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Univers Zero - Heatwave CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.08 | 154 ratings

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4 stars Heatwave continues the more electric sound of Uzed. A battery of synths is applied to add an extra layer of weirdness and dissonance. It's an exceptional work of art again and it confirms Univers Zero as a unique brand that guarantees a refreshing and adventurous listening experience.

With Heatwave the album opens with one of UZ's most impressive compositions. The integration between the modern classical influences and RIO has come to full fruition. The bass, drums and electric guitars take up a very important role and create a dark and urgent momentum, often recalling Magma. This track must be a sure favourite of the new RIO generation bands like Nebelnest and Guapo.

UZ were certainly not living on an island, Belgium had a very lively post-punk scene and UZ show those influences. Chinavox is the RIO version of what Japan was doing on Tin Drum. It has a strong Cantonese flavour, be it twisted by modernist dissonance and intimidating alien ambience.

Also Bruit Dans Les Murs shows how UZ incorporated elements from concurrent post-rock/industrial acts. The stark opening part reminds me very much of Coil's Horse Rotorvator album from the preceding year. Also Laibach comes to mind, certainly where the brass section joins at the 1.40 minute mark. UZ develops the piece with more dynamical musicianship then named bands - especially the drums had never been given such an important role in UZ's sound - but the prevailing cold mechanical feel is very similar.

The Funeral Plain is another highlight, starting very intimately, with gently unsettling piano playing and very moody clarinet melodies. The disconcerting feeling grows as it continues, the piano gets louder, the clarinet and synths more frantic and the impressive drums join. Excellent build up. The second section is more experimental, sampled machine sounds provide rhythm and the instruments hover above it in dissonant disarray. Around minute 13 it changes into a very Stravinsky kind of march that grows into an insane and alien rocking atmosphere. Pure horror soundtrack material.

I am quite surprised at the moderate reception of this album. I find this to be UZ's most mature and accomplished work, both from a compositional perspective as for its powerful atmosphere and intensity. I guess the dark and industrial edge is less attractive to most listeners, but that sure doesn't frighten the dark PA forces here! 4.5 stars, my favourite together with Heresie and Crawling Wind.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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