Ulver
The Assassination of Julius Caesar


4.0
excellent

Review

by TheSpirit CONTRIBUTOR (146 Reviews)
November 20th, 2018 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is bigger than us. A stronger wind is blowing.

I’d never thought I’d see the day an Ulver album would have me shaking my ass, but since the release of The Assassination of Julius Caesar I’ve seen many. It’s an art pop album that only Ulver could make: it’s cerebral, textural, and progressive. It travels back thirty years, grabs new wave, gothic, and alternative and then jettisons it 100 years into the future. “Rolling Stone” is the best example. Close your eyes and the pulsating bass, electronic drums, and earworm chorus wouldn’t sound out of place in some grimy Manhattan club during the ’80s. Whether it’s the 1980s or 2080s is up for discussion. As the song progresses so do the oddities, modulating core melodies and disintegrating the once palatable harmonies into a futuristic static. Despite the sublime dichotomy of a new take on old sounds, Kristoffer easily shines as the album’s brightest star. Whether it’s the casual indifference he portrays in opener “Nemoralia” or the soaring runs on “Angelus Novas”, he’s settled so comfortably in the forefront it makes you wonder why it took so long to put him there. Ulver have done it all. Black metal" Check. Folk" Nailed it. Ambient" BOI! And now with The Assassination of Julius Caesar, Ulver can add art pop to the list of things they do better than anyone else



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Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Benjamin Kuettel STAFF (4.3)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2018


24741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm better at shorter reviews

Digging: wellspring - iris's room

DungeonBoy
November 20th 2018


5412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with the review above.

Digging: Dawn - Apparition

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2018


24741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thank u

Dewinged
November 20th 2018


14351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Incredible album, just jammed it yesterday while being a bit tipsy and oooh boi. Pure sex.



Nice short write up Spirit, allow me a quick fix: it's "Angelus Novus" instead of "Novas".

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Crucible

Underflow
November 20th 2018


4861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

poor little sister, i hope you understand

Dewinged
November 20th 2018


14351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The babe in the woods will be taken by a wolf





uuuuuhhhh so good

Firedust
November 20th 2018


617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review!

Album is awesome

Sunnyvale
November 20th 2018


935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, good short review

AmbushReality
November 21st 2018


52 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok guys very new to Ulver so don't totally blast me for this. I actually really enjoy this record and its accompanying b-side EP because I dig that 80's dark pop shit. But, my question is, how did this band get away with the transition from black metal to pop without much of a hitch? They've got high ratings, with loads of votes, on nearly every release. Granted, this is obviously very well executed pop music, but you often see bands make a less drastic shift from a poppier metal subgenre into a more accessible sound and get castrated for it. Take letlive. for example. A couple of siiiiick post hardcore records with some poppy elements, then one on the softer side and though still well executed, torn apart by a large part of their fanbase.

RikRoach7
November 21st 2018


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it's got something to do with how they went completely through with it. They didn't mix the pop or electronic elements into their black metal. Instead, say, when they released Perdition City, it was clear to everyone that this wasn't the Ulver of Bergtatt, it was a completely different thing. A smooth transition can have that "uncanny valley" effect to the fans of the older style and they always avoided that.



Also, even in their black metal days, they didn't do a style twice, so it wasn't that much of a shock. Their second album is completely folk, for example.

Trifolium
November 21st 2018


2921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But in the early days they did get a lot of flak for it too. People just got used to them being different and accepted their high quality output. True, they were accepted quite easily, but during the switch a lot of people were angry too!

DungeonBoy
November 21st 2018


5412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ulver has had a strange career. Out of their 11 full lengths only 2 were metal, but those 2 are landmark black metal albums. Their 2nd record which was part of the black metal trilogy was their stab at a classical album, so even in their black metal prime they were trying to do something different. If you listen to the following albums like the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Perdition City, Blood Inside, etc. they are pretty experimental and abstract. I think that helped make it alluring for their transition from metal to more electronic music, but they are a very far cry from pop. There are tons of purists who hated the transition, but I think most people are willing to give bands a chance with new material, and because it was executed so masterfully with albums like Perdition City, Shadows of the Sun, and even this to a degree, I think people gave them the credit they were due regardless of the genre.

RikRoach7
November 21st 2018


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also remember them putting a short text about it in their Metamorphosis EP booklet, researching it, it sounds like this: "If this discourages you in any way, please have the courtesy to refrain from voicing superficial remarks regarding our music and/or personae. We are as unknown to you as we always were." So there was a backlash, but they were clear about their intentions to go through with it.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 21st 2018


24741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks everyone!



@ambushreality - exactly what trifolium said. at first people were super unhappy. but as successive generations began listening to black metal -and ulver- we only knew them as a band that put out the trilogy and then veered into other musical territory. it wasn't about it being a transition anymore, it was just a fact. no more metal. that allowed people to be open minded about and appreciate their later releases. not too mention that metal fans have become a lot more open minded in general in terms of listening to different styles of music.

DungeonBoy
November 21st 2018


5412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"not too mention that metal fans have become a lot more open minded in general in terms of listening to different styles of music."



I agree with this whole-heartedly. This shift was in the hey day of black metal kvlt elitists that would spit on anything remotely untrve, and from an anecdotal experience, you don't really see it as much on the internet these days as you did back in the 90's/early 2000's



Spec
November 21st 2018


35631 Comments


Good shit brotha.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 21st 2018


24741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thank you bb

naughtcturnal
November 22nd 2018


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

another great review to remind of this beautiful, beautiful album

Doctuses
December 7th 2018


1878 Comments


would neg

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2018


24741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maybe next time bud



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