Ulver Blood Inside

Those who have been following Ulver’s career since 2000’s landmark Perdition City should set aside almost all expectations for Blood Inside, for, while Garm and company have never been known to stagnate, this is easily the biggest stylistic shift the group have undergone since they traded in their spikes and corpse paint for sequencers and melody-driven electronica. As opposed to the marked minimalism of the last few releases, Blood Inside is melodramatic, bloated, overwhelming, chaotic, and brilliant in at least some respects. There are moments of undeniable beauty and poise, although numerous, tactful listens are required to dissect them with the scrutiny they deserve. Main man Kristoffer G. Rigg’s astounding vocals have taken a turn for the more soulful and impassioned, although the melodies occasionally lack coherence and collapse under their own weight. The essential faults of Blood Inside lie in its density and surrealistic, grandiose tone — there is simply too much going on at once, and the sheer pomposity of what is attempted here detracts somewhat from the morose, desolate atmosphere Ulver fans have grown accustomed to. However, even the most critical listener can at least attest to one thing: certainly nobody, perhaps not even the band themselves, expected this. (The End)