Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is the fourth studio album by Norwegian experimental collective Ulver. Produced with Kristoffer Rygg, together with Knut Magne Valle and Tore Ylwizaker, it was issued on December 17, 1998 via Jester Records. It is a musical setting of William Blake's poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The album blended electronics, industrial music elements, progressive metal and avant-garde rock, adding ambient passages, following Blake's plates as track indexes. Stine Grytøyr, Ihsahn, Samoth and Fenriz all feature as guest vocalists.The album received widespread acclaim from critics within both the rock/metal and alternative music press - being awarded Album of the Month in several high-profile magazines such as Terrorizer, Metal Hammer, and Rock Hard and ranked very highly in their end of year's best polls. However, the album’s transitional nature perhaps alienated many fans of the band’s first three albums - causing a backlash from the black metal scene.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."
It was more than a pleasure when Rodrigo Ottaviano an old-new friend and manager of Daniel Melero confirmed to me that Daniel wanted to work with me the art of this record! Piano (1999) was a classic record that I listened to thousands of times, I keep listening … I hope volume 2 also becomes such. It was during a trip to Olot, in Catalonia that I thought to use the volcano on the album cover, and in Mexico came the idea of the nonexistent piano, the piano that in fact Daniel does not play on the disc. Talking with Daniel is always a pleasure, it seems that you can tackle any topic with him, and that's what we talked about during the making of the album art, any subject … of volcanoes, arrangements, things that do not need to be fixed, books , Of my books, told me that during the recording of his last albums my books had been there very present, as anticipating this collaboration. The day that Piano 2 appeared in Buenos Aires, the ashes cloud of the Chilean volcano Calbuco that had erupted a few days before, arrived at Buenos Aires. The coincidences do exist, of course.
The Russian composer Elena Langer, now resident in Britain, draws on influences from her native country (Shostakovich, especially in the chamber orchestration of these songs), from Britain (from Britten to Thomas Adès), and from continental Europe. As a song composer she is able to convey lightness even when dealing with serious material such as the title song cycle setting poems by Lee Harwood (most of the songs on the album are in English). These songs subtly depict love triangles, some of them with both straight and gay elements. Even better are the genuinely playful pieces.