Ulver's first official album blends together diverse elements that would surface on their next two (wildly different) albums. On the one hand, there are sections of grim, blasting black metal with harsh vocals and blurred, buzzing guitars, similar to their later Nattens Madrigal/Madrigal of the Night album (though with less savage production). On the other hand, there are also a number of quiet, folk-like acoustic passages (including an entire song, "Bergtatt -- Ind I Fjeldkamrene") in a style that the band developed more fully on their subsequent release, Kveldssanger. Forming a gray area in between these two extremes are the more subdued, mid-paced metal sections, during which frontman Garm sings in an unusual semi-chanted style. His overdubbed vocals resemble a choir of Gregorian monks, but instead of sounding merely odd, they fit really well with the music. Bergtatt is not the heaviest or most aggressive black metal around by a long shot -- even the faster, more intense sections feel atmospheric due to the somewhat distant-sounding, not very closely miced production -- nor is it the most evil or blasphemous. What makes the album stand out, along with the varied vocal styles and the excellent songwriting, is its unique atmosphere -- mysterious, melancholic, eerie, and oddly tranquil. Considered a black metal classic by some followers of the genre, Bergtatt is an excellent debut and one of the high points among Ulver's impressive, diverse discography.
AllMusic Review by William York