292: ULVER / part two

As the years rolled on, Ulver’s sound became quite unpredictable, as they tried their hand at everything from ambient, to classical, trip hop, art rock, and more. And time and time again, they would release a new album with a new sound and style, and it would be incredible.

After moving into ambient, and dark electronic sounds for a few albums, they then started incorporating more rock influences starting with 2011s ‘War of the Roses’.

Psychedelic rock and art rock were central to this next phase of Ulver’s evolution, but it was their 2017 album, ‘The Assassination of Julius Caesar’ that saw Rygg and co enter that, for me, has been the most exciting chapter of Ulver. 

With gloomy, hypnotic synths, and thumping beats, Ulver have now fully embraced a new wave sound, like some darker Depeche Mode at the tail end of the 80s.

The album is a multilayered masterpiece, with samples, synths, pianos, guitars, saxophone… an endless variety of instrumentation that seems to effortlessly come together into a cohesive, singular vision, behind Rygg’s ethereal yet commanding vocals.

In 2020, Ulver released ‘Flowers of Evil’, their twelfth full length album, and perhaps the most consistent sound from one album to the next. ‘Flowers…” is the logical successor to “Assassination…”, growing and building upon the sound they’d established three years prior.

Ulver are perhaps the single most versatile band I’ve ever heard. Their ability to shift into new genres and master them, while also bringing along elements of what they’ve learned from previous styles they’d dealt in, makes them a chameleon more so than any other band I could think of.