CD Review

Ulver – “Blood Inside”

By Marcus Pan

Blood InsideI'm not quite sure what to make of Ulver. I can certainly see where it's different than your usual brand of rock 'n roll or goth-metal or whatever name you would like to submit, but it's extremely disjointed. So disjointed in fact that it can sometimes lose your interest as it rumbles into splattering territory. For the Love of God, for example, opens with a grungey step drum percussion surrounded by lucid chorales and windy soundscapes. Vocals only barely keep in step with the laid down rhythm. On one hand it's interesting, unusual and I can easily believe we have some talented players here. But on the other if the elements of the track don't stay together I'm hard pressed to refer to it as a "song."

Christmas opens with tinkling bells hanging from the collar of a spastic Rudolph who got into the crank stash. The crashing intro of the other instruments, vocals included, makes for a riveting opening however leveling Christmas as one of the highlights of Blood Inside. The infusion of so many different elements comes across well done here – lingering just on the border of complete scatter-concept and lucidly controlled rock elements.

Blinded by Blood opens ambiently with an almost pleasant feel to it and retains a floaty angelic quality. Even with the offset vocals it remains pleasant – nicely done. It is Not Sound on the other hand utilizes various synth whistles and such banging against one another to bad effect, creating an off-kilter sound that is far from enjoyable at the outset that grows into a more metallic dirge that has a bit of class but still retains an otherworldly sound. Some weird classical melodies on an alien synthesizer provides an interesting effect, but I'm still not so sure about this one.

The Truth starts as a big pile of percussive mush. In the Red is rife with rhythm and time changes, drums and string ensembles sending the track careening into weird territory. Somehow it's still one of the more together tracks on Blood Inside at least for a little while. As it nears center it infuses other discorporeal samples into the mix sending the track careening headlong down a surreal highway of disinformation as it cracks apart at the seams leaving parts and pieces on the road in its wake.

Ulver – well, they're an interesting lot. That is heavily apparent. Sometimes they come out interesting, but for a good portion of Blood Inside I find myself wanting, at the very least, a less disjointed sound. It's strange, certainly, but I'm not so sure I can sit through too many spins of Blood Inside without wanting to go back to the glory days of peyote and mesc in the hopes of grasping what the hell I'm listening to.

Contact Information:
The End Records
Post: 331 Rio Grande #58. SLC, UT, 84101, USA
Phone: (801) 355-0963

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