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Ulfven - Folklore

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 March 2019, 12:31 PM

ULFVEN is Melodic Doom/Death Metal band formed in Sweden in 2017. “Folklore” is the band’s debut album, and contains eight tracks. There wasn’t much information available on the web about the band, so let’s dive right in to the review. “Antvarda” leads off the album. Birds are chirping, perhaps it’s the first day of Spring? A gentle breeze passes over you as you hum something particular. Quite a difference when “A Mother’s Betrayal” rolls in. It’s heavy, dark and slow at first, with thick, horrid Death vocals and oppressive weight in the instruments. An ambient melancholy passage occupies the second half of the song, with a threatening riff that builds back to the original sound.

“Elegy for a Child” opens with a dark and powerful guitar riff, lumbering into some melodic passages. The riff picks up a bit with speed as the Death vocals rattle inside your chest. Some variations come into play after the half way mark, but the core of that heavy, pummeling sound does not melt away. “Beyond the Pines” opens again with a heavy riff centered around open notes. The vocals at one point go very deep before changing as the song moves along. It ends in melancholy clean guitar notes that definitely touch you with emotions. “Irrbloss” is a short one-and-a-half minute clean guitar instrumental that begs feelings of desolation and hopelessness.

“Nocturnal Watcher” opens with darkness spewing from a foul-mouthed beast let loose from the gates of Hades. From there the main riff takes shape. It’s a monstrous offering that gets your head moving. The vocals move in perfect cadence with the instruments. Towards the end it goes into most evil BLACK SABBATH realm, with bells marking the watcher’s arrival. “The Keeper’s Hymn” moves with a rhythm that is hard to shake, and then some smokey and murky moments are sprinkled in to keep it sounding fresh. It’s always moving and shifting, like a filthy shape-shifter scuttering around in the dark. “The Black Waters” closes the album; a fitting title. Following an opening punishing riff, clean guitars morph into distorted ones and establish the main sound. It both dark and ominous sounding, as black waters would be. What hides beneath their surface? Do you dare to jump in and find out?

Overall, this was a fascinating album mostly in the Doom category for me, but enough variations to keep it both original and fresh sounding. Inventive guitar work combines with absolutely punishing sections of instrumentation and vocals that are gut-wrenching. This is a very strong debut for a band who hold some of the traditions of the past but also add in their own flavor to the genre, breathing life into an oft-stale genre.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Antvarda
2. A Mother’s Betrayal
3. Elegy for a Child
4. Beyond the Pines
5. Irrbloss
6. Nocturnal Watcher
7. The Keeper’s Hymn
8. The Black Waters
Robert Österberg – Vocals, Guitar
Daniel Brundin – Vocals, Bass
Marcus Wiklund – Guitar
Ville Isakson Johnson – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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