Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ulver - Childhood's End

Once upon a time, Norway produced one of the most highly regarded black/folk metal bands of all time. They were called Ulver, and their talent was matched only by their willingness to experiment. As time passed, the band's drive to evolve and explore new ground took them further and further from their black metal roots. This spring's release of Childhood's End  marks the newest step on their journey.

We can all agree at this point that Ulver aren't really a metal band any more, right? I have not listened to this record's immediate predecessors, but if they contained any trace of metal, that trace has now been lost. In its place, we have a cover album filled with a spaced-out blend of all the slowest parts of classic rock (you know, the interminable electric organ sections they cut off when they play the songs on the radio) and indie pop.

If I had to pick one phase to describe this record, it would be "boring as fuck". The band clearly still have musical skill, but instead of putting it to use they just drift around killing time with directionless keyboard noodling and redundant, echoing vocal choruses. Maybe if you were high you'd enjoy this, but I can't think of any other circumstance when it would keep your attention for its fifty-three minute run time.

On an individual basis, each instrument is played with skill. They just don't really go anywhere. There are some interesting guitar flairs and solos, some good keyboard/organ work, and drumming that skillfully matches the requirements of the songs. At times, the vocals drift into Jim Morrison territory, though they usually drift right back out in the space of a couple lines.

In the end, this albums sounds like a massive scrap heap of the filler bits and interludes that an experimental metal band would sprinkle throughout their records. In that capacity, this record has material that could be of interest. And for people who just really want to hear Ulver doing a bunch of trippy cover songs, I guess it might be worth checking out. On its own, though, there's little of value here for the majority of metal fans.

Grade: D

No comments:

Post a Comment