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Soothing Sounds - 100%

FireMoonOrgy, November 22nd, 2008

With such an impressive debut, the chance of Ulver creating something their second time around which could be as good if not better would seem somewhat unlikely, as Bergtatt wouldn’t be an easy album to duplicate (imitate) while still providing its own originality, let alone to be a simple follow-up of. A very good reason as to why this would seem to be true, is the fact that Ulver were still a very young group at the time, even though they managed to offer one of the greatest debuts in the history of the black metal genre to date. This youthfulness however, was certainly no ‘hindrance’ when it came to the early days of this now ever-changing band, as they not only provided a second effort that could be seen as equally captivating, but would also ‘strike’ a third time after that; with their second black metal masterpiece. That being the astonishingly harsh (rawness like no other) and unparalleled Nattens Madrigal. This would solely be based on the listener’s own opinion (s) of course. But either way you decide to look at it, Ulver had done it again. As Kveldssanger was but the second (full-length) of what would come to be many momentous offerings from this now legendary Norwegian musical outfit.

Kveldssanger is, as most know, a release devoid of any kind of metal whatsoever. Rather being an exclusively acoustic folk album with the sole purpose of providing songs of Nordic mysticism in an atmospheric and beautifully tranquil nature. It would be rather difficult to say exactly what this album is capable of when it comes to providing listeners with the overall emotions that they’ll be able to receive from it. One thing is certain though, most will get that Kveldssanger has the ability to calm, as it itself is very calm in its entirety (which really can’t be stressed enough). Kristoffer Rygg’s (aka Garm’s) vocals are yet another huge factor in what makes the music that is created on this release so marvelous, as is in most of the cases where Rygg is present whether it be with Arcturus, Borknagar, Head Control System, or any other project he’s been associated with in which he has offered vocal contributions. Garm’s vocals on Kveldssanger are predominately done in a chanting (Gregorian) manner as well as being overdubbed to sound more choir-like at times. Garm even manages to go "a cappella" for a couple of tracks, thus the obviously entitled track of “A Cappella (Sielens Sang)”.

Garm isn’t the only contributor that ‘shines’ on this one, as the other band members provide listeners with music that deserves much recognition, not only because the end result is of a well demonstrated effort, but because the way it professionally sounds (as if there needs to be a reminder that they are still a metal band at this point; not a traveling folk group, nor would they become one). The fact that they aren’t completely devoted to this style is none the less quite remarkable as they were still able to offer something such as what they did with their sophomore release. The flute courtesy of AiwarikiaR gives a very nice touch to the overall atmospheric sound, as well as the appearance of a cellist which makes this another “authentic” standout in the realm of Scandinavian folk inspired music by a then (at the time) vernal Norwegian black metal band.

There have been only a handful of black metal bands that have decided they would venture into this area of music who have actually been successful, as Ulver has been throughout their career. There’s a very good reason as to why, it usually takes a fairly good amount of “talent” to be able to create music that can truly stand the test of time, and Kveldssanger is a fine example of this.