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Univers Zero - Uzed CD (album) cover

UZED

Univers Zero

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.26 | 214 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars On Uzed, Univers Zero changed towards a more rocking approach, brought about by a bigger presence of drums and bass, and even with some sparse electric guitar. The result is a good album that is commonly recognized as a highpoint in the RIO field. But in case the whole RIO idea puts you off for being too artsy and contrived, Uzed might not be the album that will put your worries at ease.

At their best, the band craft their Stravinsky inspired chamber rock into a solid and fluent listen. Not an easy-listen of course, but still with enough attention to good hooks and rocking energy. The opening Présage for example starts very fluently with a repeated theme on piano, melodic violins and energetic outbursts on drums and bass. Halfway in things get more frenzied but everything remains quite accessible and spontaneous.

L'étrange Mixture is a whole lot stranger indeed, with lots of modernist influences, weird rhythms and nervous harmonies. This is where the arty avant-garde side of this music takes over from spontaneous creativity and emotion. It doesn't really satisfy me.

Célesta is entirely different and explores a more introspective and romantic side of classic music rather then the expressionist urge that usually dominates UZ's sound. At least that is the case till they rip the calm apart with a heavily dissonant ending, even featuring some electric guitar. A masterful composition.

Parade is more up-tempo, very busy, and very nervous. As on L'étrange Mixture, my sensitive ears experience an issue with the sound on this album. I'm not a big fan of the 80's electrical piano sound here, also the thin drum sound can't charm me. Had they used a more acoustically sounding production, it might have worked better. It's something that bothers me throughout the album but especially on this track, probably because I would have liked more edge here.

Emmanations is the most difficult track on the album. It starts very appealing, thick with atmosphere, unpleasant industrial sounds and droning rhythms. Halfway in it seems to run out of fuel though. Maybe it's the clinical sound again, as I could see this working very well in a live context. However, this album version lacks the fire I would expect from this kind of music.

Some excellent tracks and some good ones, but not the UZ album that I return to most often. Something's missing and unless I found it some time, I'll leave it at 3.5 stars.

Bonnek | 3/5 |

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