Live At The Norwegian National Opera CD+DVD
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Live at the Norwegian National Opera
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A stunning concert from the dark music legends as a CD + DVD set. Early pioneers of Norwegian black metal, the band have continually evolved throughout their career and now stand as living legends of the dark music industry, blending rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions along with noise and experimental music to create ground-breaking material. Until recently however the band had remained exclusively within the studio. This changed in May 2009 when the band accepted an invitation to appear at the Norwegian Festival Of Literature. The success of this gig lead to them embarking on a string of other gigs in 2009 and 2010, selling out prestigious venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Volksbühne in Berlin and La Cigale in Paris before they returned to their homeland for this landmark gig at The Norwegian Opera House. The 2 hour concert married tracks from throughout the band's catalogue to stunning visuals to create a spectacle fitting for such a grand venue. The evening was captured on 6 HD cameras and the audio has been mixed for this release in the band's own Crystal Canyon Studios. Live in Concert - The Norwegian National Opera House is packaged in a double digi-book, and features the gig on both DVD and CD.
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While tracks represent a selection from earlier Ulver CDs including Blood inside (2005), Shadows of the sun (2007) and Wars of the roses (2011), this is no 'hits' collection but a re-sequencing and appreciation of previous material, superbly played. It's only the applause on the CD which reminds you that this is a live recording and brings you back to the present. On the DVD there is no 5.1 surround sound option - a great shame as it would have been most effective - but the sound is excellent, seemingly better than the CD. There is comment in the booklet about an intended multi track recording which seems somehow not to have materialised. The DVD visuals are a clever mix of the concert musicians and the background film at the show.
The cover of the double digi-book is somewhat marred by the integral '18' warnings which relate I assume to some of the DVD visuals, rather over emphatically in my view - I'd hoped these were on the wrap. But it's an otherwise pleasing package with an insert of concert photos and rather enigmatic text - some of which appears to start somewhere not included in the booklet.
If you don't know Ulver this is a good place to start. For comparison, think modern classical - Gorecki, or post rock - Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There is beauty in melancholy.
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