Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 7/12/2005
posted on 7/2005 By:
Jumping into the history of a band like Ulver is pointless. Those familiar with the band will skip it to get to the meat of the review while those unfamiliar simply won’t care. Above all, it doesn’t make sense to give pretext to a group that has a persistent eye on the future because the past is no more relevant to its impending album than the color of its members eyes. Burn your history books fellas, because Ulver will make enough waves with Blood Inside to warrant an all new chapter in the Book of Metal.
There is no doubt about it; Blood Inside will challenge you. It will challenge the way you listen to music. While listening to a track like “Blinded by Blood,” one must pay attention to every tonal shift present in an already subtle piece to even begin to understand the musical intention. Flowery language is a necessity when describing an album of this order. The ambience dark and sweeping, vocals fade in and out and vary in tone, from strong to desperate, all resulting in the creation of a disconcerting mood throughout. One begins to listen to the song as if ones eyes were slowly being opened, each passing second proving a greater reward. I picture an old blind man on his knees at the top of a hill overlooking an aging Norwegian village. He reaches his hands into the sky in a desperate plea, and soon finds his prayer answered as the world swallows him whole. This is the kind of music that lends itself to rainy day introspection. Black metal for the no shirt, no shoes avantgarde crowd.
Listeners should be warned that music this demanding is polarizing. Stylus Magazine called this album a “crock of shit,” while Metal Invader dubbed it “passionately beautiful,” and while the clean vocals are as accessible as anything remotely metal is capable of, the complex arrangement and structure of each song requires a patient mind. Even lead single “It Is Not Sound,” which was made into an equally strange video, is best described as eccentric. For the first minute and a half there are sounds reminiscent of the soft drone one would hear walking past a construction site until the song transitions into an all too short guitar-driven passage. What most critics and classically-trained listeners will note is the bit near the end of the track that pays tribute to Bach, of all people. What was once a black metal band paying tribute to a classical artist? Call it pretentious, unnecessary, and anything else you can muster with your cynical little mind, but I interpret the tribute as exactly the type of incorporation of diverse influences that metal often needs.
The oft-used phrase “not for everyone” fits Blood Inside like a made to order glove. Metal for the masses? Try avantgarde for the upper classes. The Ulver of today is not the Ulver of yesterday, so those expecting anything should clear their ears of wax gained from any prior releases, as this album begs for a fresh listen. Tracks like “Christmas” and “It Is Not Sound” prove the method in Ulver’s mayhem, and anyone tiring of his or her music collection and currently seeking a challenge should buy this album and make his or her own interpretations.
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