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Dark, Tragic, Low-key... Pointless - 35%

Jiri777, September 14th, 2008

Ulver describes their latest album, “Shadows of the Sun,” as dark, tragic, and low-key just like they are. One word they left out is pointless. This album is pointless, and if Ulver keeps this up, then they are pretty pointless as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love post-black metal Ulver albums like “Themes from William Blake’s the Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” and “A Quick Fix of Melancholy.” I just believe that this particular style is rather worthless.

First of all, the vocals on this album are just bad. I am a huge fan of Garm’s work, but on this album, he really isn’t trying at all. Garm’s “singing” here is very effortless. It is a very low (almost bass territory) style of talking. That’s right, the great Garm is barely singing here. Garm just talks in a deep voice throughout the whole thing. I would have loved this album if Garm sang like he did on “A Quick Fix of Melancholy,” but he doesn’t even come close. “Solitude,” the cover of Black Sabbath is probably the best song here! This is because Garm is forced to have some melody in his voice because Ozzy sang it with melody. A very disappointing effort on this album by the usually outstanding vocalist, Kristoffer Rygg.

The music here barely contains any real instruments. Most of the music is synth, with some piano and keyboards. It does sound depressing, but they could have pulled it off much better. The creepy sound of “A Quick Fix of Melancholy” can not be heard here. Here we have a different dark kind of music, which is much worse (IMO). It is very relaxing, but it is not an album to take seriously. I listen to it while studying for a test, or before going to sleep. Nothing here is going to blow anyone away.

All tracks here sound alike. There is not much difference to be able to pick favorites. As mentioned before, the Black Sabbath cover stands out because they were forced to put some effort into it. The rest of the tracks sound like one big blur of synth and Garm talking. There are barely any differences throughout the album, and certainly nothing catchy.

Overall, the newest Ulver album is just taking space. After listening to it, one does not walk away feeling like he or she gained anything from it. No one is going to love this album, but no one is going to hate it either. It exists, that is all there is to it.