Micro Dose: Ulver – Nattens Madrigal (1997)

  • Ulver
  • Nattens Madrigal
  • Black metal
  • Norway
  • 3rd March 1997

Somehow I had gone through most of my life being a big fan of Ulver and yet had never felt the need to stretch beyond the album Perdition City, which will always be in my top ten recommended non-metal albums. Thanks belongs to Luke Oram for bringing it to my attention in our interview and prompting me to explore their earlier black metal work. It was a very rewarding experience.

Ulver had many musical changes throughout their career. On their demos and 1st full length, Bergtatt, they played black/folk metal. 1996’s Kveldssanger is an entirely acoustic folk album and 1997’s Nattens Madrigal is raw, aggressive black metal. Around 1998 they began experimenting with all kinds of experimental, electronic and avant-garde music, fully detaching themselves from the (black) metal scene.” – From the Metallum

So what we have here with Nattens Madrigal is exactly what is described, a form of raw black metal that served as an influence to other projects I’ve covered such as Grimdor. The idea of intentionally making abrasive music is appealing, but the additional nuance of more ambient pieces serve as warming contrast. There’s also a sense of melody to the tremolo picking – it’s not so generic. Whether this is the result of tone or notes, I’m unsure, but it’s simple yet interesting. There’s a level of comfort to this sound, the consistent wide sounds acting like a thick blanket.

Ulver are another band where it’s a complete artistic statement with each record. The raw texture of the painting works perfectly with the motif of a wolf howling at this enormous moon, you get the exact feeling of it. This meshes so well with the similarly raw production of the music. The artist is Tania Stene, she worked in that scene a lot and has a kind of poetic vision in her designs. Underrated.” – Luke Oram, from our interview

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