Review Summary: A continuation of their signature sound
Picking up right where they left off, Nova Scotia’s premier instrumental acoustic neofolk outfit, Ulvesang, have released The Hunt
, the highly anticipated follow up to their 2015 self-titled debut. Again released through Nordvis, The Hunt
is a continuation of their established sound found on their first record. Anyone familiar with their previous release can expect the same level of quality and sound herein.
The focal point of Ulvesang is the complimenting acoustic guitars of Alex Boyd & Ana Dujakovic. Often playing off of each other with rhythmic arpeggios and plucked melodies, their reverb laden sound is aimed to resonate with the primeval feelings within. There is a certain introspective quality to their music that evokes an array of emotions from a wistful longing to a peaceful tranquility. This time around, however, there are a few new elements peppered in. The addition of hand drums on certain tracks and the chiming bells found on “The End”, help carry certain passages. Throughout the album there are still the deep droning choral chants that help fill the space between the at times wandering, almost stream of conscious-like guitars. The overabundant use of chants, while sometimes effective, can come across more as a patch to fill the empty space between the guitars rather than strategically placed for their ability to elevate the songs. They are, however, one of this albums biggest strengths in achieving that ritualistic connection with the great wilderness.
Once again, the guitars are recorded direct in instead of with a microphone, and that distinct sound of a pickup is an immediately noticeable element to their music. While it is an unconventional choice for this style of acoustic instrumental neofolk, Ulvesang have combined this recording technique with heavy layers of reverb and delay to create their signature sound. It’s certainly unique, however in a way it somewhat loses the more natural feeling their acoustic guitars are capable of producing. In addition to their recording techniques, there is a slight looseness to the playing throughout which can both add to the natural atmosphere of their sound, but can also pose as a distraction when focusing on the intricate playing. While these criticisms can also be viewed and appreciated as artistic choices, there is no denying Ulvesang’s ability to craft beautiful and interesting songs which they have once again proven on The Hunt
The biggest surprise on the album lays waiting on the penultimate track, “The Truth”, where we are introduced to a welcome addition of atmospheric singing beyond their staple oohs and aahs. On first listen, it caught me by surprise as I went into this only expecting instrumentals, but my reaction quickly turned into appreciation and a slight disappointment that these were not used more throughout The Hunt
. They are a very welcome addition, and in my opinion add a fantastic new element to Ulvesang’s sound that hopefully they will explore more moving forward, as it works rather well with the music and atmosphere.
is a wonderful addition to the instrumental neofolk realm. There might not be a great deal of evolution from their debut but their sound is still unique and distinguishable among their peers. Ulvesang’s future is still very bright, and wherever they go from here, I believe the same level of quality found on both of their albums will follow.