13 November 2007

Shadows of The Sun

Few bands are less predictable than Ulver. Their music has ranged from the primal Black Metal of Nattens Madrigal to the idyllic Folk of Kveldssanger to the dissonant electronic experimentation of Blood Inside. Ulver continues their time-honored tradition of breaking with tradition with their latest release, Shadows of the Sun.

This time around, Garm and company have presented us with a quiet, melancholic and down-tempo opus; it sounds like nothing so much as a darkened evolution of Sigur Ros. This, I assure you is a good thing. While it may be nigh on impossible to discern individual notes within these songs, the emotional punch that Ulver's array of ambient sound packs is nonetheless potent--indeed, it is in that sense comparable to Kveldssanger, though Shadows of the Sun is entirely electronic.

Each soung on the album seems to flow into the next ("All the Love", for example, transitions seamlessly into "Like Music"). Each contributes to the album's atmosphere of gloom and sadness while at the same time maintaining its own unique aura. "Eos," "Vigil" and "Solitude" (a cover of Black Sabbath's homonymous song from 1971's Master of Reality) are among the standout tracks, the latter being a particularly poignant variation on the original version.

Though it will surely appeal to fans of Ulver's later material more than those who favor the band's earlier work, Shadows of the Sun is an excellent album, and well worth repeated listenings.

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