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Ulver - Chapter 2 - Norse Folk. - 83%

Jochem, February 24th, 2007

Listening to Bergtatt and then listening to Kveldssanger is one hell of a change. From pretty harsh (folk influenced) melodic black metal to completely acoustic and a-cappella Norse folk in just one album is a huge leap. But when you hear Bergtatt this album does make sense, just like Opeth doing progrock on their album “damnation” makes sense. The question is of course: “A black metal band doing folk, does it work? “ I mean to me metal bands doing ballads can be good, but they tend to sound cheesy and overdone sometimes. But here are no traces of metal, not 1. So this is just not a metal release and apparently Ulver isn’t even a metal band on here. Still the question remains “Does it work”. The answer is pretty hard, it is beautiful but it just isn’t as good as their metal and later releases.

The music on the Kveldssanger is mostly instrumental guitar picking with 2 guitarists playing on acoustic guitars and at times there is a flute present. One third of the album features vocals which are quite something else. Garm chants in a deep voice and it is overdubbed a couple of times to actually make the chanting more haunting. The vocals do add a lot to the album, it would be really one-dimensional it was a completely instrumental album and here it is where the albums only true weakness lays for me. To many of it is instrumental and some of the instrumentals just aren’t that memorable. I have nothing against guitar picking and a lot of it is actually quite beautiful but just not everything here is that good.
Still, the Kveldssanger never bores me, and although some songs simply drift by without me noticing them the album sets a great mood and when stuff get interesting it can really get to me.

So, a lovely album which could be Ulver’s least album showing how consistently good they actually are. Some of it is very good and beautiful and some of it is nice but a little less interesting.

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