Monday, August 19, 2013

Ulver: "MESSE I.X–VI.X"

This classic Norwegian black metal followed in Bathory's steps to bring the folk elements into black metal . The have long abandoned black making every thing from drone to A Perfect Circle like alternative rock. This new album goes in a more droney direction, but incorporates experimental chamber music. It opens with an 11 minute symphonic piece , people are quick to label it classical , but it has to actually become a classic to qualify for that. The more noisy elements in the second song "Shri Schneider " is more interesting that when they rely on just strings. The electronics add an eerie quality,

"Glamor Box" the electronic elements begin to take over the strings, to their credit they have retained the atmosphere and darker qualities from when they played black metal to some extent. This song has a very Sigur Rios post-rock swell to it and almost reaches the point of being heavy. The strings return for their revenge on "Son of man", but this is balance out by the fact it is also the first time vocals make an appearance on this album.  Rygg's vocals are superb as always and multi layer with harmonies. However it almost gets a little pretentious when the song closes in its grandiose instrumental fashion.

"Noche oscura del alma" is darker with the electronic elements wasting no time to creep in. Lowered effected vocals float in on this grim rain cloud of a song that looms like it needs a blast beat to bust out of it.  There is a moment of cascading samples where it reminds me of Skinny Puppy for a few seconds m which is how experimental this guys go.

The album closes with "Mother of Mercy" , thankfully the vocals are present from the beginning. The melody they take on is a little more conventional than what I expect from Rygg. A drum kit materializes in the ode to Mary. The vocals have a refined broadway quality to them. Every thing sounds good on this album and the band achieves what they set out to do on this one. I  appreciate their creative spirit but its over all not something I expect to get a lot of mileage out of it but recognize the talent here when I hear it so will give it an 8.


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