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April 5, 2017

Once again Michael Rendall (The Orb) and legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover have taken crystalline care of the mix. Or scoured the ruins of their own moonlit past? Finally, the wolves are back in the palace of excess, waltzing the night away. We’ve been riding this beast for the greater part of our lives, and the future is not what it used to be. Ulver’s Flowers of Evil was released on August 28th. Its emotive power and pop-infused sadness still draw me in. With Flowers of Evil Ulver have fled a burning Rome, only to confront further crime and corruption. “Little Boy” generates an equivalent emotive response by similarly trailing off for its closing moments, breaking down its stuttering guitars and filling the void with spacious synths, whining glitches and slow, ominous chords which bring the song to a sober but overwhelming end. The point is that humans are destined, by their very (un)divine nature, to violence and destruction. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. ‘Russian Doll’, the album’s first single, moves determinedly through the night, with a story of unfolding tragedy and misery. Slowly, nature finished what he had started. Flowers is a distinctly Ulver-inflected form of darkwave, drawing on the synth-tastic pop elements from its predecessor but stripping back the overt vibrancy which dominated the melodies and the mix. The closing lyrics of the album are a retelling of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 film ‘Salò’, which was, in turn, based on the Marquis de Sade’s ‘Days of Sodom’. SW17 7AE "Nostalgia" dares to be a funky summer hit from a distant past, lead by groovy guitars and a hypnotic chorus. It’s a skill particular to Ulver that they can write music which is not easy but which is easy to appreciate. Ulver doesn't do anything to push the synthpop sound they pursue out of its comfort zone and this keeps the album from greatness, but Flowers of Evil stands out as the band's most accessible album to date. This holds true as the weaving synths, subtle crescendos, vocal layers and electronica-influenced embellishments build deceptively complex structures. London Label: House of Mythology Rightfully so. Ulver - Flowers of Evil 8 songs lyrics: One Last Dance, Russian Doll, Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers, Hour of the Wolf, Apocalypse 1993, Little Boy, Nostalgia, A Thousand Cuts The closing 2 minutes on the opener “One Last Dance” features one looping passage which only subtly varies across its duration. I remain a fan of Ulver and their unique song-writing and melodic approach, and Julius Caesar stuck out in the discography as the happiest of the bunch. With Flowers of Evil Ulver have fled a burning Rome, only to confront further crime and corruption. Achtung: Letzte verfügbare Teile! Despite this, it’s far from unenjoyable. Soon after Orsini’s death, trees began to close in on these many peculiar beings, and green moss would eventually seize them. As this silent spring comes to an end, it’s time to reveal more of what the fabled Oslo band has buried from view. Always fond of lavish packages, this book of wolves is the latest addition to their sacred grove. The conversations began among the spring blossoms of two years ago, with the recollection of their first downtown Oslo rehearsal space, back in 1993, in the midst of a new home-grown scene – small, fertile and hell-bent on pushing boundaries. They discuss their reclusive studio existence, and the enlarged pack’s venture out into the open air as a live band. Coming full circle, this also affects the music. A dragon fights a dog and a wolf. From the band’s brief preface: We’ve been talking about making a book – the Ulver story – for years. Only I will remain. And while it’s true that the rest of the track gives a sort of solution in the form of animism and carnal release, which the previous album did as well, it is marginalized here, a side-note in an otherwise vociferous condemnation of the human equation. That record was fresh and catchy whereas this one is thematically and tonally drearier. Everything about Flowers is more sedate. Others will follow the band through their pantheon of friends and associates, obsessions and affinities. ‘Apocalypse 1993’ reveals Ulver at their catchiest, its bounding-goat groove running hand in hand with a grand chorus depicting the catastrophic events at Waco, Texas, during the winter of that year – the very same winter that saw the birth of Ulver’s first incarnation. The musical progression is not drastic from Julius Caesar. Off the back of 2017’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar and the Ulver Primer which we ran a few weeks ago, 2020 has bequeathed unto us a new full-length title from Norway’s Ulver. The first, true to its name, breaks with the nihilistic theme and looks fondly on the past, dotted with music and happy memories fading into the past. In the midst of the forest, the floor is littered with monstrous heads and mythical figures, frozen in torturous combat or threatened by wild beasts. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better? Visions similar to those of Orsini come to mind, as untamed life abounds: THEY SPREADTWIST AND TURNIN THE KILLING FIELDS.

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