This is in fact the 3rd time Iíve written a review for this album. I have written reviews of it for both Amazon and the Larm review website. I have spent such an amount of time writing about this album because quite simply it is my favorite album of all time, and in my opinion one of the greatest records ever made. I could write ten pages on the album and not scratch the surface of itís power and majesty.
At the time I bought this I was getting into black metal and was searching the internet for reviews, samples etc. I stumbled upon a review of this album, and it sounded interesting to say the least. I was mainly listening to industrial and some less extreme black metal (Dimmu Borgir etc) But it is without doubt this album the led me onto another level in my understanding of music.
Maybe itís the fact that the text is so special or the way Ulver weave their magic around the concept that makes this such an involving piece of art, but from the moment I put it in the CD player and the distorted beats and acoustic guitar of the first track kicked in, I was hooked. The whole thing is over one hundred minutes long. Spread across two CD's.
I listened to it twice through and played it again when my girlfriend came over, such was I taken with it. To be honest itís probably the one album I own that I could listen to all day.
Right, now to the music. Ulver on their previous three albums explored folk inspired black metal, straight acoustic Nordic folk and Darkthrone style brutality, they were considered one of the most talented metal musicians around. Then they released this, it soundtracks the English poet William Blake's most expansive work, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', a fantastic exploration of good and evil and the world in general, im probably not doing it justice with that description, I would advise visiting the Blake archive for a better understanding of the meanings behind the text.
Ulver front man Garm sings the text in his clean full blown chest style which is intrinsic to the albums power. While his pronounciation is sometimes odd, his actual delivery is spot on. The music itself then. Well, it's rather a hybrid of many styles incorporating, industrial, trip-hop, ambient, noise, metal and acoustic styles. No two tracks are the same and the whole things flows like liquid silk. I recommend listening to the thing all the way through. The tracks are listed in a rather odd fashion. Most tracks are called a memorable fancy and the best way to keep track of your self is to look at the plate number on the accompanying text booklet.
Stand out tracks for me are the 1st, 6th, 7th and 9th track of the first CD and the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th tracks of the second CD. But really there is not a bad track on it. Some songs are very experimental electronic tracks, while others have more structured elements. No choruses obviously due to the nature of the text. Perhaps the reason why this album works so well is the fact that it could have been a right old mess and a pretentious exercise in audio, but it isnít, it all hold together perfectly, every single note played sits perfectly in the concept. This really is a special piece of work. It led me on to disscover the more avant-garde side of metal and onto other more surreal outfits like Coil, Current93, Whithouse etc.
I know without doubt that I would not be making music without hearing this album. Why are you still sitting there? GO GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!