The Rickety Old Shack

Ulvesang — Ulvesang

Ulvesang - Ulvesang, cover

In spite of this project hailing from Canada, I was completely unaware of Ulvesang until I did a deep-dive into the Nordvis Produktions catalogue. After working my way through a dozen or so black metal albums of varying configurations, I happened upon this "dark folk" project. A lot of the newer black metal acts tend to incorporate elements of it into their music, but it is rare that I listen to unadulterated folk music. I later found out that one of the guitarists, Ana Dujakovic, plays bass and synths in a project called Astral Path — so there is still a black metal connection.

A largely instrumental affair, Ulvesang is a very minimalistic effort; aside from some backing chants, and ambient nature sounds, everything else you hear is the product of two acoustic guitars. I don't even think there are any overdubbed guitars, the album sounds very much like it could be easily reproduced live in its entirety. The production is sharp and clear, allowing both guitars to compliment each other perfectly. In spite of using such a small array of instruments, each track distinguishes itself from the rest of the material while flowing perfectly from song-to-song.

Billed as a dark, pagan folk record, Ulvesang evokes the relaxing calm of a rainy fall afternoon in the woods. Perfect as a reprieve from the ultra-violent styles I spend the bulk of my time listening to, Ulvesang put together an exceptionally enjoyable, melodic, concise record that fans of many genres should be able to appreciate. The running time of the album is 43 minutes, but it manages to seem much shorter. Among the many gems found in the Nordvis catalogue, Ulvesang proved to be one of the most impressive.

It may have taken the efforts of a Swedish record label, for me to find a Nova Soctian folk act, but the important thing is that I did. The self-titled debut from Ulvesang is a great showing, a powerful and emotionally moving album even without lyrics or any sort of obvious narrative. The whole record is excellent, but "Two Rivers" stands out as my favourite track by a wide margin. From beginning to end, though, there isn't a sour note or dull moment; the pacing of the album is perfect — finally building to a loud, mid-tempo crescendo in the final half of the closing track.

Summary

While I can't give an educated assessment of how this record stacks up with other folk music projects, I can say this much: Ulvesang does well by the genre, and — by virtue of its high quality — piqued my interest in exploring it further. It is difficult to find a lot to say about an instrumental record, aside from whether it is good or bad. Ulvesang's is absolutely the former, and I cannot overstate that. Stumbling across records like this is one of the joys of being a music fan.

Album Information

Release date: October 21st, 2015
Record label: Nordvis

Alex Boyd — guitar
Ana Dujakovic — guitar

Track Listing

  1. The Purge
  2. Taakeferd
  3. Two Rivers
  4. Wolf's Passage
  5. Litherpoan
  6. A Town Of Ash
  7. Across The Burning Canyon
  8. Arms In Pledge To Ellis

—by Derek

Published: November 20th, 2017