To classify a band such as Ulver is a difficult thing to do. Hailing from Norway, the group began as a black metal group in the mid 90’s before later transitioning to ambient and experimental rock. Their latest release “Nemoralia” is the lead single off of upcoming album The Assassination of Julius Caesar and appears to be taking the band down yet another path.
With a smooth synth post punk sound, this is probably the simplest selection in Ulver’s diverse and large catalogue. Like much of their latest work, it’s based in repetition and slowly builds itself up before suddenly ending. The most apt description would be to call it synth pop with an industrial edge, a sound which, though somewhat new for Ulver, is not entirely outside of their comfort zone given their varied experimentation.
While unassuming at first, “Nemoralia” rewards repeated listens as subtle sounds and aspects begin to reveal themselves (something common of most Ulver tracks). Lyrically, the track also finds Ulver focusing on typical folklore themes with the title of the track itself being a reference to a pagan Roman festival. A particular thing of note is that front man Kristoffer Rygg’s vocals are given great focus, something that – despite his talent – rarely occurs in Ulver’s recent output.
Though it’s entirely possible the rest of The Assassination of Julius Caesar could sound absolutely nothing like “Nemoralia” given Ulver’s track record, it is another surprising – but not unwelcome – turn from a group who rarely seem to falter.
Nemoralia can be listened to here. The Assassination of Julius Caesar will be released on April 7th through House of Mythology.