Sound: Beware all of you! It's Raw Black Metal!
Ulver, the legendary Experimental/Avant-Garde group from Norway has gone through many genres during their career, for example Black/Folk Metal, Acoustic Folk, Electronica, Progressive Rock, Ambient, Neoclassical Music and they have even been mixing these genres and adding influences from other genres like Jazz, but now we focus on their legendary album "Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden" (often shortened only as Nattens Madrigal) which is their only pure Black Metal album.
This Black Metal's classic albums is rumored to be recorded outisde in a Norwegian forest with a 8-track recorder, and when you listen to the album, you get the feeling that it might even be possible. The production is really bad: the guitars are noisy and the drums are quite difficult to hear because their volume is really low. The singing is really raw, aggressive and incomprehensible, and the album is mostly created from fast riffing and blast beats with one acoustic interlude appearing of the first song, but otherwise the album being pure fast Black Metal. So basically the album contains all the ingredients of Raw Black Metal.
The only thing not typical to Raw Black Metal is the quite happy and not-dark-at-all opening riff of "Hymne VI - Wolf and Passion", which isn't even fast like all the other riffs in the album.
So the sound quality and production is bad, but hey! It's Raw Black Metal, what did you expect? // 9
Lyrics: Like I said before, the singing is really raw and incomprehensible, but it's only a good thing here since it helps to create the aggressive and raw atmosphere of the album.
All the song names start with "Hymne [number of the song] - Wolf and" and the album tells "about a man who, through the efforts of Satan, succumbs to lycanthropy and the beast within." (a direct quote from Wikipedia.)
The lyrics theme can also been seen from the album title which translates to "Madrigal of the Night - Eight Hymns to the Wolf in Man"
I think the lyrics fit perfectly to the music, especially when the bands name is Norwegian for wolves. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall I think Nattens Madrigal is one of the best Raw Black Metal albums ever done. Remember guys, the album's production is probably much worse than what you have heard when you've been listening to some typical lo-fi or traditional Black Metal, but that should not prevent you from enjoying the album. I'm pretty sure that many BM fans don't really have any problems with the production, but instead think that it's a good thing for creating the atmosphere. The album has also some awesome and original riffing among the typical power chord beating and blast beats, so why wouldn't you give a try for the album?
Best song and worth checking out: Hymne I - Wolf and Fear. // 9