Nattens madrigal

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Nattens madrigal – Aatte hymne til ulven i manden
Ulver nattens.JPG
Studio album by Ulver
Released 3 March 1997
Recorded 1996
Genre Black metal
Length 43:58
Label Century Media
Ulver chronology
Nattens madrigal – aatte hymne til ulven i manden
The Trilogie - Three Journeyes Through the Norwegian Netherworlde
(1997)The Trilogie - Three Journeyes Through the Norwegian Netherworlde1997

Nattens madrigal – Aatte hymne til ulven i manden (translated as "Madrigal of the Night – Eight Hymns to the Wolf in Man") is the third studio album by Norwegian band Ulver, issued on 3 March 1997 via Century Media. Composed and arranged during the first half of 1995, the album purports to be a concept album about wolves, the night, the moon, and the dark side of mankind.[1]


Part three of what has become known as Ulver’s “Black Metal Trilogie,”[2] Nattens madrigal - marked the band’s international debut and showcases a black metal style similar to Bergtatt, abandoning the acoustic and atmospheric elements, with an intentionally underproduced sound. The album has been described as “raw and grim black metal at its blackest.”[3]

A common myth about the album is that band spent the recording budget on Armani suits, cocaine and a Corvette; and recorded the album outdoors in a Norwegian forest on an 8-track recorder.[4][5] Kristoffer Rygg, however, has stated that this is not true; and possibly a rumour started by Century Media.[6][7]

Metal Injection concluded "Kveldssanger had no electric instruments, Nattens madrigal had no acoustic instruments, but Bergtatt, has both acoustic and electric instruments; it’s like they spliced the elements from Bergtatt into two separate albums. If that’s the case, then Nattens madrigal really showcases the black metal prowess of the band. The album answers exactly why people were so angered by Ulver’s transition away from black metal, and why people are still bitter at their direction today.”[8] However, there are acoustic instruments on the album, for example on the first track.

Commenting on the rumours surrounding Nattens madrigal, Rygg said, "Do you really think that Century Media advanced us so much that we could buy a black Corvette? Maybe some suits and drugs; I won't deny that. Or deny that we recorded it cheap. I'll let the myth carry on.” Continuing, "We didn't have anything to do with those rumours. The moment the big labels picked up black metal, that was the beginning of the end of black metal as far as I see it. They started to exploit the genre by stuff like that-dumb sales pitches-that took the heart out of a lot of it. It became very banal. I'm not blaming Century Media, but I definitely think that that marked the beginning of the end of black metal for me. Putting out Nattens madrigal via a big label was kind of an antagonistic move. They probably expected a prettied-up Bergtatt, you know? We didn't want to conform to any business model. We still don't. It got into the mainstream and people became very adept at playing and producing professional records, and as a result of that it lost a lot of the magic that it held to me when I was a teenager listening to old Celtic Frost rehearsals, or old Mayhem demos. I'm still very much like that. I'd rather listen to old lo-fi recordings than the perfect retro-band, you know. So I was part of a different scene, a different vibe." Adding, "We composed Nattens madrigal quite quickly after Bergtatt. And while we were rehearsing the Madrigal we recorded Kveldssanger, the second one. So I think that we spent about a year on that record. It was written in '95, recorded in '96, and was finally released early '97."[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Chronicles of Chaos 8/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 8.2/10[11]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[12]

Writing for AllMusic, Steve Huey said “It's so fast and ferocious and the vocals so garbled that it's best just to take the sheer sonic force as reflecting the band's concept, rather than trying to piece it all together.”[4]

John Chedsey said that "Nattens madrigal thus has to be taken on two levels: the actual immediate aesthetics of the production and then the compositional department. Based on songwriting alone (which takes a bit of effort to discern), Nattens madrigal is a tour de force that would have redefined the most extreme of black metal had it been more palatable. Played at warp speed with hidden melodies, sublime guitar leads and a sense of apocalyptic devastation, Nattens Madrigal is one of the most impressive albums of its kind. That is, of course, assuming one has put aside the way it sounds. It's a bit like ignoring the quills of a porcupine and telling others what a cuddly housepet it makes.”[13]

In 2009, IGN included Nattens madrigal in their "10 Great Black Metal Albums" list.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Garm.

No. Title Length
1. "Hymn I: Of Wolf and Fear" 6:16
2. "Hymn II: Of Wolf and the Devil" 6:21
3. "Hymn III: Of Wolf and Hatred" 4:48
4. "Hymn IV: Of Wolf and Man" 5:21
5. "Hymn V: Of Wolf and the Moon" 5:14
6. "Hymn VI: Of Wolf and Passion" 5:48
7. "Hymn VII: Of Wolf and Destiny" 5:32
8. "Hymn VIII: Of Wolf and the Night" 4:38
Total length: 43:58



  1. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Nattens madrigal – Ulver : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Essential Black Metal Listening: ULVER Nattens Madrigal". Metal Injection. February 24, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ H., Andrew (September 2, 2005). "Ulver - Nattens Madrigal". SputnikMusic. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Huey, Steve (September 2, 2005). "Ulver - Nattens Madrigal". AllMusic. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ "ULVER: The MetalKult Interview". 2007-11-12. Archived from the original on 2009-09-13. 
  6. ^ Kristoffer Rygg, Jørn H. Sværen (2003). Lyckantropen / Shape Shifting - The 1st Decade of Ulver (DVD) (DVD). Vendlus. 
  7. ^ Vuoti, Sauli (December 7, 2005). "Ulver Interview - Kogaionon - Underground Music Magazine". Kogaionon. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Essential Black Metal Listening: ULVER Nattens Madrigal". Metal Injection. February 24, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ Hughes, Rob (September 2007). "TRAGIC SERENADES". Unrestrained Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ Hoeltzel, Steve (6 July 1997). "CoC : Ulver – Nattens madrigal : Review". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Ulver - Nattens madrigal (staff review) | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  13. ^ Chedsey, John (December 1998, 2014). "Kveldssanger". Satan Stole My Teddybear. Retrieved May 30, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Ramirez, Carlos (6 January 2009). "10 Great Black Metal Albums – IGN". Retrieved 12 September 2012.