Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X (2013)
Recorded with the Tromso orchestra, "Messe I.X-VI.X" is the logical culmination of Ulver' extension into experimental electronica that they've pursued since they released the legendary "Nattens madrigal." It's also a testament to the band's ambition and showcases some of their best atmospherics to date. The dark majesty of tracks such as "Son of Man" and "Glamour Box (Ostinati)" demonstrate the interweaving of classical and electronic sounds into something perfect for a film score. Whereas Ulver's past endeavors gave one the sense of isolation, the breathtaking, epic nature of this album invites you to look outside yourself and ponder the world. The mammoth centerpiece of the album "As Syrians pour into Lebanon..." alone makes this one of Ulver's finest achievements. It's just an immense, incredibly epic piece of art and one of the darkest, most beautiful pieces of classical music I've ever heard. As for the vocals, they're used quite sparingly in contrast to Ulver's previous works but where they do appear they're all the more effective and emotional. I daresay that this is Ulver's most cohesive and most accomplished work to date and while it doesn't quite touch the masterpiece that is "Shadows of the Sun" it's still a phenomenal piece of work and makes me all the more happy that they gave up on their black metal roots.


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