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Raw Emotions - 100%

FireMoonOrgy, November 22nd, 2008

As Ulver had demonstrated twice before the release of Nattens Madrigal, they weren’t afraid of doing a little exploration into sounds that usually strayed away from the typical results of most of their countrymen’s and other black metal enthusiast’s contributions of the same time. Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler offered some of the greatest folk black metal from any period in the history of the genre, and Kveldssanger was a complete abandonment of metal entirely; for that which was acoustic, which was still none the less an impressive and successful attempt for a young band who, at the time, were hinting a shift in their musical expression early in their career. Yet again with the arrival (release) of their third official installment, Ulver would not only provide listeners with a sound that was completely alienating to its predecessor, but would again offer yet another prime example of how a certain form of music should be performed.

Nattens Madrigal has been said by many (time and time again) to be one of the very best examples of that which is the more raw side of the black metal genre. This for the most part, is an absolutely true and undoubtedly accurate statement. Nattens Madrigal stands in a league of its own, as it is a definite standout from most other’s offerings when it comes to being completely primitive and purposely under-produced in nature, as there have been very few bands before or after that have been able to create music that captures the very essence of grimness (oh, how cliché) in audio form. Such as Ulver had done with their third (second black metal wise) and final release which was associated with the metal genre altogether. Since as most know, their fourth release - “Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” was the beginning of the more “electronic” side of Ulver which combined many other genres of music together, and is thus not a definitive metal release from what little amount of metal elements it contains. For the most part however, the “truly” metal days of Ulver had ended after their triumphant contribution of the masterful black metal content that can be found on Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden, and most fans would agree.

Nattens Madrigal has the type of production and sound quality that would make most want to plug their ears or reach for the stop/pause button as soon as the first track begins, yet it (as well as its two predecessors) still has the unmistakable ability of providing an incredible amount of atmosphere in its overall delivery. Nattens Madrigal is a non-stop (most of the time) barrage of blast beats and riffs that are of constant tremolo picking (which still provide melody), as well as Kristoffer Rygg’s (aka Garm’s) vocals which can be considered some of the most harshest and distressed sounding vocals that have been recorded for any metal release. This screaming performance of Garm’s, shows just how good his vocal abilities really are, since nowadays; unlike his black metal days, most of his vocal work is in a much more beautifully sung manner. All of this extreme negativity (as it can definitely be referred to as) adds up to a very chilling and agonized performance, as Ulver had set out to provide with the whole theme of this release.

There’s not very much left to say about this release, other than that it will always remain as one of the most harshest, unforgiving, and beautiful efforts in the entire black metal genre. This was definitely a great way to leave your mark on a genre that’s now filled with clones who really don’t offer anything as monumental as the mighty black metal era of Ulver once did.