We’re so spoiled, those of us with a taste for the bitter, biting salts and the boiling acidity of black metal. We lift the old vintages to our lips, and the new ones; we feel the sting of sulphur in our nostrils and see the pale beckoning hands or the charging cavalries of death in our minds; we might feel transported to nether dimensions that seem poised to swallow and sever us without a backward glance of regret. Satiety can lead to cynicism for some, and even for the never-sated but not easily impressed among the rest of us, we do tend to greet new black metal with the same demand that became the motto of Missouri: Forget the rhetoric, you’ve got to show me.
The PR rhetoric around Ulven’s new album was that it would be “based on the worship of death and reaching beyond the shadows of the deep abyss”, and that as compared to Ulven’s first album, the sounds of this new one — Death Rites Upon A Winged Crusade — “have shifted and morphed to become an entirely new and unholy creature.” Okay, I thought, show me. And Ulven did.
And now we’ll show you, too. There’s a full stream of the album at the end of this post; the album will be released on August 24th by Fólkvangr Records on tape and CD, with a vinyl edition coming from Death Kvlt Productions.