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Univers Zero - Clivages CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.04 | 203 ratings

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4 stars Since I've only been exploring Univers Zero for the past year I still haven't had time to acquire any of their post '80s. Lately my urge for new material from the band made me start considering a new purchase but once I heard the news of a possible new studio album my next course of action became all too clear.

This time around the line-up featured such familiar names as Daniel Denis (obviously), Michel Berckmans plus a brief, but very welcoming, appearance by Andy Kirk on Warrior and Soubresauts. But how does the band sound after all these years? Just like Uzed before it Clivages has an opening number which might once again manage to surprise the most dedicated fans. Les Kobolds begins with a surprisingly cheerful intro section and it's not until 1,5 minutes into the composition that I began to hear those familiar Univers Zero passages. It was a delightful shock which wore off entirely once the music transitioned into the next composition simply titled Warrior. The assumption of simplicity was completely uncalled for on my part since this 12 minute piece is the definite centerpiece of this entire album. The composition is very dark with haunting sounds of violin and basson penetrating through the listener while Denis is keeping a devilishly steady beat which gets a few obligatory drum fills here and there. The composition's second act gets slightly quieter which enhances the mood even more so once it all comes crashing down in its climactic ending one cannot help but shiver in delight.

What follows next are two shorter pieces in that distinct Univers Zero tradition which states that every highly demanding piece requires at least one chamber music composition to help with the transition to the next number. Vacillements played its part quite nicely while Earth Scream offered an unexpected sampling composition leading up to the album's next highlight.

Soubresauts is the second composition featuring Andy Kirk and just like the first time around this is a complete masterpiece of a composition which over its mere 8 minutes time manages to fuse together the best bits and pieces from the acoustic and electric periods of their career. The remainder of the album, although dramatic at times, can unfortunately not compete with the majestic first part. Straight Edge is the second composition that transcends the 10 minute barrier but the results here aren't as impressive. Hopefully that opinion will change after a few more revisits but as it stands today the piece has a few memorable sections which aren't fused together all that well.

After all these years it feels reassuring to know that Univers Zero is alive and well while still going strong in their important exploration of music boundaries as we know them. In their early years this band sounded like nothing we've ever heard before and although time might have caught up with Univers Zero in terms of production and sampling this music has a definite potential of transcending the barrier of time and live forever.

***** star songs: Les Kobolds (4:17) Warrior (12:12) Soubresauts (8:00)

**** star songs: Vacillements (3:37) Earth Scream (3:12) Apesanteur (3:42) Three Days (5:55) Straight Edge (13:55) Retour De Foire (7:44) Les Cercles d'Horus (3:45)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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