It's safe to say at the point in time you never know what kind of album Ulver is going to put out. It's also a safe guess that they will never be a black metal band again. The album opens with a swell of atmosphere is is almost hard to call a song, if I passed out on my synth and became a restless sleeper I'm sure the results would be similar. They do pull it together and write "Glammer Hammer " that is very cinematic, it's instrumental world music mixed with electronic and with a few hits of heavy guitar. It is a powerful piece of music and good to here hints of a heavier dynamic incorporated. There is an almost King Crimson meets the Labyrinth soundtrack feel to "Moody Stix" , it morphs into more of a march, not as compelling as the previous song, but not bad for the soundtrack to a fantasy game perhaps. "Cromagnosis" has a bass line merge from the buzz of electronic noise. A guitar part begins to form around it as it swirls into something with more of smoothed out Cure like post-punk groove before escalating into tribal drumming.
I like the fact that they are involving a darker current to the songs this time around.They do continue to litter the album with atmospheric interludes, that Brian Eno already did better. A whispered vocal finally surfaces on "Om Hanumate Namah" which carries an exotic Middle Eastern that spirals through it in places. The guitar tone is great and the song is dynamic for something meant to drone. Yeah , I'm not sure why there are sound effects of frogs opening the song "Desert/Dawn" since there are no frogs in the desert. This one falls closer into krautrock and is very electronic and drones in the same vein for most of the song only adding more layers of synth. "Gold Beach" is a more stagnant and less dynamic take on krautrock. "Nowhere ( Sweet sixteen) redeems this one with actual singing that is very influenced by Depeche Mode. Distorted guitar comes in over a baritone chant of "nowhere...catastrophe" . The guitar tone is a echoing hollow body that is pretty chilling. There is a slight Faith No More feel to this song as well, but dipped in 80s pop like Tears For Fears.
There are spoken word vocals that sound like something from post-prison Burzum on "Ecclesiastes" . The song it self if a minimalist drone for the first four minutes until actual singing returns and its the soulful almost George Michael style of singing .It makes me think of what it might sound like if Tears For Fears covered "Planet Caravan" . Of the 12 songs on this album only 8 of those are real songs the others are ambient interludes some of those I did not even care to acknowledge in this review. So when you trim the fat, this album gets an 8 when it comes down to the actual songs. More vocals would have been nice , but the cinematic quality is pretty captivating at times.
they've cracked down on everything from Youtube to Bandcamp on this ,will post audio when it surfaces.