Wednesday 3 July 2019
This experimental iconoclastic once-was-metal band explores new styles for every album, and they strike hard with each one

If you prefer predictability and ‘safe’ bands who always sound the same, you should steer away from Ulver (Norwegian for wolves). The Norwegian outfit has made it their modus operandi to shed skin for every album they make – each one with a different colour.

Ulver has shape-shifted many times in the 25 years since their beginning in Oslo in 1993. The band has done pure black metal, folky acoustic hymnals, atmospheric music, prog rock and orchestral music. But perhaps the most drastic transformation was on 2017’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar, an album which showcased a “pop” direction, albeit one suffused with a mythic melancholy.

It’s like one grand, meta-musical experiment, seeing just how far they can take things, and how far they can push their audience outside of their usual comfort zone. You never know what you are getting, and that’s what keeps Ulver interesting.

This May, Ulver will release their 12th album, Drone Activity. It’ll be exciting to hear where they are taking us next (here’s a little teaser).

The first 15 years of existence, Ulver never played live, adding to the mystery and unpredictability surrounding the band. Nowadays, you gaze at the stage to see what machinery they have set up: amplifiers, keyboards, kettledrums, laptops etc.

It could look like this:

Or this:

One thing is for sure – an immersive light show accompanies the cinematic scope of their music. Ulver is one of those bands who dedicate lots of time to the production details of their gigs. So, no matter which genre you are into, you should definitely follow these Norwegian wolves when they give sound to their chameleon-like ever-changing music.