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Music Reviews: Anathema, Flower Kings, Robert Dahlqvist, and Ulver

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This week is an eclectic mix of fundamentally enthralling music. All but one really require some good headphones and a comfortable chair to truly enjoy.

Anathema have a CD/DVD called Universal. I was given access to the music from this release in its entirety and encouraged to review it. As far I am concerned, it needs no visuals as the music on here is so deep and meaty that it provides visuals all on its own. Anathema, like Opeth, have fully embraced prog music and this live release documents some of the best of it. The vocals are so well recorded that it sends chills down the spine, and Lee Douglas’ female vocals add that special something. This release truly does justice to their last studio album Weather Systems. The Cavanagh brothers (three of them are in the band) continue to fire on all cylinders.

Flowers Kings are about to offer up Desolation Rose as their next release in late October. It is the most “mainstream” and approachable of the releases reviewed this week. This is jazzy upbeat prog at its best and most catchy. It is a very pleasant album to sit back and ponder. Also, it is infectious and clever while avoiding the pretentiousness of many a prog release. The opening track “Tower One” is a clever bit of music that serves as a wonderful preparation for the rest on here. “White Tuxedos” is certainly a highlight and boy is this one catchy. Roine Stolt and his crew have outshone themselves on this release. It has to be seen as one of their best, and that is saying a lot.

Robert Dahlqvist of Hellacopters fame has released a solo album called Solo. Recorded entirely in Swedish over the last couple of years, this has little in common with his old band. However, the man’s talent still shines through and songs like “Sneseglam” and “Ej Med Flit” don’t need to be in English to be catchy or interesting.

ULVER_MESSE_I.X-VI.X_cover_smallFans of the man and his former band might enjoy gazing into what he is up to now. This is an album for the musically curious who don’t mind not being able to understand the lyrics.

Ulver have released their latest opus called Messe I.X-VI.X. Unlike former death/black metal bands like Anathema and Opeth (who have gone all prog music), Ulver have gone another way, through the ambient electronica genre and popped out the other side as classical musicians.

This is a modern classical album with a few dabblings of electronica. The delightfully named Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra add their skills to the album. It was commissioned for Tromso Kulturhus (a concert venue) in Norway in response to their previous album, Childhood’s End. It is a true aural treat. While it will never bother the classical charts, make no mistake that it deserves to be there.

Stay safe and rocking out there this week.

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