Ulver (Norwegian for "wolves") are a Norwegian experimental musical collective founded in 1993, by vocalist Kristoffer Rygg. Their early works, such as Bergtatt, were categorised as folklore-influenced black metal but have since evolved a fluid and increasingly eclectic musical style, blending genres such as rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions, noise and experimental music into their oeuvre. 1997 marked their international debut with the release of their third album Nattens madrigal through German label Century Media. However, following discord with the label, Kristoffer Rygg formed his own imprint Jester Records in 1998.
In 1998, multi-instrumentalist Tore Ylwizaker joined the band marking a drastic change in direction for Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - a double album incorporating elements from drum and bass, progressive rock, spoken word, industrial music, and black metal, fused into a somewhat ambient new style. Further exploring trip hop, jazz, ambient music, spoken word and electronica on 2000’s Perdition City, before moving into a more experimental, minimalist, ambient direction, and soundtrack work.
2005 marked another change in the band’s sound, returning to standard instrumentation, combined with orchestral instruments and arrangements. British composer and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan joined the collective in 2009, and the band performed some of their first live concerts in their 15-year lifespan, including the prestigious Norwegian National Opera.
Ulver have sold in excess of half a million records, have well over 11,000,000 plays on Last.fm, been twice nominated for the Norwegian Grammy Awards, Spellemannsprisen, in different categories, won Album of the Year at the Oslo Awards for Shadows of the Sun in 2008, won the NATT&DAG award for Best Live Act in 2011, and earned a global reputation for stylistic unpredictability.
Acclaim from the artistic community includes controversial director of films Kids and Gummo, Harmony Korine, recently commented, alluding to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "There's a real lineage from a composer like Wagner to a band like Ulver." Author and musician Julian Cope has said, "Ulver are cataloguing the death of our culture two decades before anyone else has noticed its inevitable demise."