House Of Mythology
OK, Ulver used to be a black/folk inspired metal band until some point in 1997, but with “William Blake’'s…” album they started diversifying and transmorphing into something vastly different. They still appeal mostly to metallers for some reason, I can’t quite understand, even if they are really far away from metal, as they could be.
On this their thirteenth release, the band took some live recordings from eleven or so in number different shows where the band was sort of improvising/jamming over some very basic and repetitive pasterns and Daniel O’Sullivan, a rather more recent member of the band that plays a bit of everything, edited them and did some overdubs, enhancements etc.
The album varies little, as it moves between drone, opener “England’s Hidden” is 7 minutes of mostly sustained sounds repeated or stretched to the point of exhaustion.
“Glammer Hammer” is an electronic rock jam that has a nice main idea, but again is quite repetitive with a bit of a half arsed conclusion.
“Moody Stix” revolves around a funky little idea and some nifty drumstick interplay but yeah, again, the band’s mottos seems to be – practice makes best, let’s do this 100 times over.
“Cromagnosis” repeats a neat idea for six minutes while reusing the “Stix” sample and then just goes apeshit jazzy for the next 3 or so minutes, still managing to do so over a steady but rising beat.
I should pray that “The Spirits that Lend Strength, (Are Invisible)” gimme some to go through another droney 3 or so minute and the very molten and slightly eastern tinged 7 minute jam that “Om Hanumate Namah” is. (Apparently the guys must have loved the “stix” sample because it also makes a brief appearance here at some point, I think – or I might just be tripping).
I will give it to Ulver that despite being mainly a drone workout over just a handful of notes on keys “Desert-Dawn” is quite atmospheric.
As is the 9 or so minute “D-Day Drone”, which however is quite boring.
“Gold Beach” sounds like someone sampled and then just stretched over time some shitty new-age “relaxation” music piece. Soothing perhaps, but again quite tedious.
Rygg decides to sing over “Nowhere (Sweet Sixteen)”, which doesn’t seem to cover or really sample Billy Idol’s, although some soundscapes over the chorus sound – mood compatible. Rygg sounds good and the song, which because of the presence of vocals is easier to follow and almost sounds poppy compared to the rest of the album.
And since he opened his mouth, Rygg doesn’t feel like shutting it on the nine minute “Ecclesiastes (A Vernal Catnap)”, a bizarre again drone-y minimalist workout, which begins with some spoken part and concludes with some barely in tune, weezy vocals… some will say atmospheric and it does indeed generate a kind of miserable, woeful atmosphere that it tries to transpose onto the listener, but I was barely “touched”.
Finally, “Solaris” is a 2 minute sampled electronic piece that in its repetitious pattern manages to both not outstay its welcome but also offer a bizarre yet fitting conclusion to the album.
Honest to God, I dislike “drone” and when it comes to psychedelic styff, I prefer really prog or apeshit jazzy-acid dropping stuff by people who could really play. So this is an uneasy listen for me. Some people might find this “a masterpiece” no doubt, mostly hipsters, some old school blacksters that are so used to buying albums from band X or Y, as long as it comes out on limited vinyl that will appreciate this and people suffering from insomnia, because this might actually help them. Sleepy, repetitious, droney, I could only put this as background music to some tasks, just to not be in silence or listen to it while taking a shit really, because I don’t give a damn.