Ulver - The Assassination Of Julius Caesar review




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Reviewer:
9.0

67 users:
7.96
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 2 / 2

Comments: 45   Visited by: 364 users
20.04.2017 - 00:29
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by 3rdWorld on 19.04.2017 at 22:04

Nice review Che, you are getting pretty good at writing about music from what I remember about your old reviews. Also what an album this, incredibly addictive and sexy as fuck. Good choice giving this a 10 for production, its as masterful as it gets.

Thanks dude, I really appreciate that because you're kinda right there, some of my older reviews definitely do kinda make me cringe looking back
But hey, we all gotta start somewhere. And yes, the sound of this album and the mixing's careful attention to detail is pretty flawless. That's probably Rygg's work more than anything, I'm pretty sure he usually handles a lot of aspects of the band's production and I think he's actually done quite a bit of mixing for some other bands out there as well
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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20.04.2017 - 03:07
BitterCOld
Gringo
It's not metal. really enjoyable, but not metal.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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20.04.2017 - 05:07
Unhealer
Eclecticist
POOR LITTLE SISTEEEER I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAAAAND
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20.04.2017 - 12:06
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
If you want to do something different from metal, follow Ulver and Igorrr.
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20.04.2017 - 12:20
BloodTears
ANA-thema
Written by Bad English on 19.04.2017 at 17:39

Written by BloodTears on 19.04.2017 at 13:02

I feel like I should listen to this, simply because I've been listening to electronic a lot lately.


its sad because you use to listen doom like 10 years ago and write an awesome poetry ....


It's not sad. I still listen to doom and I still write poetry. But metal isn't the only genre I listen to, obviously. Above it all, I like music.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
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20.04.2017 - 12:21
BloodTears
ANA-thema
Written by Apothecary on 19.04.2017 at 13:39

Written by BloodTears on 19.04.2017 at 13:02

I feel like I should listen to this, simply because I've been listening to electronic a lot lately.

You most definitely should, I can see you enjoying it a lot given some of the other stuff you're into. Love it when our tastes manage to align, Ana


Eheh Yes, it's a rare occasion but I like it too Pretty sure I'll enjoy this.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
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20.04.2017 - 14:20
pdepmcp
Maybe I'll be back in a few years, loving it, as it happened before with some of their stuff, but as of now I'm quite disappointed with this release.
I had to stop after just 4 tracks.
Not my stuff. Not now, at least.

Good review, though. It gave me a good idea of what it's all about. And I decided to give it a chance.
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20.04.2017 - 14:27
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Unhealer on 20.04.2017 at 05:07

POOR LITTLE SISTEEEER I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAAAAND

Goddamn, I really mishear lyrics sometimes man. I thought "Nero lights up the night" on Nemoralia was "Mirrored lights of the night," and I thought this line was "Born in a distance, I hope you understand"... someone needs their ears examined
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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20.04.2017 - 14:28
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by pdepmcp on 20.04.2017 at 14:20

Maybe I'll be back in a few years, loving it, as it happened before with some of their stuff, but as of now I'm quite disappointed with this release.
I had to stop after just 4 tracks.
Not my stuff. Not now, at least.

Good review, though. It gave me a good idea of what it's all about. And I decided to give it a chance.

Well I'm happy to hear that at least, part of my intent with my writing is to get people to check out the music even if it wouldn't ordinarily be their thing so.... success!
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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20.04.2017 - 16:48
Malignar
I can't believe it, but I kinda like it. I do think they could throw a guitar in the background to improve things even more.
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20.04.2017 - 17:12
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Malignar on 20.04.2017 at 16:48

I can't believe it, but I kinda like it. I do think they could throw a guitar in the background to improve things even more.

Hmmm... I can't really see it, personally. Not saying it wouldn't work, pop can certainly include guitar, but I don't really think that was the particular kind of pop feel they were going for here. More synth-driven than anything else
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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21.04.2017 - 20:20
Dave FC
That's a very very well done review. not been interested on Ulver last years but i'll check it out!
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23.04.2017 - 11:03
Heard the whole thing today, kinda liked it. Its better than previous one. Its not metal for sure but Ulver are not metal for quite some time now.
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23.04.2017 - 13:23
nikarg
doktor avalanche
Written by BloodTears on 19.04.2017 at 13:02

I feel like I should listen to this, simply because I've been listening to electronic a lot lately.

Do yourself a favour and listen to it. You'll love it!
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23.04.2017 - 13:32
nikarg
doktor avalanche
Written by Apothecary on 19.04.2017 at 03:45

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.04.2017 at 01:23

Good for what the album does... Being a Dpeche Mode clonish thing.

This is the main comparison I've heard with this one and while I'll agree there's a similarity, that band and this album are two entirely different beasts. Ulver clone no one

There is no parthenogenesis in music and every band has its own influences. Of course this album is fused with some of 80s electropop and the genre's masters that are Depeche Mode, but DM were never as sophisticated as Ulver in this album. If this is a clone, then every metal band should be considered a Black Sabbath clone, don't you think?
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