Ulver (Norwegian for ‘wolves’) are a black metal band that incorporates elements of symphonic styles, electronica, folk, ambient, and avant-garde. With so many styles in one project, you’ve got to tread carefully to make sure that everything works together and doesn’t end up butting heads, resulting in a musical mess. So with their newest release, ‘War of the Roses’, has Ulver managed to pull off this feat? Check after the jump to find out!
‘War of the Roses’ is an expansive musical journey, often times feeling more like the soundtrack to a dark fantasy film (such as Legend) than a traditional band release. The album switches from near heavy rock songs to passages in other pieces that are minimalistic ambient etudes. However, there is a motif that hangs over every track, a sense of loss, yearning, fear, and beauty. These emotions make this an album best appreciated on a foggy or rainy day.
The production of this album is nearly overwhelming. The amount of textures at times is mindboggling and will definitely require multiple listens to fully appreciate. Yet, even with the aural insanity that assaults your ears, there is always a sense of musicality and beauty. I could try and go through the list of instruments but it’s near impossible. Just trust me when I say that the breadth of instrumentation on ‘War of the Roses’ is astonishing and always fits with sublime grace and beauty.
The Final Word: Without a doubt, ‘War of the Roses’ is not an album for everyone. The album demands a strong amount of patience as well as an appreciation for songs that can (and will) change dramatically within moments. If you can handle all of that, Ulver‘s ‘War of the Roses’ will provide you with a gorgeous, terrifying, emotional journey.