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ULVER - Blood Inside

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Trickster G and company are back with Blood Inside, their first non-soundtrack, full-length album since 2002’s very cold and electronic, Perdition City. Blood Inside, however, steams with endless songwriting ambition, and is evidence that ULVER won’t be running out of tricks anytime soon. The highly anticipated album is a magical affair that straddles last year’s genre-melding EP, A Quick Fix of Melancholy, with the symphonic orchestrations of their Svidd Neger soundtrack, and is easily Trickster G’s best work since ARCTURUS’s La Masquerade Infernale. Despite the presence of electronics, programming, and samples, the album is far from an electronic-heavy album like some of their past releases. There are plenty of live drums, guitars (solos too), and singing…yes singing! From the worldly breathiness of “Blinded by Blood” to the rock epics of “Christmas” and “It is Not Sound,” band leader Trickster G, who’s eccentric vocals stylings (and overall musical wit) parallel that of Bj√∂rk and Mike Patton, utilizes his voice in a prominent (and much-missed) role. “In the Red” is a haunting yet psychedelic soundscape that builds up to an odd-but-fitting frenetic big band/swing-like twist, then segues into the abstract ambience of “Your Call.” Closer “Operator” is frenetic and bubbles to a cacophononous climax that suddenly bursts into silence. With compositions so grand, it’s a savory treat that the production and execution are equally top-notch. Ronan Chris Murphy (KING CRIMSON, TOOL) provides unbeatable audio guidance for a soundtrack that certainly deserves recognition far above the underground. (Jester Records/The End Records)