Whether you’re not afraid of musical experimentations, you couldn’t have miss Ulver.
Founded in 1993 in Norway, the band plays Black/Folk that progressively change to this Post-Punk/Ambient/Avant-Garde that they offer now. About line-up, we find Kristoffer Rygg (vocals/programmation, ex-Arcturus, ex-Borknagar), Tore Ylwizaker (keyboards/programmation), Ole Alexander Halstengård (electronics), Stian Westerhus (guitar), Jørn H. Sværen (miscellaneous) and Ivar Thormodsæter (drums) for Flowers of Evil, the band’s sixteenth album.
A soft, oppressive, soaring and piercing sound directly seizes us. One Last Dance opens this universe with ethereal vocals, a cosmic rhythmic and instruments that add to this enchanting ambience. If the vocalist clearly leads the game, with keyboards that help him, just like on Russian Doll, an intriguing song. Slightly darker than the previous one, it uses the same techniques to mesmerize us, make us travel through the musicians’ minds. Very catchy, Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers traps our mind once again and make it swing thanks to saturated guitar, a soft rhythmic and absorbing vocals. Hour of the Wolf comes back on darker but still captivating sonorities thanks to melancholic keyboards, while Apocalypse 1993 focuses on dancing sonorities to contrast with this heavy universe. The catchy languor returns for Little Boy, a heady song. Drums are way more aggressive, and the track uses some sound effects to oppress our mind, as well as a strange final part before Nostalgia. Needless to say that melancholy reigns over the song, and the vocalist is gathered by some female choirs that transcribes some kind of softness. Last song, A Thousand Cuts is the darkest and saddest song by far. But the rhythmic is still heady, soaring and the contrast is amazing.
Even if it is very far from Metal, Ulver offers us an incredible sound. Both pure and unhealthy, oppressing and soft, Flowers of Evil is a surprising and rich album. The band’s sound instantly captivates us and will only release us after the last note ended.