Ulver - Wars Of The Roses


8 | 161 votes |
Release date: 25 April 2011
Style: Electronic Avantgarde

Owners:

127 have it
34 want it


01. February MMX
02. Norwegian Gothic
03. Providence
04. September IV
05. England
06. Island
07. Stone Angels

Line-up
Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg - vocals
Tore Ylwizaker - programming
Daniel O'Sullivan - guitar
Jørn H. Sværen - drums
Ole Alexander Halstensgård - electronics
Tomas Pettersen - drums

Guest musicians:
Attila Csihar - vocals on track 3
Emil Huemer - guitar on track 4
Trond Mjøen - acoustic & lap steel guitar on track 6, electric guitar on tracks 1 and 4, electric bass guitar on tracks 3 and 4
Anders Møller - percussion on track 6
Steve Noble - drums & percussion on tracks 2 and 7
Daniel Quill - violin on tracks 2, 3 and 5
Siri Stranger - vocals on track 3
Stephen Thrower - clarinet on track 7
Alex Ward - clarinet on tracks 2 and 3
Stian Westerhus - electric guitar on track 6, bowed electric guitar on tracks 2, 3 and 7

Additional info
Recorded in Crystal Canyon Studios, Oslo, Norway & Orgone Studios, London, England.
Orgone session engineered by Jaime Gomez Arellano.
All tracks mixed by John Fryer, Empire Recording Rooms, Oslo, Norway, except track 7 mixed by O'Sullivan at the Johnstone House, London, England.
Mastered by Espen Berg, Livingroom Studios, Oslo, Norway.

Cover by Trine + Kim Design Studio.

"Stone Angels" is written by Keith Waldrop and was first published as a chapbook by the American small press Ibstress in 1997. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Release dates: April 25th - UK, May 3rd - USA.

Staff review by
BitterCOld
Rating:
8.7
Oh those wolves. Those tricky Norwegians, Ulver, are back. Blah blah blah. I'm not going to mince words retracing their evolution and I'll assume you've passed the 101 class. Lesson not needed.

I have enjoyed the vast majority of their sonic journey, and their last, 2007's Shadows Of The Sun was one of my absolute favorite releases of that year. To say I was eagerly anticipating this album would be a massive understatement.

Read more ››
published 29.04.2011 | Comments (31)

The Wolves are back and their latest represents sort of a culmination of their work in the past dozen years. "SotS" has the loudest (softest?) influence, with this album having the same mellow feel as their last album, as well as the Silence EPs. The album is more sporadic than it's predecessor. Garm gets joined by a female vocalist on a couple songs. Others see 'real' instrumentation, or the occasional cacophonous outburst reminiscent of moments of "Blood Inside". The album closes with the near 15 minute track that is almost a spoken word poem coupled with ambient background noise. Not a wild left turn for the band, but more the culmination of a process.

BitterCOld's picks | More picks ››

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Comments: 45   Visited by: 598 users
06.05.2011 - 05:32
Kenos
Account deleted
Written by Guest on 06.05.2011 at 01:54

Written by Guest on 02.05.2011 at 23:15

The only reason I raised my rating from 9 to 10 is "Stone Angels". I think that if Ulver had decided to close the last 15 minutes of "Wars" with some "normal" songs like the others, it wouldn't have been the same.
It moved me to tears. I read a lot of complaints about it all around the web: "boring", "nothing really happens", "annoying spoken word", "too long"... And so on.

Guys... Remember: Ulver are also the authors of that 'musicaliterary' (sorry for the neologism) opus named "Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell", and "Stone Angels" is here to recall it.
This mean that, once again, music itself cannot prescind from the words by which it is not only "accompanied", but also LED.
Don't listen to it as if you're listening to any other song. Read (and comprehend) the poem while "Stone Angels" goes on. It will give the music shape, imagery, sense. And those flat 15 minutes of boring ambiance and spoken words will start becoming something different...

It may sound pathetic, but if there really is a so-called "paradise", then I think it would sound like "Stone Angels".


"Our time is a river, theirs the glassy sea..."


Once again, my friend, you've succeeded in capturing my attention with your insightful description! Kudos! I've been disliking "Stone Angels" immensely thus far, but your interpretation has compelled me to think that there is some sort of "esotericism" to it. I myself don't want to miss out on any "special moments" that I may have ignored/missed up until now. Who knows? A second, consecutive "10" might even be on the cards here...
You really should review an album that you have strong feelings for. I'd be darn interesting to read.


Hi Mecha! You know, I didn't like "Stone Angels" either... But first impressions, especially if confusing (and moreover if we're talking about Ulver!), shouldn't be considered that much. "What's this huge pile of boredom?" was my first reaction, and it lasted until I realized that there was a poem behind it; therefore, something I needed to weigh and understand.
Now that I literally know it by heart I think that Ulver couldn't choose a better closer for "Wars of the Roses". It stands as an immense epitaph after all the sorrow we've been through during the previous songs (think of the lyrics from "Island" or "Providence").

Music in "Stone Angels" is handled quite oddly and it takes shape as the poem goes on, sometimes reflecting perfectly the peaceful mood of verses: for example the sparkling effects on "to reach empty space think away each object.." or the angelic choirs on "our time is a river, theirs the glassy sea". But my favourite part of the song (and of the whole album) is the very last minute: everything disappears and is suspended in a metaphysical silence except for a subtle shimmering effect on the background, and O'Sullivan tells the last stanzas almost hieratically (it is not accident that he names a certain "Angelic Doctor", who is Thomas Aquinas), ending with concise yet suggestive words - "Night, with its crypt, its cradlesong. Rage for day's end: impatience, like a boat in the evening. Towards the horizon, as down a sounding line. Barcarolle, funeral march. Nocturne at high noon".
Now I've just finished writing and sticking the poem here in my bedroom. I'm proud of my work! Actually I'd really like to tell everything I feel about it but I notice that it's a bit late (wtf it's 4:30 AM) and I need to rest a while, so.. see you 'round!

P.S. oh and thanks again for your appreciation
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06.05.2011 - 13:07
MechanisT
Account deleted
Written by Guest on 06.05.2011 at 05:32

Written by Guest on 06.05.2011 at 01:54

Written by Guest on 02.05.2011 at 23:15

The only reason I raised my rating from 9 to 10 is "Stone Angels". I think that if Ulver had decided to close the last 15 minutes of "Wars" with some "normal" songs like the others, it wouldn't have been the same.
It moved me to tears. I read a lot of complaints about it all around the web: "boring", "nothing really happens", "annoying spoken word", "too long"... And so on.

Guys... Remember: Ulver are also the authors of that 'musicaliterary' (sorry for the neologism) opus named "Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell", and "Stone Angels" is here to recall it.
This mean that, once again, music itself cannot prescind from the words by which it is not only "accompanied", but also LED.
Don't listen to it as if you're listening to any other song. Read (and comprehend) the poem while "Stone Angels" goes on. It will give the music shape, imagery, sense. And those flat 15 minutes of boring ambiance and spoken words will start becoming something different...

It may sound pathetic, but if there really is a so-called "paradise", then I think it would sound like "Stone Angels".


"Our time is a river, theirs the glassy sea..."


Once again, my friend, you've succeeded in capturing my attention with your insightful description! Kudos! I've been disliking "Stone Angels" immensely thus far, but your interpretation has compelled me to think that there is some sort of "esotericism" to it. I myself don't want to miss out on any "special moments" that I may have ignored/missed up until now. Who knows? A second, consecutive "10" might even be on the cards here...
You really should review an album that you have strong feelings for. I'd be darn interesting to read.


Hi Mecha! You know, I didn't like "Stone Angels" either... But first impressions, especially if confusing (and moreover if we're talking about Ulver!), shouldn't be considered that much. "What's this huge pile of boredom?" was my first reaction, and it lasted until I realized that there was a poem behind it; therefore, something I needed to weigh and understand.
Now that I literally know it by heart I think that Ulver couldn't choose a better closer for "Wars of the Roses". It stands as an immense epitaph after all the sorrow we've been through during the previous songs (think of the lyrics from "Island" or "Providence").

Music in "Stone Angels" is handled quite oddly and it takes shape as the poem goes on, sometimes reflecting perfectly the peaceful mood of verses: for example the sparkling effects on "to reach empty space think away each object.." or the angelic choirs on "our time is a river, theirs the glassy sea". But my favourite part of the song (and of the whole album) is the very last minute: everything disappears and is suspended in a metaphysical silence except for a subtle shimmering effect on the background, and O'Sullivan tells the last stanzas almost hieratically (it is not accident that he names a certain "Angelic Doctor", who is Thomas Aquinas), ending with concise yet suggestive words - "Night, with its crypt, its cradlesong. Rage for day's end: impatience, like a boat in the evening. Towards the horizon, as down a sounding line. Barcarolle, funeral march. Nocturne at high noon".
Now I've just finished writing and sticking the poem here in my bedroom. I'm proud of my work! Actually I'd really like to tell everything I feel about it but I notice that it's a bit late (wtf it's 4:30 AM) and I need to rest a while, so.. see you 'round!

P.S. oh and thanks again for your appreciation


Hey, no problem. Keep it real, mate.
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11.06.2011 - 00:32
Saeed_P
The average is the best for this new one
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22.06.2011 - 21:50
Rating: 9
SceneryOfLoss
That's just amazing! One of my albums of the year!
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23.08.2011 - 13:45
Rating: 5
Slayer666
Ouch... Ulver have been only "interesting" to me since they abandoned black metal. Some good material here and there, somewhat lackluster overall. But there is nothing interesting about this one.
Just a failed experiment, IMO.
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23.08.2011 - 13:50
!J.O.O.E.!
Defunct
Written by Slayer666 on 23.08.2011 at 13:45

Ouch... Ulver have been only "interesting" to me since they abandoned black metal. Some good material here and there, somewhat lackluster overall. But there is nothing interesting about this one.
Just a failed experiment, IMO.

Sadly so. Perdition City isn't too bad at times but in the wide world of electronic and avant garde music (of which metallers are probably completely oblivious to because they think Ulver are the only band to inhabit it) Ulver are sadly lacking and I have to say War of the Roses lacks more than usual.
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23.08.2011 - 16:18
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 23.08.2011 at 13:50

Sadly so. Perdition City isn't too bad at times but in the wide world of electronic and avant garde music (of which metallers are probably completely oblivious to because they think Ulver are the only band to inhabit it) Ulver are sadly lacking and I have to say War of the Roses lacks more than usual.


You might be right but c'mon... Perdition City as a great record. Not perfect or anything but still one very good album. (I gave it a 8).
Haven't listened to this one though
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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23.08.2011 - 16:20
!J.O.O.E.!
Defunct
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.08.2011 at 16:18


You might be right but c'mon... Perdition City as a great record. Not perfect or anything but still one very good album. (I gave it a 8).
Haven't listened to this one though

No I do think it is a very good record, and Blood whatsit also has some interesting moments, but I do think Ulver is the ultimate "overrated" band amongst metallers.
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23.08.2011 - 16:26
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 23.08.2011 at 16:20

Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.08.2011 at 16:18


You might be right but c'mon... Perdition City as a great record. Not perfect or anything but still one very good album. (I gave it a 8).
Haven't listened to this one though

No I do think it is a very good record, and Blood whatsit also has some interesting moments, but I do think Ulver is the ultimate "overrated" band amongst metallers.


Ulver is overrated in terms of their electronic stuff but I do feel like their debut is a black album ahead of its time. Their folk album was pretty cute! And about Nattens Madrigal... well, haven't heard it entirely but it's good too. The production is a bit offensive but still a nice album.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
23.08.2011 - 16:29
!J.O.O.E.!
Defunct
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.08.2011 at 16:26




Ulver is overrated in terms of their electronic stuff but I do feel like their debut is a black album ahead of its time. Their folk album was pretty cute! And about Nattens Madrigal... well, haven't heard it entirely but it's good too. The production is a bit offensive but still a nice album.

Yeah I definitely agree the metal stuff was good, but that's also why Ulver are a bit of an anomaly; they're a primarily electronic/avant-garde band known best for their metal stuff, which gives them an unusal audience (around here anyway).
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23.08.2011 - 16:35
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 23.08.2011 at 16:29
Yeah I definitely agree the metal stuff was good, but that's also why Ulver are a bit of an anomaly; they're a primarily electronic/avant-garde band known best for their metal stuff, which gives them an unusal audience (around here anyway).


I understand. They get an audience that is mostly into metal and don't really know any better when it comes to electronica so they go all " Ulver's electronic/avant-garde stuff is omg so good and creative and shit".

It's not their fault though XD There are far worse fan bases around.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
23.08.2011 - 16:39
!J.O.O.E.!
Defunct
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.08.2011 at 16:35


I understand. They get an audience that is mostly into metal and don't really know any better when it comes to electronica so they go all " Ulver's electronic/avant-garde stuff is omg so good and creative and shit".

It's not their fault though XD There are far worse fan bases around.

Oh fo-sho, whilst they're overrated I don't regard Ulver as a bad band, far from it. I do think this album is extremely average though.
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26.11.2011 - 18:27
Rating: 6
Kass
St. Anger
Not bad, but boring.
----
"The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull"
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16.01.2012 - 23:36
Rating: 6
Fade To Black
Written by Jiri on 26.03.2011 at 01:52

Only Febuary MMX brings anything to the table!

Yeah you right the rest of this album bored my the entire way.
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21.01.2012 - 16:16
Rating: 8
NocturnalStalker
Metal Addict
While this one is not my favourite Ulver record, I still can't agree with the statements that claim it to be "boring" or "average".
What displeased me a bit with Wars Of The Roses is that there is too much of ambient in it for my taste. But, all in all, I think this album is very good. It just requires some patience to get into. If it was some (relatively) unknown band I might've dismissed this album after the initial listen, but since it's Ulver...
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"And we are not who we think we are
We are who we're afraid to be"
- Lux Occulta "The Opening of Eleventh Sephirah"
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