Ulver - The Assassination Of Julius Caesar review




Bandcamp music player
Reviewer:
9.0

138 users:
8.14
Band: Ulver
Album: The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Release date: April 2017


01. Nemoralia
02. Rolling Stone
03. So Falls The World
04. Southern Gothic
05. Angelus Novus
06. Transverberation
07. 1969
08. Coming Home


If Ulver were one of the X Men characters, they'd easily be Mystique. Ever changing, always in a state of flux, and able to morph their identity with incredible ease. When we last left off, Ulver dropped that "Zodiac Album" with the unpronounceable title. Highly psychedelic, jammy, and meditative, if you know the band and what they're all about by now, you know there's only one thing you can ever expect next out of them: the unexpected.

And indeed, considering their previous effort, for Ulver The Assassination Of Julius Caesar is a pretty big curveball. Musically this album is about as far removed from the Zodiac Album as could possibly be. Instead of that sound, here listeners are treated to a bright, synth-driven pop type landscape, held up, unquestionably, by the absolutely amazing vocals of Kristoffer Rygg. Here you get what is no doubt one of Ulver's best Rygg-centric albums to date, and I don't mean "Rygg centric" like Shadows Of The Sun or Wars Of The Roses, albums where his vocal presence was there, but in a very hushed, whisper-like delivery. Here he is the commander of this ship, offering up a soaring delivery and epic lyrics that do indeed revolve around themes of Rome, the Caesars, and relating subjects. My, oh my, just give "Nemoralia" or "Southern Gothic" a listen and let it melt your heart. This is one of the very few guys out there I'd legitimately go gay for because of his voice.

An increased presence for Rygg's vocals inevitably means a lower presence for instrumentation, or, to put it better, that the instrumentation here isn't really as crazy and all over the place as it was on their previous effort. This may come as a downer for some who really enjoyed that Zodiac Album, but it's testament to the fact that Ulver have a seemingly infinite number of ways of changing their style and still making it work. The music here is often pretty simplistic and reminiscent of basic pop song structures, but somehow it still carries a distinct "Ulver flair" in the fact that it's still very hypnotizing, relaxing, and spiritually uplifting. This is the real joy of The Assassination, this feeling that Ulver did go for a more conventionalized musical style here, but that they still totally owned it and made it their own. And goddamn, does it work oh so deliciously. Just give "So Falls The World" a listen if you want to see what I mean.

On The Assassination Of Julius Caesar, it's really Rygg who carries the weight of the music with his vocals and drives everything to its destination with his forward momentum. But that's OK, it's perfectly fine, because with this approach, one really can't complain and say that it means Ulver are a band that can't make good music without Rygg's powerful vocals at the helm, as this simply isn't the case. All this album is is an alteration for Ulver, what the band are all about really, one that goes from the extended, jammy instrumentation they've recently been playing with into a more restrained, poppy instrumentation dominated by the beautiful pipes of Kristoffer Rygg. Is it better? Is it worse? You decide. All I know is that as a total effin' sucker for both synthwave and Rygg's vocals, this is hands down my favorite Ulver release in years, and one that could easily become my favorite period with a few more listens. Yes, it's seriously that good.

The terrified cry of "Et tu, Brute?" has never sounded this beautiful.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10


 



Written on 18.04.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 66   Visited by: 507 users
24.05.2017 - 21:13
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.05.2017 at 20:46

When Rome falls...
...SO FALLS THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD!!!

Fell in love with that track when they played it live. Now that I listen to the studio version, still my favorite track. Best moment was probably the extended ending to "Coming Home" though, so hypnotizing.

I am indeed quite jelly that you got to see all of this live
----
Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
Loading...
24.05.2017 - 21:15
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by Apothecary on 24.05.2017 at 21:13

Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.05.2017 at 20:46

When Rome falls...
...SO FALLS THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD!!!

Fell in love with that track when they played it live. Now that I listen to the studio version, still my favorite track. Best moment was probably the extended ending to "Coming Home" though, so hypnotizing.

I am indeed quite jelly that you got to see all of this live


Those laser shows <3

Shit got seriously wicked good at the 6 min mark.
----
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
Loading...
24.05.2017 - 21:39
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.05.2017 at 21:15

Those laser shows <3

Oh man, what a great audio/visual combo
----
Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
Loading...
27.05.2017 - 18:54
mascow
Rolling stone is just so sexy a track feels like listening to Depeche Mode's 91 album "Violator" for the first time again
Loading...
08.10.2017 - 18:08
Danny Thomas
This album just does it for me. it's perfect rainy day writing music. As a whole,i think it's my favorite of their albums now.
----
Our children are dead. Burnt in the ruins that were left by war.
Loading...
12.10.2017 - 22:51
MvonSutherland
They get stuck in black atmosphere forever. Even if they make electro-pop album like this one. Their blood is black! Looks like Garm is ashamed for his BM period but can not run away from his past. Results are disappointing because Ulver is something between old shadows and the Sun.

I am a little bit angry for their recent releases, those after Shadows of the Sun. I wrote in another comment: Ulver changed ways of creation music since they started playing live. They lost something magical. Coincidence? I do not think so!
----
per aspera ad astra
Loading...

Hits total: 10830 | This month: 245