Genre: Experimental/Metal Musical Collective
Label: House of Mythology
Ulver is a quite peculiar case in the music industry and at the same time an act that has gained my respect over the years for one thing mostly (among a plethora of others) – they do what they fucking want to do and each of their efforts bears their mark and suits them perfectly. Despite the constant changes of their sound, especially during the last 18 years, this unique entity, Ulver, has always had the support of their fans and listeners, even though their official releases didn’t always satisfy our Black Metal, Avant – Garde, Experimental, Progressive and so on preferences. What is most astonishing about Ulver’s case is that their efforts are still supported by people that identify themselves exclusively ‘metalheads’ or enthusiasts of the Black Metal genre. It’s magical.
What we’re dealing with today is the band’s latest effort, “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”, an album that was released on April 7th via House of Mythology. It consists of 8 tracks, with a total 44-minute duration. I know, so many months have passed; now you got the urge to say something? Well, I couldn’t understand it. I mean it. Every time the album was spinning, I told myself “I don’t understand”. Time has passed, I think I do now.
Let’s take things from the top. Ulver have once again released a truly challenging record; challenging both for their fanbase and for themselves, as they push everything to the limit. Once again, the band tried to redefine itself, moving towards a more ‘pop’ (maybe ‘pop’ is actually what it is) direction, with tracks that make your body move and tracks that should an open-minded DJ trust, they would be appreciated at clubs and after-bars. Everything moves outside of what you have in mind. Not an inch of those elements that Ulver have offered us before. “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” is a pop – dance album. It’s elegant and quirky, twisted and satisfying, paranoid yet tranquil, minimal and perplexed, all simultaneously. “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” is an epitome of imbalances that lead to an extremely balanced result. I know, I sound crazy, but that’s it. Ulver’s compositions are highly intellectual and full of contradictory feelings, reminding us of nothing similar. The only thing I would say is that Depeche Mode should have been a part of this. Both acts would click instantly.
Extra kudos to this release adds the album’s exceptional cover art: alabaster bodies, with intense, yet subtle, indirect movement. Despite the apparent simplicity, passion overflows. To this day, I still cannot understand how and why, or where Ulver draw inspiration from. And I don’t mean it thinking as a metal-punk-rock’n’roll enthusiast, that’s far from it. It’s truly astounding to see how easily Ulver can transform themselves and after all how much ballsy that is. Surely, this particular release shouldn’t be visited by the narrow – minded, so please, if you cannot accept other forms of music apart from Metal, keep away.
There will be no ranking this time, just an exhortation to give it a change.