Nattens Madrigal (1997)
Ulver released three essential 1990’s Scandinavian black metal albums in my opinion. The three could not be anymore different from one another yet all encompass an essential thread of black metal. The first (and my personal favorite of the three) Bergtatt is just a beautifully crafted and thought out album. The melodies are strong, the vocals are haunting and the mood perfectly grim. It’s a perfect album except for the fact that it’s just over a half an hour long. Way too short. The follow-up Kveldssanger was a total curveball: all acoustic, Gregorian folk music. Despite the stylistic change it still has the same overall feeling of their first album. It can get a little old after awhile though, I prefer listening to songs from it on random on iTunes. Then they went in the complete opposite direction again with Nattens Madrigal. They went from a soothing acoustic album to the harshest black metal album I’ve ever heard. There are bands out there with shitty production (Darkthrone), angry riffs (Inquisition) and disgusting moods (Watain) but this album tops anything any of those bands ever did. The stories behind this album are abundant and we’ll never get the real truth. But as it is this is the harshest black metal ever recorded and it has to be heard to be believed. Then after these three albums Ulver ceased to be black metal and went on to dark ambient music leaving us with this epic trilogy.
Favorite Song (Bergtatt): Capitel V: Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene
Favorite Song (Kveldssanger): Halling
Favorite Song (Nattens Madrigal): Hymne VI: Of Wolf and Passion