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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Reviews: Ulver, Mammoth Mammoth, Trial (Reviews By Paul)

Ulver: The Assassination Of Julius Caesar (House Of Mythology)

The 13th album by the Norwegian collective known as Ulver is a pretty fantastic release. For the uninitiated, Ulver formed in 1993 and although their early work had essence of the Norwegian Black metal sound Ulver has transformed into a much more ethereal and progressive outfit in recent times. Ulver's line up has remained solid for many years with the utilisation of numerous guest musicians to enhance their complexity.

On this album Kristofer Rygg is joined once more by Tore Ylwizaker (programming), Jorn H Svaeren and Ole Alexander Halstengard and assisted by a whole cast of additional musicians. Stian Westerhus adds some lovely guitars of Nemoralia and So Falls The World, which also sees the involvement of Hawkwind's errant son Nik Turner. So Falls The World is a beautiful composition which mixes Gothic and new wave synth pop quite magnificently. Southern Gothic has a massive Depeche Mode feel, haunting and atmospheric.

Produced and recorded in Oslo mainly in 2016, the album is mixed by Martin Glover (Youth from Killing Joke) and Michael Randall. The sound at times is similar to the more progressive parts of Anaethema's recent work whilst maintaining its own uniqueness. Transverberstion and the beautiful 1969 both drip with synth pop and whilst the band are far removed from their beginnings, this is still an album very much worth taking the time to listen to. 8/10

Mammoth Mammoth: Mount The Mountain (Napalm Records)

Australia seems to be able to throw out an endless amount of bands who play one of two types of music. It's either thrash or hard rock with a stoner edge. The latter sound belongs to Melbourne crew Mammoth Mammoth, whose dirty, fuzzy rock ticks all the right boxes. Now in their tenth year, Mount The Mountain is release number six, hard on the heels of 2016's EP Mammoth Bloody Mammoth.

Tracks such as Hole In The Head, Kicking The Dog (don't do this at home kids) and Cold Liquor leave little to the imagination and smack you in the face with their power, gritty drive and balls out good time vibe. Mikey Tucker's vocals are superb, reminiscent of the great Ben Ward of the mighty Orange Goblin at times, the driving rhythm of Pete Bell and drummer Frank Trebbiani keep the engine running whilst Ben Couzens guitar work is gutsy, gritty and down right filthy at times. Another band that you'd happily get absolutely spannered whilst watching. The irony is that these guys would be hammered first. Check out Mammoth Mammoth, big name, huge sound. 8/10

Trial: Motherless (Metal Blade)
Yet another Swedish metal outfit cross our paths, this time its Trial, from Trollhatten who have been around for a good few years. Motherless is album number 3, following 2015's Vessel. The band comprise guitar duo Alexander Ellstrom and Andreas Johnsson, vocalist Linus Johansson and the engine room of drummer Linus Johansson and bassist Andreas Olsson. Trial's music can be described as a mix of traditional metal with helpings of power and thrash metal. Unfortunately, Motherless is just not that good, with a confusing mix of styles creating a schizophrenic sound. Add on to this the rather 'finger nails down a blackboard' vocals of Linus Johansson, some quite dreadful harmonies and you have a relatively uninspiring release. One to think long and hard before investing in. 5/10

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