It’s always really difficult to review an Ulver album as the group refuse to stick to one genre or style…. From the blackest metal, to psychedelic 60’s covers to orchestral chamber music to improvised post rock, it’s impossible to predict what an album will sound like.
So to latest the Ulver offering, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, and immediately we’ve taken another left turn as this must be their dance album!
Now this isn’t dance in the form of the lumpen dross pumped out of Heart FM but more prime time Depeche Mode. There’s a lot of electronic beats and throbbing bass lines but topped off with some quite cheerless lyrics ranging from Romans using Christians as human torches to the death of Princess Diana
The second track Rolling Stone is a fascinating example of where this album sits. For the first 6 minutes this is a pulsing dark dance floor filler reminiscent of the Human League with the females backing singers on the chorus and then for the final 3 minutes is veers wildly into anarchy - It now sounds like a group of chimps being let loose in Jean Michel Jarre’s storage room and they are all playing random synthesisers. Then to add to the chaos, Nik Turner of Hawkind is added to the mix with his own 'unique' saxophone playing. Utterly disturbing.
The album struggle to maintain interest on the second half before ending with a storming track, Coming Home. All spoken word and pure Violator era sound.
Seriously though it will take many listens before you can make any judgement as to where this album stands in what is now a very impressive back catalogue