Ahhh…and the album is out! Of course, Ulver needs no further presentation because it’s by far one of the best musicians still active in the music industry. I’ve waited for this release to show up since February when I got to listen to ‘Russian doll’. A thing which got my attention first when I saw the cover of the album… thought it was something Joanna D’Arc related to and yes I was right. The cover is from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s movie ‘The Passion of Joanne D’Arc‘, a silent movie where Joanne braves the threat of torture to stand fast for her beliefs.
There’s something about this band that brings me back again and again, and the music is as good and lovable as it was the first time. I feel that way about most of Ulver’s albums that’s why they are currently my favorite band. After all, we’ve been through this year while listening to this album makes one believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the most personal and poetic way, the lyrics are amazingly done in a way only Ulver can do… I could listen to this over and over again without getting bored or something like that. At the beginning of times, I was pretty skeptical about the electro path the band took after being a fan of the black metal genre mostly. Later on, I honestly fell in love with their newest stuff more and more each passing day. I tried to name a favorite song from the album but I realized I simply cannot since every fucking song is amazing! As amazing and as groovy can gets with every listen I take…get your 80’s clothes and if you don’t have any go grab some from ya parents cuz that’s the general direction of the album. You’ll probably start dancing in the middle of your living room or why not in the subway. Ulver gets you crazy like that and simply can’t be subtle.
‘One Last Dance‘ takes a long time, dances through burning churches, but the rhythm of the number remains deliberate, melancholy, almost elegiac. Shifting into a new path(synth-pop direction) maybe a more familiar, with why not a mainstream sound, different than the previous album but highly satisfying to listen.
‘Machine guns and peacock feathers‘ grows on you because of the vocals mostly (and I’m including also the female vocals) and also the synth vibes which can’t go unnoticed.
The female vocals heard on ‘Nostalgia‘ and ‘Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers‘ add so much to the songs and it’s great to hear them return from ‘The Assassination of Julius Caesar‘ which was my 2nd favorite album from Ulver.
‘Hour of the Wolf‘ is one of the album’s darker ones, somehow with a comeback at times to the ‘Perdition City‘ without most of the chaos. Maybe you’ll get melancholic very quickly and there is nothing you can do about. The title sends me immediately to Bergman’s movie with the same title.
‘A thousand cuts‘ it may begin briefly as a piano melancholy, which then floats in the ether in electronic vapors, but what remains as a memory is the nebulous melody line. During these uncertain times, this album takes you to another dimension (try listening with your eyes closed).
Ulver tells weird tales of despair, tragedy, fear, theology, and the problematic nature of the world. Their music is currently driven mostly by electronic stuff, with fantastic beats, trip-hop portions, and experimental rock and while many feel that the group’s black metal era is their only “great” material, I would call that a big lie. Yes, they did amazing things in that area, but for Christ’s sake that was over twenty-five years ago. Music evolves and what is Ulver now is the best that they can be. In the times when (almost) nobody can make an original sound or something which doesn’t sound generic, mister Rygg is here to prove us wrong. From the beginning to the end he showed us that boundaries can be easily crossed if you’re talented enough. Experimenting is always good and better when its results are amazing. Usually, I have bad feedbacks towards new releases but since I first heard the first synths of the song I knew this is gonna be my favorite album so far. And I think I am going to listen to this for a loooong time from now on…
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