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Rating:
8.7
Ulver - Wars Of The Roses
25 April 2011


01. February MMX
02. Norwegian Gothic
03. Providence
04. September IV
05. England
06. Island
07. Stone Angels


Oh those wolves. Those tricky Norwegians, Ulver, are back. Blah blah blah. I'm not going to mince words retracing their evolution and I'll assume you've passed the 101 class. Lesson not needed.

I have enjoyed the vast majority of their sonic journey, and their last, 2007's Shadows Of The Sun was one of my absolute favorite releases of that year. To say I was eagerly anticipating this album would be a massive understatement.

So we get it. They've dropped their first album in four years. What's it sound like?

The short answer might be a surprising "more of the same. Kinda."

Wars Of The Roses almost seems to be a bit of a retrospective of the past dozen years of the band's existence. (That's 84 years in wolf years. Or at least dog years, which is probably close enough.) Overall it seems most akin to its predecessor. This album is slow, mellow, moody, melancholic, and heavily atmospheric.

But, as one might expect with this band, its not just that simple.

Album opener "February MMX" is a mid-pace piece that screams indie rock. Drums and piano riffs propel this song along in such a manner that my friends who lamented not being able to score tix to Coachella this year would be racing to the record store after hearing it… But it's a great misdirect. It's an enjoyable song (but perhaps the weakest on the album) that tossed me for a loop, as I was expecting something mellower and maybe stringy. Or ambient.

And then for most the rest of the album the energy (and pulse) are cut to life-support pace.

The songs are well crafted and get a little stronger as the album goes on. While as a whole they might be as slow and mellow as the last album, they are prone to a little more expressive flourishes, such as the slight boost to tempo and saxophone found in "Providence".

Additionally some of the crazier component pieces found in Blood Inside that made that album a (IMBO) cacophonous mess at times are very, very tightly reined in and used as, uh, flair to the music here. For example the brilliant "September IV" ends with a bit of a flourish that adds to the song, without going overboard, like, say, "Operator" from Blood Inside, which sounds like Garm Bungle. Skip button city. Not this go around. It works.

In addition to Garm's familiar vocals, performed in the style of Ulver's preceding album, the band now also counters him with some female singing on "Providence".

The experience comes to a very, very prolonged ending with "Stone Angels", a track that you will either love or immediately delete off your hard drive forever. "Stone Angels" is what feels to be similar to one of the various Silence releases, only instead of, well, silence, the track features a spoken word version of the poem entitled "Stone Angels" (bet you didn't see that one coming!) by Keith Waldrop. Clocking in at just shy of 15 minutes, making it about as long as the latest album from Magrudergrind, and it accounts for about 1/3 of Wars Of The Roses.

All in all perhaps this album was a slight letdown on first listen, as it seemed, beyond the opener and closer to be Shadows Of The Sun MMXI. And by slight letdown, I mean thoroughly enjoyable, but kind of fell in to place where I thought, ahead of time, it would… and the only thing to expect about this band is the unexpected. Repeated spins, however, have yielded increased appreciation. The layering isn't horribly complex, but each time finds a little something new to appreciate.

To say I like this album would be like saying Chuckie Sheen likes checking into a hotel, and simultaneously banging seven grams and three pr0nstars, each of whom have more communicable diseases than Manowar has live albums.

Adonis DNA with Ulf blood. Duh. Enjoying.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Ulver
Album: Wars Of The Roses


 



Written on 29.04.2011 by
Xnoybis
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by Xnoybis ››



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MechanisT - 29.04.2011 at 00:18  
You pretty much nailed it with the review, man! Great work! Absolutely agree with how you described the album! I disagree with you in that I find "February MMX" a thoroughly enjoyable song and on par with the other tracks. Have to agree with the love-it-or-hate-it "Stone Angels". I for one "hated" it. It would've been so much better replacing this with a couple of neat tracks to round up the album pretty nice.
With that being said, I found Wars of the Roses greatly fulfilling and have no complains with it overall. This a really good album, which is the most important thing.
Again, great review!
Mikyz - 29.04.2011 at 08:35  
I actually liked "Stone Angels". It was weirdly relaxing. Some of the other songs were more rock oriented than I anticipated. Great review, and album.
Deadsoulman - 29.04.2011 at 10:32  
So far, meh.

I'm so not impressed that everyday I think about giving this another spin but can't gather the strength to hit play. The album sounds like a mix of SOTS and Blood Inside but less good than those two. I'm not going to write it off though because some Ulver albums took a rather long time to grow on me. But none has ever sounded as tame as this one. I'm a little worried.
Himann - 29.04.2011 at 12:58  
Confusing album title here. It could symbolise the war between Lancaster and York in the 15th century or could simply be a translation of Rosenkrieg which has more to do with marriage. Base don one of the press releases I've read, I can only assume its neither.
malaikat - 29.04.2011 at 13:36  
Written by Himann on 29.04.2011 at 12:58

Confusing album title here. It could symbolise the war between Lancaster and York in the 15th century or could simply be a translation of Rosenkrieg which has more to do with marriage. Base don one of the press releases I've read, I can only assume its neither.



"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
-Sigmund Freud
Merchant of Doom - 29.04.2011 at 13:44  
Disappointing... not because I don't like it, but because, if we take the last "song" away, the album only lasts 30 minutes...
Troy Killjoy - 29.04.2011 at 14:24  
Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 13:36

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
-Sigmund Freud

I believe the correct quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

The cigar/cigar quote was attributed to him after his death, whereas the pipe/pipe was a response to a question during a lecture.
metaleaterr - 29.04.2011 at 14:34  
Ulver is just perfection....wolf perfection.....great composition!!!!!!!!Norweigians rule metal......whooooooooooooohahhhhhhh!!!
Luneth - 29.04.2011 at 16:03  
This is a brilliant album, enjoyed it thoroughly.
malaikat - 29.04.2011 at 16:36  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.04.2011 at 14:24

Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 13:36

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
-Sigmund Freud

I believe the correct quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

The cigar/cigar quote was attributed to him after his death, whereas the pipe/pipe was a response to a question during a lecture.


No, definitively "cigar", because if it's phallus-like symbolic. He (Freud) tried to say that even though his theory of psycho analysis tries to see everyhing through male/female, eros/tanatos, id/ego/super-ego sumbolism, sometimes things are just... things, whit no hidden meaning whatsoever. As said, he specifically used "cigar" because od it's (supposed) "phallusoid" conotations.
Ozman - 29.04.2011 at 16:41  
Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 16:36

Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.04.2011 at 14:24

Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 13:36

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
-Sigmund Freud

I believe the correct quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

The cigar/cigar quote was attributed to him after his death, whereas the pipe/pipe was a response to a question during a lecture.


No, definitively "cigar", because if it's phallus-like symbolic. He (Freud) tried to say that even though his theory of psycho analysis tries to see everyhing through male/female, eros/tanatos, id/ego/super-ego sumbolism, sometimes things are just... things, whit no hidden meaning whatsoever. As said, he specifically used "cigar" because od it's (supposed) "phallusoid" conotations.


Troy is right:

the following can be found on wikiquote:

""Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
This quote is often attributed to Sigmund Freud to show that even that a famous psychoanalyst can admit that not everything has a profound meaning; However, no variation of this quote ever appears in his writings. It was probably falsely attributed by a journalist, long after Freud's death.
Actually, the quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe." The story goes that Freud was lecturing on oral fixation and one of his cheekier students asked about his ever-present pipe and Freud replied, sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.
An alternative from Rudyard Kipling, from his poem "The Betrothed,": "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." The full passage is:
"A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;

And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke." "
malaikat - 29.04.2011 at 16:46  
Written by Ozman on 29.04.2011 at 16:41

Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 16:36

Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.04.2011 at 14:24

Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 13:36

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
-Sigmund Freud

I believe the correct quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

The cigar/cigar quote was attributed to him after his death, whereas the pipe/pipe was a response to a question during a lecture.


No, definitively "cigar", because if it's phallus-like symbolic. He (Freud) tried to say that even though his theory of psycho analysis tries to see everyhing through male/female, eros/tanatos, id/ego/super-ego sumbolism, sometimes things are just... things, whit no hidden meaning whatsoever. As said, he specifically used "cigar" because od it's (supposed) "phallusoid" conotations.


Troy is right:

the following can be found on wikiquote:

""Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
This quote is often attributed to Sigmund Freud to show that even that a famous psychoanalyst can admit that not everything has a profound meaning; However, no variation of this quote ever appears in his writings. It was probably falsely attributed by a journalist, long after Freud's death.
Actually, the quote is "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe." The story goes that Freud was lecturing on oral fixation and one of his cheekier students asked about his ever-present pipe and Freud replied, sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.
An alternative from Rudyard Kipling, from his poem "The Betrothed,": "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." The full passage is:
"A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;

And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke." "


Wikiquote? Dude, really. Psychology is my minor. But I guess i could check whit my professors.
Ozman - 29.04.2011 at 16:50  
Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 16:46

Wikiquote? Dude, really. Psychology is my minor. But I guess i could check whit my professors.


If you'll google the quote you'll see that the pipe things has been misquooted. Btw a pipe is as phallic as a cigar or cigarette and of course has to do with oral fixation as well
Mr. Doctor - 29.04.2011 at 16:53  
I'm pretty damn sure it's pipe. Also, no offense dude but studying something doesn't give you a ticket to the "therefore I'm right" camp.
Ozman - 29.04.2011 at 16:55  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 29.04.2011 at 16:53

I'm pretty damn sure it's pipe. Also, no offense dude but studying something doesn't give you a ticket to the "therefore I'm right" camp.


Hell I studied biology and let me guarantee you that when it came to genetics at the time is was way way way way way way off.
malaikat - 29.04.2011 at 17:21  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 29.04.2011 at 16:53

I'm pretty damn sure it's pipe. Also, no offense dude but studying something doesn't give you a ticket to the "therefore I'm right" camp.


Yeah, that's mine opinion too, but studying something IS a better source than Wiki-anything. I'm not saying that I'm 100% right, just saying what the professor told us. But the point is the same, not everything has to be a symbol.

Oh btw great album, 9 from me
Mr. Doctor - 29.04.2011 at 17:43  
Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 17:21

but studying something IS a better source than Wiki-anything.


Of course, I agree with that.
Glad that you didn't take my opinion as harsh criticism but just a little observation
Xnoybis - 29.04.2011 at 19:34  
Sometimes an album review thread is just about the album.

merch, i can see that... i still feel Shadows was too short... so "Stone Angels" might be an odd thing to add to the album to boost length, but it's not terribly surprising for them. basically Blake + Silence. but a 40 minute album with that tacked on the end would feel a bit more complete than a 30 minute one.

COllin - it is more of the same. I loved Shadows, have mixed feelings about Blood... so i liked they way they used the basic structure of the former, and took what had been, to me, at times excessive bits of Blood Insider and reined them in to fit the structure a little better. this one might grow on you. it did a bit on me... but then again, it might not as it's not as an extreme or abrupt departure from previous efforts as you'd like.
malaikat - 30.04.2011 at 00:43  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 29.04.2011 at 17:43

Written by malaikat on 29.04.2011 at 17:21

but studying something IS a better source than Wiki-anything.


Of course, I agree with that.
Glad that you didn't take my opinion as harsh criticism but just a little observation


Oh, no big deal, we're all civilized people here
Darkside Momo - 03.05.2011 at 00:12  
Well, I like this one much more than Shadows Of The Sun, probably thanks to the Blood Inside bits (I REALLY love that one, personnaly). Sure, hearing them live first also helps.
And September IV is awesome.
Himann - 03.05.2011 at 11:47  
Written by Xnoybis on 29.04.2011 at 19:34

Sometimes an album review thread is just about the album.

This was the case here until people started telling me about pipes and cigars.

Anyways, the point put forward is probably spot on. There is nothing more that can be gained from the album title beyond the obvious.
DahliaRock - 04.05.2011 at 00:18  
I dance like a retard to February MMX..
Introspekrieg - 04.05.2011 at 00:35  
I rate this album 7 pipes out of 10 cigars
Darkside Momo - 04.05.2011 at 01:19  
Written by Introspekrieg on 04.05.2011 at 00:35

I rate this album 7 pipes out of 10 cigars

Strange, I do it the other way around.
Or maybe eight, because for February 'cigars' MMX and September IV.
Introspekrieg - 04.05.2011 at 01:38  
Written by Darkside Momo on 04.05.2011 at 01:19

Written by Introspekrieg on 04.05.2011 at 00:35

I rate this album 7 pipes out of 10 cigars

Strange, I do it the other way around.
Or maybe eight, because for February 'cigars' MMX and September IV.


lol I didn't even think about it rationally, I was just trying to be funny
Darkside Momo - 04.05.2011 at 09:28  
Written by Introspekrieg on 04.05.2011 at 01:38

Written by Darkside Momo on 04.05.2011 at 01:19

Written by Introspekrieg on 04.05.2011 at 00:35

I rate this album 7 pipes out of 10 cigars

Strange, I do it the other way around.
Or maybe eight, because for February 'cigars' MMX and September IV.


lol I didn't even think about it rationally,

Did I?
Xnoybis - 04.05.2011 at 10:21  
Written by Darkside Momo on 04.05.2011 at 09:28

Did I?


Did anyone? seriously, the percentage of posts on this thread discussing the album in any vaguely serious sense is lower than the alcohol percentage of the beer i am drinking now...

shit, i should have reviewed the local Cigar Shop, apparently.
Introspekrieg - 04.05.2011 at 11:02  
Written by Xnoybis on 04.05.2011 at 10:21

Written by Darkside Momo on 04.05.2011 at 09:28

Did I?


Did anyone? seriously, the percentage of posts on this thread discussing the album in any vaguely serious sense is lower than the alcohol percentage of the beer i am drinking now...

shit, i should have reviewed the local Cigar Shop, apparently.


Drinking + MS? You must be drinking Miller Lite...

To validate any spammy posts I will give a real opinion...

Shadows Of The Sun may be one of my favorite albums so I went into this very eagerly. I have to say I haven't completely digested this one, but that's the beauty of such works. So far England, Island and Stone Angels are really hitting me on the same level, but I can't find a weak point otherwise. If anything, the album starts off slowly, maybe unexpectedly, and really crashes down on you towards the end if you are still paying attention (yes, Stone Angels). The fact is, this album is very intriguing. The music just seems, I don't know, out of my league? If that even makes sense? I will keep you updated on my progressing opinion of this one...
Troy Killjoy - 05.05.2011 at 00:39  
Sorry for derailing your review thread Mr. COld.
Et Ermit - 14.06.2011 at 09:04  
I can't say i love the album, but i can say it's a good company
JD - 07.12.2011 at 18:44  
I don't agree with the review since the album is boring and average for me.

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