This album was so predictable. It was predictable because Ulver is so unpredictable, that it is predictable that their next album will be unpredictable. After 2005’s “Blood Inside” and its off-the-wall, wacky character, this album makes it sound like the universe has gone cold. This is a very low-key, atmospheric electronic work of art. It is on the opposite side of the spectrum of their more upbeat albums. However, it is somewhat similar to their somber work such as “Svidd Neger,” “Lyckantropen Themes,” and perhaps “Silence Teaches you How to Sing” and “Silencing the Singing.”
If you’re the dedicated Ulver fan, I don’t need to tell you that they are an ever-evolving band with a different trick up their sleeve every time they release something. You know this, and this is why you like Ulver. In this case, you should already have this album. If you like the above EPs and soundtracks I mentioned above, you are much more likely to enjoy this album. If you only like Ulver’s more upbeat electronic music, like “Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven & Hell,” “Perdition City,” and “Blood Inside,” you may not like this as much, or at all. And if you only like their black metal and folk, well, I have no idea what to tell you.
This is perhaps the first Ulver album I would actually describe as “depressing” though. Sure, the above albums had overall dark atmospheres, but I’ve described them as more “experimental,” “laid-back”, “lonely,” perhaps “eerie.” For the first time, this album is depressing. But that’s ok.
I have to admit, this is far from Ulver’s best achievement. Still earning 5 stars in my book, because some of Ulver’s earlier work is so amazing they will probably never make anything that comes close to it. I’m not saying it is disappointing by any means, but parts of some songs could use at least a little more spark. Most of the songs sound very similar. But hey, I’m certain it will grow on me. I thought the same thing about Lyckantropen – that probably took me 2 years to fully appreciate.
“Vigil” is probably the most interesting, maybe the best song on here, beginning with some arbitrary electronic noises that sound strikingly similar to “The Future Sound of Music” from “Perdition City”, then introducing a lush, dreamlike piano melody, some creepy whispering, and almost chorus-like vocals with a rich electronic harmony in the background. In fact the whole album pretty much has that rich electronic harmony, consisting of synthesized violins and strings, pianos, and sometimes hums and choirs. “All the Love” probably breaks through the general feel of the album the most, with a brief, upbeat, almost theatrical-like portion.
As a previous reviewer mentioned, this album should be listened to in a room by yourself, with headphones, in the dark, for the most satisfying experience and to appreciate it to its fullest, along with any other Ulver album really. He also mentions the room should have no windows or doors, which I don’t necessarily recommend, because if there’s a room with no windows OR doors, then there’s no way to get into that room in the first place, unless you maybe bust through the wall, which paradoxically creates a makeshift door, and does significant damage to you or whomever’s property it is, or perhaps, build the entire room around you, which would take a lot of hard work, a long time, and knowledge about construction, and then you would be stuck in that room, unless you kept a sledgehammer in there to bust yourself out. Either way, I think you need at least one door or window in the room you plan on listening “Shadows in the Sun” in, for when it is over, you’ll probably need to return to reality.