When a band doesn’t tour for 15 years and suddenly comes up with a tour (without a breakup in between!), there’s a good reason to check this out. When the band is called Ulver, there are multiple reasons to check the show out. The band suddenly decided last year to start doing a few shows in Scandinavian countries, but decided to do a full tour this year as well. Metalrage was there to witness the seated Roadburn presents Ulver show.
After the incident from last month with Attila Chisar falling off the stage during a Sunn O))) gig, it was weird seeing him again just a few weeks after. We all know Attila from his main band Mayhem and performances with Sunn O))), but on this tour he finally got the chance to get his solo project Void Ov Voices off the ground after a successful tour with Bohren & Der Club of Gore last year as well. The sound started a bit too low on volume so everyone was talking all the way through the intro sounds of this one man project. You can expect Attila to do the same trick as with (mostly) Sunn O))); extreme vocal sound effects, church-like singing and vocals ranging from high black metal squeels to low growls. He only played two tracks but it was enough for me to get a good impression of this project. I still think it needs something extra besides his extreme vocal capabilities because it got boring pretty fast, but he definitely knows to come up with something special every time.
After a short break and a walk (seated shows are not really my thing I must admit), it was finally time for Ulver. From a band that started with black metal and ended as a sort of progressive rock (think Porcupine Tree) mixed with trip-hop and electronic influences act, it’s hard to know what to expect. The fact that the show was seated indicated that we probably got a lot to deal with Ulver’s latest and most easy-listening work, especially from the album Shadows of the Sun. Not a bad thing though because as soon as the band kicked in with ‘Eos’ followed by ‘Let the Children Go’, I noticed we were witnessing a truly special show this day. The moment the band started playing the whole venue was covered in atmosphere by amazing visuals, ranging from Animal Planet-like clips to pieces of World War II clips on heavier parts of the tracks, supported by singer Kristoffer Rygg on kettle drums as well. There was not much to see on stage as the whole stage was dark with only a few light tubes shining red and blue lights into the audience, which added something special to the performance as well. Their setlist contained a varied mix of tracks from everything post 2000’s Perdition City such as ‘Porn Piece or the Scars of Cold Kisses’, ‘For The Love of God’, ‘Operator’ and ending their hour lasting set with one of my personal favorites, ‘Like Music’ and the ambient piece ‘Not Saved’. The set felt a bit too short actually for a band that didn’t tour for 15 years and have released a lot of good music in between. But, I’m still glad they denied an encore from the audience because I’m sure that would have only ruined the rest of the performance as every piece of music merged nicely into each other as well as the visuals. Luckily we at Metalrage don’t have to wait another 15 years to see this band as they will perform at the Hellfest festival as well, but I’m quite sure it won’t be such an experience as we’ve witnessed at this performance! We'll see!