). The bells/synths combine very nicely in this song. About halfway through the song it gets much much darker in feel, and almost feels like a turn around for the way the album started, at least to me. However the beauty of Ulver releases is that everyone interprets them differently, so you might find it differently than i do, and that is fine. As it started, it ends on chimes. 10/10

Track 4: Blinded by Blood. Very ambeint and dark sounding song. It reminds me a bit of the Quick Fix of Melancholy EP. There are some very dissonant sounds hidden in the background of this song, which really help the ambience out a lot in this particular tune. Since this song is mostly ambient, there is not much I can really say about it other than it is an extremly chill song. 10/10

Track 5: It is not Sound. This is tied as my favorite song off the album along with In the Red. It leads in from Blinded by Blood very nicely, and brings back more of a song structure and less ambience (i mean to an extent, ulver is very much about ambience and atmosphere as we all know). This song is probably the heaviest on the album, and it actually hints at the fact that Ulver was in fact once a metal band (although to say this song is metal by anymeans would be a farse and a half). The standout part in this song that everyone is going to mention is the Bach piece towards the end. Now, personally, I enjoy bach a lot, so to hear one of my favorite bands incorporate bach, tastefully, into electronic music, is like pleasure overload for me. 10/10

Track 6: The Truth. The truth about this song, is that it is my second least favorite on the album, but that could also be because it is sandwiched between what i feel are the best two off the album. Particularly noteworthy in this song is the percussion line, which for some reason reminds me of aphex twin to an extent. Perhaps because it does a lot more than the average ulver drumline, even if it doesnt go throughout the entire song. The use of guitars here in this song are also quite nice, but not as good as the use of them in For the Love of God for example. The vocal lines post the 3:05 mark sound very Mike Patton inspired, which is grand. 9/10

Track 7: In the Red. Here we go, my other favorite from the album, and while it is a short one compared to the rest of the album (only 3:30 long), it is particularly noticable for 2 reasons: the drumming sounds jazz inspired, and the crazy saxophone part towards the end. This song, for some reason reminds me of something you would hear in a well made batman movie, and i really dont know why, of course except for the end which sounds like something out of a 1930s gangster movie. I'll quit rambling about this song though and let you hear it for yourself. 10/10

Track 8: Your Call. This one is very contrasting to In the Red which is rather intense and off the wall at times. It starts out completely ambient, and continues in suit until the vocals come in at around 2 minutes. Although, the lack of drums keeps it very ambient sounding (and the fact that there arent many actual musical notes but just a collection of tones and noises circulating in the background [and the phone ringing hidden in there really messed me up until i realzed it was in the song and my phone wasnt actually ringing]). This song stays this way throughout the duration, and once again remains a very relaxed song, which is a nice contrast and break from what ensued during In The Red. 9/10

Track 9: Operator. Very similar in style to In the Red, although not quite as good in my opinion (but it is close). The overall tone of this song reminds me a bit of something you would hear Ihsahn involved with. If you changed the music in the back during the beginning to very distorted guitars and tremolo picking, it could easily fit in on an Emperor album. More guitars surface in this song, but once again are subtle. The drumming here is probably the most coherant on the album, which sound like just a standard drumline as opposed to having that overall electronic feel to them. The quick runs on the percussive organ (cant recall the name of the actual instrument at the moment because im drawing a huge blank) are quite cool. This is probably the most straightfoward song on the album. Still, good stuff. 10/10

In summation, I think i would safely say this is the best Ulver album to date, and some of Garm's finest vocal work. Get this album as soon as you can, you will not regret it.