Ulver - Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden review




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Reviewer:
9.0

243 users:
8.26
Band: Ulver
Album: Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Release date: March 1997


01. Hymne I - Wolf And Fear
02. Hymne II - Wolf And The Devil
03. Hymne III - Wolf And Hatred
04. Hymne IV - Wolf And Man
05. Hymne V - Wolf And The Moon
06. Hymne VI - Wolf And Passion
07. Hymne VII - Wolf And Destiny
08. Hymne VIII - Wolf And The Night


Is there any Black Metal fan who has not heard about this album? Hard to believe! But in case you have not listened to it yet... you may read my review before you do.

This is an excellent (and I mean it!) black metal album in all musical ways except... production. But before I get to this point, let me tell you about the music.

Nattens Madrigal contains so many beautiful melodies and haunting riffs that it is hard to believe! Sometimes they are not so obvious for somebody who is not accustomed to the genre, but there are plenty of them. Some of them are quite complex and sophisticated. But what is more important: they are beautiful! Each song and its melody line could be rearranged to classical music or even pop music and sound stunning. Garm's vocal timbre is fantastic. I cannot imagine better black metal screams. They are perfect. In one word: you have to listen this album before you die. It is a must-have for every metal fan's collection! Hats off, ladies and gentlemen!

OK, speaking about the production... Many years ago, when I listened to it for the first time, I thought I had gotten a bad or damaged CD! Haha, seriously! But after a few minutes I realised this "sound" was made intentionally! I was amazed... in a negative way. Do not get me wrong: black metal might (or should) sound raw and harsh, but this album does not sound at all! It is literally "a bridge too far". Production kills it! It is an unbearable experience. Even Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger sounds much better than Nattens Madrigal. If Nattens Madrigal was some kind of sonic experiment, it was a failure. Black metal does not sound better with bad production.

Take Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Burzum's Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, or Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse, for example. All classic black metal LPs, highly acclaimed by critics and fans. Milestones of the genre. Both recorded and produced in a proper way by a professional engineer (Eirik Hundvin aka Pytten) in a professional studio (Grieg Hall, Bergen). Do not tell me that Nattens Madrigal could not sound like those aforementioned albums (or at least similar)! Compare Nattens Madrigal with new releases like recent Mgła's albums and you will see what proper underground production means. There is a possibility to sound raw and crushing (juicy, so to speak) at the same time. Every listener should have a chance to listen to well-recorded music. I do not buy rubbish that "true" black metal production should sound like nails scraping a glass toilet. Want a harsh sound? Play any of your records on a rubbish stereo system in a room with poor acoustics. You will ruin even audiophile records! But there are some black metal fans (including myself) who enjoy listening to well-recorded black metal LPs on a decent hi-fi stereo. Unfortunately, Nattens Madrigal is not one of them!

P. S.
Recently I purchased Ulver's Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 CD box, which included a remastered Nattens Madrigal CD. It is a proof that Ulver revisited their sound and production attitude! I am going to check this out as soon as possible. I hope it sounds better!

P. P. S.
I have listened to the remastered version and it sounds much better! The sound is clearer and properly balanced. I would rate the new production around 7 or 8.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 2

Written by BetulaObscura | 19.11.2017


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Markus
Rating:
7.0
Ulver have been a staple of the elite black metal community since their inception. Though often associated with Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum and Mayhem, those founding bands who started the original ?Black Metal Circle?, Ulver have always been different.

Allegedly, Century Black had signed Ulver to release this album after hearing about the underground success of their previous works. Confident about a return, Century Black gave Ulver several thousand dollars with which to record the album. Surely though, anyone reading this review has seen the few flashy promotional photos of Ulver that depicts the band riding in a convertible wearing black suits and sunglasses. Ulver took the money given to them by Century Black, bought those clothes and that car, and then proceeded to record the album on a four track cassette recorder in one of the forests in Norway. Or so the story goes.

Read more ››
published 02.09.2003 | Comments (5)

Guest review by
Sidragasum
Rating:
8.8
This album has to be one of my favourite black metal albums ever. There is no other album with a sound quite like this album. Many will tell you that this album sounds terrible. They have a point - it isn't very well produced (by black metal's standards), but that's what makes this album different.

One time I was listening to a song off this album when my friend walked into my room - the first thing he said was "Have they ever heard of the bass knob on their amps?" The guitar sound on this album is pretty much just pure treble. But it works really well. It makes the bass very clear - the bass is very bassy, so it complements the guitar. The bass-lines on this album are quite interesting, they're not the same as the guitar a lot of the time. Where the guitar is playing in tremolo, the bass (not all the time, but at some points in some songs) will play the note that the guitar is playing just once. This works really well and gives the album a unique sound. This album is a very melodic album, the bass and the guitars complement each other extremely well. The drums on this album are relatively quiet, and there's little variation - it's pretty much just blast beats for the whole album. Not like that's a bad thing, it works very well. The vocal style is pretty standard for black metal, and it suits the music perfectly.

Read more ››
published 12.07.2006 | Comments (23)


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 42 users
20.11.2017 - 23:28
Bad English
Masterchief
Amazing review, I agree its esentional BM album and I would say not every BM fdan but every metalhead must have this one
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I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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20.11.2017 - 23:48
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Production a 2? the production is a solid 10 out of 10 because it works so well and the band achieved what they wanted to achieve. Piss off people who like their sound clean when this kind of music needs sounds that torture you ears.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

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05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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21.11.2017 - 21:41
BetulaObscura
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 20.11.2017 at 23:48

Production a 2? the production is a solid 10 out of 10 because it works so well and the band achieved what they wanted to achieve. Piss off people who like their sound clean when this kind of music needs sounds that torture you ears.


Yes.
2.
And I mean it.
Band wanted to achieve crap, flat and tiny sound and they did! That is why I gave 2. I was thinking about this for quite long time (actually since 2005) and my opinion is not rash.

"Production" on this album is kind of joke. Actually there is no production here. Not only record of the instruments or "dirt" sound created by the band but also weak mastering and "loudness war" effect is responsible for "torturing ears". Not guitars or blast beats make your ears bleed but somebody who think that maximum volume on each sound on mastering console is the best way to present (metal) music. That's why "production" of this album is that bad. That is why I buy the oldest versions (1st press) of the albums because in most cases there are far more better mastered (without loudness war) than their modern versions.

Check the new remastered sound f this album on the Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 - you will get same music, same brutal sound but far more better mastered and "balanced" (so to speak). Now you have more space in the music. Not flat, tiny sound.
If you want make your ears bleed just turn the volume knob up. As simple as that!
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15.12.2017 - 17:16
pdepmcp
Nattens Madrigal has been a classic of its age and should be judged for what it was: the last underground release by Ulver and one of the last release before BM turned in to a world-wide phenomenon.
IMHO, production is not bad, especially if compared to what they wanted to achieve at that time: harsh and haunting sound. Today we are somehow used to clean sounds in BM, in 1997 only BM spice girls (AKA Dimmu Borgir) had a clean production. Being clean at that time meant being discarded by tr00 fans.
The only exception to this rule that I can recall is Nemesis Divina, but still lot of people prefers Dark Medieval Times or The Shadowthrone (in terms of production, I mean).
BTW, I'm listening back to it right now, after some years that I didn't (thanks for it), and I still enjoy the raw production.

The main problem with this record is that nowadays there is no more need for it. Neither in therms of filthy production (the infamous necrosound), nor in therms of style.
It sounds old and flat. It's not historically innovative (as you mentioned in the review, a lot of band before played that kind of raw black metal) or the best to date in it's style. Marduk, Dark Funeral, Immortal and so many others played that way in the years after (and before) Nattens release that they went over it, or at least made it sound like one of the many.

It was among the the bests of the best for a while. Now it's just a nice memory of the past (to me, at least). I don't think I'd suggest it to someone who's trying to understand what black metal is or was, now in 2017.
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16.12.2017 - 09:43
BetulaObscura
Written by pdepmcp on 15.12.2017 at 17:16

Nattens Madrigal has been a classic of its age and should be judged for what it was: the last underground release by Ulver and one of the last release before BM turned in to a world-wide phenomenon.
IMHO, production is not bad, especially if compared to what they wanted to achieve at that time: harsh and haunting sound. Today we are somehow used to clean sounds in BM, in 1997 only BM spice girls (AKA Dimmu Borgir) had a clean production. Being clean at that time meant being discarded by tr00 fans.
The only exception to this rule that I can recall is Nemesis Divina, but still lot of people prefers Dark Medieval Times or The Shadowthrone (in terms of production, I mean).
BTW, I'm listening back to it right now, after some years that I didn't (thanks for it), and I still enjoy the raw production.

The main problem with this record is that nowadays there is no more need for it. Neither in therms of filthy production (the infamous necrosound), nor in therms of style.
It sounds old and flat. It's not historically innovative (as you mentioned in the review, a lot of band before played that kind of raw black metal) or the best to date in it's style. Marduk, Dark Funeral, Immortal and so many others played that way in the years after (and before) Nattens release that they went over it, or at least made it sound like one of the many.

It was among the the bests of the best for a while. Now it's just a nice memory of the past (to me, at least). I don't think I'd suggest it to someone who's trying to understand what black metal is or was, now in 2017.



I think it is one of the best BM albums of all time. I am still enjoying it! Definitely I would recommended it to anyone who wants to know what BM is. For me this is timeless classic!

I do not agree that those kind of albums are no more needed. Far from it! BM is standing strong. Raw production, harshness, grimness, coldness, fury, anger etc. it is still present in BM, maybe even stronger than ever. It is always nice to hear uncompromising and hard-hitting piece of black art.
Music industry always wanted put BM into "safe money golden cage" but except few bands the rest remain true to the roots. BM is not a matter of fashion and never will be.

Well, like I said above few times: I appreciate raw production but this particular one on the Nattens Madrigal is just "overshoot". For me it was unsuccessful sound experiment.

Thank you for the interesting comment!
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