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Ulver - Wars Of The Roses CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.80 | 174 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ulver was considered one of the best black metal bands when they released their first three albums. But from there their music changed completely, going way on the experimental side, using electronic. 'Wars Of The Roses' is the band's tenth studio album, and it's just as experimental and just as non metal as the other more recent albums. The result didn't disappoint me, like I thought it would.

There is a big difference in style compared to the other Ulver albums of the second era: this seems to be much more rock influenced, with tons of piano, drums, bass; basically it sounds like simple art rock, since of course the keyboards and synths are really highlighted. We also got some Gregorian vocals here and there, that accompany Kristoffer Rygg's deep and profound voice. Generally it's nothing like the previous album, 'Shadows of the Sun'. The production is high class, the mixing is perfect, so no complaints here.

The moods of this album are very chilled (not minimalist and bleak like 2007's release), which make this album so haunting. But it's also very cerebral, complex, and maybe even romantic in some moments. An album that not many will appreciate, as I can see, but these elements mixed together have usually an excellent result, as this is in my opinion. However, there is some small, but noticeable traces of creepiness and gothic atmospheres, thanks to the Gregorian vocals, or thanks to the lush keyboards. This is what maybe the fans would look for in 'Wars Of The Roses', but the truth is that from this point of view they'll be disappointed, as this is a much more 'positive' album than all their other, much darker releases.

There are many songs here that stole my heart the minute I heard them, which was when I saw Ulver live, performing the whole album; 'February MMX' is a great opener, a little tense because of the piano, and the great performance by Kristoffer on vocals. 'Norwegian Gothic' is a shorter but still impressive song, the one that most reminds me of 'Shadows Of The Sun'. Even 'England', 'Providence', or 'September IV' are worthy of mentioning. But the song that is really getting some buzz among the Uver fans is the epic fifteen minutes of 'Stone Angels', a spoken word song, accompanied by soft piano and electronics. I personally don't consider this the highlight of the album, nor it's true heart. These songs are very cerebral especially lyrically speaking, concerning existentialism, English culture(literature in particular), religion, always narrated with a somewhat gothic appearance.

An album full of culture, like the title might imply, that like I said is not and will not be loved by many. But 'Wars Of the Roses' is a really enjoyable experience, that is even more rich and ambitious live.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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