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"Ulver is obviously not a black metal band and does not wish to be stigmatized as such. We acknowledge the relation of part I & III of the Trilogie (Bergtatt & Nattens Madrigal) to this culture, but stress that these endeavours were written as stepping stones rather than conclusions. We are proud of our former instincts, but wish to liken our association with said genre to that of the snake with Eve. An incentive to further frolic only. If this discourages you in any way, please have the courtesy to refrain from voicing superficial remarks regarding our music and/or personae. We are as unknown to you as we always were."—Ulver, 1999
Ulver is an experimental Norwegian music group formed in 1993, fronted by Krystoffer Rygg. The band has gone through numerous style changes, so much so that each "major" release is considered to be a different genre altogether, many times defying contemporary classification.
A quick rundown of their major releases:
- Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler (Black Metal, Folk Metal)
- Kveldssanger (Neofolk)
- Nattens Madrigal (Raw Black Metal)
- Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Industrial, Progressive Metal)
- Commonly Shortened to "The Blake Album"
- Perdition City (Trip-Hop, Electronica)
- Blood Inside (Avant-Garde, Electronica)
- Shadows of the Sun (Dark Ambient)
- This release is often mislabeled as being Electronica as well, despite that almost all of the instruments are the real deal (including the strings), and there is very little sampling at all.
- Wars of the Roses
- Childhood's End (Psychedelic Rock, Cover Album)
- Audio Adaptation: The namesake of The Blake Album is used in its entirety as the lyrics to the album, and the music is derived from its themes.
- Bilingual Bonus: The first three albums are sung entirely in an archaic form of Danish. A track on their remix album, 1st Decade in the Machines, contains a conversation entierly in German. Not to mention their very name is Norwegian for "wolves".
- Concept Album: Perdition City is meant to be "Music to an Interior Film" (as it says on the cover). The Blake Album as well, see Audio Adaptation above.
- Cover Version: The band covered Black Sabbath 's "Solitude" on Shadows of the Sun and Prince's "Thieves" for a tribute album. There is also a forthcoming album which will consist of covers of material from the late sixties.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Despite being significanty more "accessible" than most of their material, many fans will cite "Nowhere/Catastrophe" to be among their favorite selections from their discography.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Doubles with Bilingual Bonus. On the aforementioned remix track (called "Der Alte"), the German conversation is about an old man lamenting about how useless he is to his family, and a younger man assuring him how much he'd be missed when he finally does pass on.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Nattens Madrigal's full title translates to "The Madrigal Of The Night - Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man", and it's eight songs, numbered "Hymn I" through "Hymn VIII", in a concept album about... well...
- Face of the Band: Although the band insists on being a collective, most fans can only seem to recognize the name of Krystoffer Rygg (better known as Garm).
- Genre Shift: As demonstrated above.
- Soprano and Gravel: Demonstrated in "Your Call" and a good deal of "The Blake Album"
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: MASSIVELY subverted; even the die-hard black metal fans of the first few albums seem to readily embrace the band's later work.
- Urban Legend: The reason why Nattens Madrigal is so underproduced is either because they recorded the album in the woods at night or because they stole all the money their label gave them to buy Armani suits, cocaine and a new car. Word of God dismissed the former as impossible but said the band did have rather expensive tastes when asked about the latter.