Ulver

Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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Ulver never fails to amaze, or at least cause controversy. Every single album they put out is almost a complete 180 from the last, which, although strange, is a very admirable quality to this band, and Marriage is no different. Following the route taken by Garm's other offbeat (but godly!) project Arcturus, Ulver has become a strange mix of metal, electronic, folk, and utter strangeness. 1999 proved to be the year of bizarre metallic releases, from Dødheimsgard and Solefald to the new Arcturus. It must have been a long cold winter in Norway (no glam puns intended) because Ulver wants its piece of the madness too. Parts of the album are nothing more than spoken dialogue from the novel mixed with ambient music. Then, suddenly Garm gets bored and begins to wail and scream loudly as the churning industrial madness begins underneath his tormented vocals. A few songs are almost solely instrumental, while others contain dark female vocals (or speaking). Similar to a jarring movie that leaves your stomach in knots, this album is unsettling. Between the eerie music, awkward vocals, and mysterious religious lyrics, this album has everything for the eccentric fans out in metal-land. As a side note, the album is graced by a few guests, most notably Fenriz of Darkthrone and two guys named Samoth and Insahn from some band called Emperor (hmm, never heard 'em). Recommended to those seeking a musical purging, all others beware.

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