Ulvesang - Ulvesang - (9/10)
Published on December 1, 2015
Neofolk and dark folk reside in this little pocket world; this little area that manages to somehow exists within and without the modern metal scene. Perhaps the dark and emotive nature of the style speaks to fans of metal, but it’s still intriguing that neofolk is so popular among fans of loud and abrasive music. In a day and age when bands are trying to play faster and more technical, sometimes simplicity and serenity can go a long way. While band’s like Tenhi, Nest and Nebelung have wandered similar paths of naturalistic melancholy, Canada’s Ulvesang have proven the likely heirs to the deciduous throne with their eponymously titled debut album, released in the autumn of 2015.
Performing as a trio, featuring Alex Boyd, Ana Dujakovic and Laura Marr, Ulvesang’s music focuses on twining patterns of acoustic notes and vibrant strumming, all played through enchanting melodies. Ulvesang features eight tracks and forty-three minutes of introspective and melancholic acoustic neofolk. The band claims to be influenced by nature, melancholy, introversion and paganism, among other things, and those aspects are intrinsically woven into their sound, be it atavistic melodies or somber progressions.
While Ulvesang does share stylistic similarities to their contemporaries, something the band admits up front, they have quickly crafted their own niche in the genre. It’s most likely the band’s use of occasional upbeat rhythms and pristine recording quality that allows their sound to shine so brightly, as tracks like “Litherpoan” showcase a mixture of melancholic passages and hopeful surges of uptempo strumming. Ulvesang also offers a tremendous attention to detail, like the sporadic somber chanted vocals throughout, the muted insect sounds and wildlife during “The Purge” or the subtle string backing of “A Town of Ash”; there’s not a moment on the album that hasn’t been carefully crafted and placed with the utmost care.
Ulvesang set out to create an album that paid tribute to their influences while still crafting a sound of their own; and they’ve already succeeded with their first album. Ulvesang is serene, introspective and melancholic; the perfect companion to wander these late autumn landscapes. Fans of dark folk and neofolk should find Ulvesang more than fits the bill when looking for that dose of acoustic grandeur.