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Univers Zero - Uzed CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.27 | 314 ratings

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4 stars Univers Zero might have had transitional difficulties between Heresie and Ceux Du Dehors but those changes can't even come close to the grand scale transformation that the band has undergone since then.

Out with the old and in with the new seems to be the general conclusion that can be reached after looking at the band's line-up and especially after experiencing their new musical direction on Uzed. Roger Trigaux was the first to shake the band up by his departure but here Daniel Denis decided to replace the entire band for a completely different set of musicians. For me personally it is Michel Berckmans' leave of absence that feels much more prominent that anyone else because his bassoon defined the early Univers Zero sound. Still I think that it was a good decision to not replace him with a new bassoon player and instead, once again, push things forward.

They say that "when life gives you lemons make lemonade" and this saying seems to be very appropriate here since Daniel Denis's new Univers Zero took the lack of acoustic instruments to their advantage by spicing the line-up with electric sounds among the music arrangements. Michael Delory adds an electric guitar to the overall sound which is especially memorable for the daring guitar solo on Célesta (For Chantal) that always seemed to be the main topic of discussion once this album is mentioned. Jean-Luc Plouvier is still the one who gives Uzed some of its memorable touches with his synthesizer arrangements all throughout this album.

The album opens on another highlight in a sting of wonderful Univers Zero openers although this time around the synthesizer intro of Présage might have given a shock to the fan base. Luckily this shock would probably have been followed up by an enthusiastic cheer as the piece progressed. The first track is so spectacular that I personally would have loved for the band to extend it even further, which is actually the first time I ever feel this way about a long Univers Zero composition since most of them tend to overstay their welcome by a few minutes.

The next pleasant surprise that Uzed has to offer doesn't take long to arrive and it manifests itself in the first short masterpiece that the band has so far achieved. L'Etrange Mixture Du Docteur Schwartz is a crazy piece which reminds me a bit of Dense although it is even more dense in its format.

Parade is noteworthy for the interplay between heavy sounding bass and cello which adds an unexpected layer of groove to the overall sound of this composition. Unfortunately the final piece of this album strips away one of its rating stars for being the least uninspired performance that the band has so far given to its audiences. Emmanations is not really a bad composition but it doesn't justify its almost 16 minutes of playtime. The problem arises towards the middle section where the bass starts off a new rhythmic section which pretty much keeps on repeating itself for about 4 minutes.

Although its minor flaw towards the end of the album Uzed is a fresh and exciting new take on the ever so delightful music that Univers Zero has blessed us with so far. If this was the only album that the band had ever recorded then it would still be a much better recording than what many other bands can even achieve during their best moments.

***** star songs: Présage (9:50) L'Etrange Mixture Du Docteur Schwartz (3:53) Parade (6:37)

**** star songs: Célesta (For Chantal) (6:53) Emmanations (15:41)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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