Well, I think we all can guess where the name “Ulvesang” comes from.
Okay, maybe I can’t be sure, still I do think the Canadian trio drew inspiration from everyone’s favourite Ulver. The cover artwork showcases a wolf -you know “Ulver” mean “wolves” in Norwegian, right!?- absorbed in many other folk-ish and pagan elements. The music sounds a lot inspired by 1996’s Ulver’s masterpiece Kveldssanger, as well. And whether I might be right or not those things together made me feel a lot engaged by Ulvesang’s debut effort in the first place.
Ulvesang is a neofolk/darkfolk trio from Nova Scotia, Canada. Coming out of nowhere, they put out this incredible 8-track, self-titled full length album. Their receipt is simple. Three classical guitars. One -sometimes two- distant, evocative humming vocals. A lot of reverb and a sorrowful, sacred atmosphere. And that’s it.
Songs flow slow yet relentless. It’s with a hypnotic twine of guitars that the ritual starts -helped by some woodland noises: winds, crickets and toads- and ends quietly, slowly fading away.
It is hard to trace a high -or a low- point out of it, though. It all moves with and within its own pace, causing a placid slumber. Bu if I’d really have to name a few outstanding moments of Ulvesang’s debut fatigue I would pick: The Purge for the evocative airs. Litherpoan and its medieval-esque, fascinating guitar’s “dialogues”. And finally Two Rivers for the majestic yet dramatic turn. But again, picking shouldn’t be an option. You must sit and play it from top to bottom. No excuses, that’s the way it is supposed to be enjoyed!
Now imagine to be alone and cold inside a northern forest. You smell the scent of the wood and the sacred, sharp yet humid rain. Yet you can’t really see whether it’s going to be nighttime soon or it is just the dense tangle of branches which darken the view. You might be scared. But really you feel safe, warm -despite the freezing air’s taking over the place- and peaceful with yourself. You hear some distant birds singing … but it’s not actually a song. It is more like a dirge. Sounds like you can deciphers their tiny, squealing cries. You understand yet you aren’t able to respond. Still they keep on talking to you and to all the creatures of the woodland. They sing and wolves “reply” with a faint, ominous howling.
Of wolves, woods, trees and northern lands many songs are about. Many musical styles made this very topic a pillar. The pillar of the “man’s return to nature” scenery. And what if our intent is really this. What if we do believe in man’s bond with nature. Well, in case we do, then we can’t leave out music from the equation. And amongst all the possible choice someone could make, Ulvesang’s debut could be perfect for a deep fall into the fathomless depths of the most ancient of woods.