Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Ulver "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" (2017)

To use Francis Bacon's horrifying "Screaming Pope" as a record cover is an ambitious statement. For a band once associated with Black Metal I half expected this to be a transition in sound but this three track EP is simply additional songs from the The Assassination Of Julius Ceasar recording sessions. Despite being left out, these may be some of the best songs from the album released earlier in the year. For Ulver's lush and serine re-imagining of 80s Synth Pop I do not understand the relation with the dark and harrowing painting of Fancis Bacon but its the least of concerns given there are three new songs to enjoy.

"Echo Chamber" treads on unearthed ground, an atmosphere of unsettled tension, cautiously guides us through a mid-tempo night time drive of synthetic atmosphere. Slow, winding melodies scale up against Rygg's lyrics siting terror events in London as a catalyst for the current social political climate. "Bring Out Your Dead" ironically brightens the mood with a fast bustling hi hat to shift things into cruise control, although the lyrics have a sad tone, the songs melodies and synth revolve around an uplifting emergence for the dark.

"The Power Of Love" gently unfolds with archaic pianos soaking in a rich reverb, Rygg softly sings with passion to lead us into a ballad as the instrumentation unfolds. Delicate deliveries and a sincere performance give it quite the charm and class to let an underlying string element lead us into a climatic conclusion in the songs second phase. Its a remarkable track but I can't help but ponder what a cheesy synth pop ballad it could of been. The same music, retrograded back a couple of decades, this would of been a blueprint chart topping cliche track, yet with the right approach and tone its an entirely different, very enduring song. A cracking EP, three solid songs, would love to hear more!

Rating: 4/10

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