Ulver - _A Quick Fix of Melancholy_
(Jester Records, 2003)
by: Quentin Kalis (10 out of 10)
The tone of the album is accurately -- and predictably -- described in the title. But exploring the darker aspects of humanity is hardly new territory for Ulver, as virtually all of their releases explore bleak themes. What does change is the manner in which those themes are explored, as Ulver are seemingly content to switch genres from one release to the other. Apart from the thematic material, the only other constants during their ten years of existence have been the use of distinctively Ulverian melodies and the presence of Kristoffer (Garm) Rygg -- who is now Ulver's sole member. But even against this background, _AQFoM_ stands out as being particularly creepy and perhaps more avant-garde then any other Ulver release.

Paradoxically layered and minimalist, easy categorisation beyond vague and unhelpful terms such as "electronica" is near impossible and not worth attempting. Stirring neoclassical strings dominate alongside Garm's potent vocals, which continue to improve with each successive release. On "Vowels" he attempts some sort of pseudo-operatic style, with the passion and strength black metal bands can only dream about. Electronic beats -- which I usually despise with a passion -- succeed as they tend to be evocative rather than danceable. A remix of "Nattleite" off _Kveldssanger_ ends the album, and for the first time they have attempted a rework of material from their black metal period. Ironically, it is considerably harsher then the original. Try as I might, I could not find any flaws -- at best it could be said to be too short.

If _Nattens Madrigal_ was the ugly face of Ulver, then this is its very antithesis; an ethereal and eerie album absolutely beautiful in its stark simplicity. Easily Ulver's finest since the excellent _Perdition City_.

(article published 27/5/2004)


ALBUMS
12/9/2007 K Sarampalis 8 Ulver - Shadows of the Sun
9/19/2005 P Azevedo 8 Ulver - Blood Inside
10/14/2003 P Azevedo 4.5 Ulver - 1993-2003: 1st Decade in the Machines
9/6/2003 A Wee 9 Ulver - Lyckantropen Themes
4/12/2002 Q Kalis 9.5 Ulver - Silencing the Singing
10/19/2001 A Wee 8.5 Ulver - Silence Teaches You How To Sing
6/7/1997 S Hoeltzel 8 Ulver - Nattens Madrigal
GIGS
4/19/2011 K Sarampalis Ulver / Virus / Zweizz The Wolves Appear on Stage
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