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Ooooh yes. - 80%

FishyMonkey, April 1st, 2006

This band is so strange. They went from folk metal to folk to black metal to experimental as hell metal to this. And they would just keep evolving after this. And prior to the release of Blood Inside, they hadn't made a single bad release (that review coming at a later date).

It's difficult to describe this's kinda ambient electronic jazz bluesy techno. You know it's interesting when it takes that much do describe it, and you also know it completely sucks or completely rocks. Fortunately, the latter is true here. This is some great stuff for any situation, great laid back driving music, good walking music (atmosphere on an average day), great light listening, amazing heavy listening, this has it all.

The album goes through three distinct phases, which I find curious but it's irrelevant. The first is a kinda melancholic, jazzy, bluesy feel, very much laid back. The opener "Lost in Moments" shows this perfectly. The highlight is the sax solo throughout, which adds an amazing amount of flair to the music, especially since it isn't cheesy. It has a fairly simple beat, but the music is layered tremendously which makes it fun to listen to. The next piece "Porn Piece..." continues the trend with a very laid-back feel that focuses more on grooving than anything else. It has some nice melancholic piano and some great singing by Garm. If I were to introduce anyone to the band (non-metalhead), this would be the piece to do it with. It's very catchy and very fun to listen to. I coulda done without the silent section between the beginning part and where the singing comes in, but it's fairly short.

Now starts the transition to the next phase. Hallway of Always retains some of that meloncholic laid-back bluesy feel is the prior to pieces, but this time goes in a more techno direction with the song. I find this to be good, an album that's too same-y is not a good album (says the man who likes Bonded in Blood). The highlight of this song is the drifting piano behind the heavy beat which adds so much to the song with simple melodies. I would never have though techno and somber moody piano could have worked so well together. I mean, for christ's sake, this could be the backing beat to a rap song just as easily, but in the hands of a good band, wonders are worked.

After this transition piece is Tomorrow Never Knows, which is probably the most techno piece on the album. It's got a very dark feel to it. It's all one tempo, and some may find it repetitive (I did say it was the most techno piece on here...zing!). However, Ulver changes up the layering, the beats and the sounds more than enough to provide for fun listening. Trust me, I know. I've listened to this song quite a bit. Only complaint is that the song ends with two minutes of soft ambient noise...well, it's notes, but it's so minimalistic and inefficient as a fadeout. It's a waste of time.

The Future Sound of Music does indeed sound like futuristic techno, with a meloncholic feel all throughout. The soft piano part goes on a bit too long, but it's not bad. It's a very ear-pleasing least until the beat comes in, and then it's chaos, that barely sounds contained. It works, but not as well as the rest of the album.

We Are The Dead marks the third stage of the album (semi-creepy, noisy, not too musical), and is the first skip-button worthy track. It's a semi-creepy effects-fest with Garm whispering some creepy stuff in your ears. It's kinda cool the first time through, and I'm sure in the right mood (under drugs?) it would be really really cool. Not to me. Dead City Centres starts with four minutes of noise, followed by a pseudo-jazz beat with what sounds like an advertisement for a rollercoaster in the background. Kinda trippy. The only redeeming part of this song is the piano/jazz section at the end. Skip-worthy.

Catalept. Let's take the most sampled thing in hip-hop, ever, the theme from Psycho, put a vapid, unfulfilling beat behind it and repeat for two minutes. Boring. Suck. Filler.

Last song is Nowhere/Catastrophe. I think I actually heard some normal instruments in this one, but that's a moot point. Now, Garm doesn't have very good pitch, as is painfully obvious during this song at some parts of this song (yes, I can talk, I have perfect pitch), but as always, his vocals work. Garm always did sound a bit under to me...anyway, this is a great song, and a fitting close. It actually has guitars and bass in it too. Amazing.

So, the first and second stage of this album are amazing, while the third stage as barely above horrid. I would say I hope Ulver becomes a little more consistent, in the future, but...well, they don't. Still, this album is awesome enough to merit the 80 score. And it's possibly my favorite Ulver album.