Ulver
Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler


5.0
classic

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
December 23rd, 2006 | 2508 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


Bergtatt is Ulver’s first album, as well as the first of their Black Metal Trilogie, which includes Kveldssanger and Nattens Madrigal. Out of those three, this is definitely the best. Kveldssanger, which is a purely folk album (ironic that it’s a part of the “Black Metal” Trilogie, huh?), tends to drag a bit and Nattens Madrigal is just impossible to listen to sometimes due to its extremely heavy, raw sound and awful production. Bergtatt is somewhere in the middle. It contains the folk elements of Kveldssanger and the heaviness of Nattens Madrigal, but neither element ever outdoes or overtakes the other. The balance between heavy and light (in both the vocals and music) is perfect, making this one of the most accessible black metal albums out there. While bands like Burzum and Emperor make music that will most likely only appeal to someone who already has an appreciation for extreme music, just about anybody can pick this album up and enjoy it upon first listen. This is a great album to bridge the gap between black metal and other genres.

A lot of the more popular black metal bands don’t fool around much with clean vocals, indeed, the genre isn’t known for them, but Ulver used them to a great extent on this album. Vocalist Garm can sing like an angel. While it may seem ironic to describe a black metal singer’s voice as angelic, that really is the best comparison there is. He usually chooses to sing in a higher range than one might expect in the genre, but it works with the music extremely well. Instead of traditional singing, Garm opts for a very rhythmic chanting style that is almost hypnotic in nature. Of course this wouldn’t be black metal without the traditional growled vocals. Garm does not disappoint with those either. While they aren’t as enjoyable to listen to as his clean vocals, his growl is definitely one of my favorites in the genre, probably second only to Varg Vikernes. Garm is definitely one of the most well-rounded vocalists ever, not only in black metal, but in every other genre as well. The opening scream in “Bergtatt – Ind I Fjeldkamrene” is easily one of my favorite moments in music ever.

The music that backs Garm up is just as enjoyable to listen to as his vocals are. The blend of folk and metal really showcases the musicianship of the band, who used acoustic guitars for much of the album as well as the standard raw distorted electric guitars. The music is very atmospheric; it conjures images of a deep, dark forest at the foot of an ominous mountain that looms high over the countryside. One thing I love about black metal is the bands’ abilities to convey imagery and atmosphere through their music. The riffs are heavy but also catchy, and their acoustic work is phenomenal. The band’s mix of chordal picking and fingerpicking would put even the most accomplished folk musicians to shame. “Een Stemme Locker” is a four minute acoustic instrumental (well there are some vocals but it’s largely instrumental) that’s incredibly soothing and relaxing, and although it’s essentially the same thing repeated over and over, it never gets boring. Each of the four other songs contain acoustic passages to contrast the heavy sections, and the band makes flawless transitions from heavy to light and back again.

One thing that is sort of unusual about this album is the production quality. Everything sounds great; all the instruments get equal treatment as far as the mix goes, and everything can be heard loud and clear. Good production is atypical for the black metal genre but once again, Ulver chose to exceed the boundaries and standards set by other bands. Other black metal bands almost seem to take pride in the low production quality of their albums, but this is not so with Bergtatt. I can only wish that they followed this same formula with Nattens Madrigal, but beggars can't be choosers.

This is my favorite black metal album. Everything about it is perfect, from the vocals to the musicianship to the song arrangements. In my mind, the three essential black metal albums will always be Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse, Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, and Ulver’s Bergtatt. This is the best of the three. If this can beat those two albums then it is certainly something to behold. I don’t care what genres you prefer. Get this. It’s probably the easiest black metal album to get into, and once you hear it you’ll probably want to delve deeper into the world of black metal and extreme music in general. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of music should consider this an essential listen. Ulver smashed the standards set by the black metal bands before them and created their own, one that is certainly almost impossible to exceed by anyone, even themselves.



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user ratings (1046)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This was one of those reviews where I just couldn't think of an intro so the one I have sucks a lot.

p.s. bassist, get this now

iarescientists
December 23rd 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just couldn't think of an intro so the one I have sucks a lot.

agreed

Hatshepsut
December 23rd 2006


1997 Comments


I have this. Time to listen to it.

Wait no i don't :upset:This Message Edited On 12.23.06

Txus
December 23rd 2006


75 Comments


This is my second favorite Ulver album and my favorite BM era Ulver album. Good review.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 23rd 2006


2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The intro's not that bad.
/votes.

south_of_heaven 11
December 23rd 2006


5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hump this album daily.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ok i took out that first paragraph because eliminator said to

Eliminator
December 23rd 2006


2067 Comments


And as always, I'm right.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

TO ME, YOU ARE PERFECT

iarescientists
December 23rd 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok i took out that first paragraph because eliminator said to


THANK GOD

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah since i can't write amazing intros like you :ROLLS EYES:

Thor
December 23rd 2006


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is pretty sick, but it sucks that it's fairly unknown.

Great review as well, but I think your Burzum one was better.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
December 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=chan]p.s. bassist, get this now[/quote]

k.

Shit review. ugh albumbase doesn't have this.This Message Edited On 12.23.06

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really think you're gonna like this.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
December 24th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is like really really good and stuff.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good, I knew you'd like it.

Also I edited in another paragraph and added a sentence or two to the conclusion.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2006


16089 Comments


Whoah what. Chan is like the uber Staff member apparently or something.

edit: chan stfuThis Message Edited On 12.24.06

Erratic
December 24th 2006


1120 Comments


[quote="mynameischan"]Bergtatt is Ulver’s first album, as well as the first of their Black Metal Trilogie[/quote]

It's spelled "Trilogy"

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not the way they spell it. and wtf i know what i'm doing


and ilu ur gayThis Message Edited On 12.24.06

Intransit
December 25th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, Ive been looking for this on slsk, but all the downloads crap out on me.



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