There’s a hidden irony behind what Ulver call their pop album. The wolves draw more from classic ideas and historical interpretation in their play than the vapid highs of what is allowed in the pop fandom. A pop album in theory The Assassination of Julius Caesar is the culmination of Ulver’s perseverance with adapting sounds and shades into their collective sound.
If you’re familiar with Ulver’s almost three dimensional studio career then you might understand this album as an extension of the direction they wrote in waters on Childhood’s End. Ulver play relentlessly with themes from their past affairs. Adapting, cutting, shaping, turning, lifting, falling, driving, stopping to smell the roses. As they use those eldritch teachings in music to delve into and develop further musings of sonic lycanthropy. The wolves aren’t so stubborn as to think they can fly but the sounds on their new album can certainly carry an impressive distance through the air.
The Assassination of Julius Caesar is a pleasing leftfield album on the surface, painting wild accompaniments to the vivid hues of lyrical articulation by Trickster G, his iconic voice a deep and familiar resonance of all prior work since the monumental Theme’s From William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Its ensemble rich with nuances on this latest call unto the dark has a strategic design where it manipulates the emotional context of ritual noise. Being evocative with pop music isn’t a heavy task but doing it intelligently has its benefits. Soothing the savage beast without puerile antagonism.
It’s amazing to think that this band started as almost a progenitor of folk metal. Yet no longer are Ulver spinning tales of trolls and transformations in terse black metal and neither have they for almost twenty years. A cultural oddity Ulver have accepted other genres and actively worked to engage with them in a fashion while suiting their own interpretation of music to our ears. The experience of a new Ulver album can never be compared to or limited by any identifiable influences. These wolves are too crafty for that.