The primary band of visionary Kristoffer Rygg, who early in his
career went by the name Garm and now is known as Trickster G,
Ulver presents one of the most unique and baffling of recording
histories of any metal band.
Once upon a time, Ulver was a simple black metal band, though
even their tenure there can only be described as unconventional.
Their debut, Bergtatt, is likely the most "normal" album they've
ever recorded, a raw, old-school black metal affair not a lot
different from their then-contemporaries.
For their followup, though, came the first surprise, as
Kveldssanger is essentially an all-acoustic black metal album,
rich with traditional Norse folk melodies and chants, certainly
not what many might expect as a band's second album.
Following that was a return to semi-normalcy, 1997's
being even more raw and basic than the debut, with lyrical themes
based entirely on wolves as evidenced by the song titles (indeed,
Ulver is the Norwegian word for wolves).
And, just like that, Ulver were no longer a black metal band.
In one of the most startling left turns in the history of extreme
(eclipsing that of
Ulver released in 1999 the album
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell,
the title alone being a loud signal that this had little if anything
in common with the previous releases.
With 2000's Perdition the transformation was complete, as not
only were any remnants of their black metal past erased, there's
really no trace of any metal of any kind.
Ulver now delves into all sorts of trip-hop, electronica, and
ambient experimentalism, much of which is interesting in itself, but
simply no longer relevant to a metal forum.
Kudos to Trickster G, though, for working on his own terms.