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Another brave step from Ulver. - 96%

t_, July 30th, 2006

This is the final black metal release thus far by the ever-changing Ulver. Although there is still a single folk interlude on this album, Ulver step away from their stronger folk roots and decide to make a grim, yet strangely melodic and beautiful, raw black metal album.

Ulver implement the use of blasting, relentless and tinny drumming, a dual intense crunching guitar attack and in-your-face harsh vocals to make ‘Nattens Madrigal’ demand and rightfully receive undivided attention from the listener. The guitar riffs and tremolo picking are very melodic and are basically the only melodic aspect of the music itself. A good example of this is in the intro to ‘Hymne VI - Of Wolf And Passion’. The bass guitar, played by Skoll, is virtually non-existent due to the raw production style.

Numerous rumours have spread regarding the chosen production style for this album; the most prominent one being that Ulver used the money given to them to create the album was instead spent on personal items, so the album was recorded in the forests of Norway using a four-track tape recorder. Due to the production, there is a constant loud buzzing sound throughout the album that may be irritating for inexperienced listeners. After listening to this album in it’s entirety at high volume with headphones, I can safely say that, production-wise, it isn’t too much of a great experience. Some fans would argue that Ulver went took their production to an unbearable extreme, but ‘Nattens Madrigal’ is still certainly bearable if you are accustomed to the style.

The title of the album, which translates to ‘The Madrigal Of Night: Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man’, highlights the underlying message of this album. More specifically, Ulver tell of how they see “the Werewolf as an Image of the Beast in Man”. ‘Nattens Madrigal’ tells the story about a man who is ‘blessed’ by the Devil and consequently transformed into a wolf. The lycanthrope finds himself with a “Battle in his Soul, to give himself entirely to his lonesome Destinie”.

Ulver’s ‘Trilogie’ concludes with this release, and on a high note (no pun intended). If you’re unfamiliar with black metal and a fan of the electronic-styled Ulver material, then you’re going to get one hell of a shock from ‘Nattens Madrigal’, so I suggest you stay away from this album. But otherwise, this album should be a treat for fans of highly aggressively-played black metal.