Tag Archives: Ulver

The Blake Album

“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is an illustrated book by the influential English poet William Blake created 1790 to 1793

“Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is an 1998 album by Ulver, sometimes reffered to as just “The Blake Album” where the illustration’s by Blake is replaced by music, the text/lyrics is exactly the same.

For those interested in the entire text and William Blake’s impressive etched plates, click here

In 1998 Norwegian music collective ULVER led by vocalist Kristoffer Rygg, was known mainly as a black metal band with some acoustic elements from classical and/or folk music, after the release of their three first albums. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell saw a huge change in their artistic direction.

There is a black metal vibe left from the previous album, but this is a magic mixture of elements from other styles like Industrial, Electronic and Ambient etc that you won’t really find anywhere else, that combined with those mysterius and spiritual lyrics provide for a  very avantgarde rock to say the least, a complex music that demands a lot and rewards equally too those patient souls able to dig deep enough.

While this album at first glance seems very dark and almost scary, there is something very beautiful in the interaction or contrast of those acoustic moments and vocals clashed with passages of brutal distorted sections of hard industrial rock and dark vocals – perfectly illustrating “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.

To me personally it is that kind of album, that I don’t visit too often, but when i do I always spent the entire hour needed to hear it all at ones.

Im not an expert in Literature and this is just by own interpretation: In reflection of the above mentioned harmony of contradictions, it is my believe that William Blake’s idea was exactly to highlight that Heaven and Hell or rather The Natural Element and The Civilized Element, was not contradicting and “The Marriage” of those are  needed.

 

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Ulver : “Providence”

“Masters of Darkness” – Part 2

Norwegian band Ulver have allways been very unpredictable. From black metal to soundscapes, from symphonic to noise, a musical evolution and experimentation you find in very few bands. with a heavy reliance on electronic recording techniques.
The only clear line, is that they are almost always dark and melancholic.

From 1995-1997 they made 3, folk-themed black metal albums, Bergtatt 1995, Kveldssanger 1996, Nattens madrigal 1997, Kveldssanger with classical guitars, cello and chamber chants, less heavy , while still having a folk theme. With Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1998), came a sudden shift in style moving into a mix of electronics, industrial, avant-garde, ambient and metal, a double album of epic proportions. Since then Ulver have been all over the place, with different experiments.

“Providence” from their eighth studio album “Wars of the Roses” features Kristoffer Rygg’s deep vocals contrasted by female vocals from guest singer, Siri Stranger. A beautiful piece mixed from several styles.

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