Review by Denis on April 29, 2003.
Let's pretend for a while that I'm an art critic and you are a class of art students or just a bunch of art fanatics ok? Today we'll talk about some abstract painting or something like Picasso's work. You'll see the similarity to this CD if I say that we have a piece of art with a title that most of us (if not all of us) don't understand; made of ten songs that have no titles besides 'Theme' and are all actually instrumentals. Pretty abstract isn't it?
"Lyckantropen Themes" is a soundtrack for a short film from Sweden being produced and directed by Steve Ericsson. The themes themselves are improvisations done over three chords and are as far away as it could be from metal. Relaxing, ambient, and twisted to the very end. The atmosphere can get pretty dark or mysterious in most of the recording time but when it comes to the last three 'Themes' out of whack is the best way to describe the mood. The electronics used to create the sonic scenery are not without reminding us of past work from legendary keyboard wiz like Tangerine Dream or Pink Floyd. The more experimental segments are kind of a mixture between Zappa and avant-garde. Being a big fan of Mr. Zappa and craving for avant-garde, I specially enjoyed the last three themes. The relaxing stuff is kind of cool too.
Bottom Line: A different breed of cat and different is good.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Review by Jack on March 3, 2003.
Let me say that I think I have approached "Lyckantropen Themes" in completely the wrong frame of mind. For me I have been expecting "Lyckantropen Themes" to be the follow up to the much acclaimed "Perdition City". I was expecting to be blown away by an awesome follow up to 2001’s interstellar album, but unfortunately for me I was delivered anything like what I was hoping for.
"Lyckantropen Themes" whilst being in a similar vein of music to "Perdition City" is clearly on a different plane of musical impact. Whereas "Perdition City" was a bit more upfront and personal, "Lyckantropen Themes" is decisively more subtle and more of a soundtrack. I guess this is up to each discerning individual to decide whether this is a good or bad thing. But for me, Ulver are at their best when they have the flexibility to create what they really want to create, to build what they truly believe in. I can’t help but think that "Lyckantropen Themes" was hampered somewhat with a strong correlation to the movie it is going to be for, that Ulver perhaps didn’t have the freedom to create what they are truly capable of. I am obviously speculating here, but I don’t feel "Lyckantropen Themes" measures quite up to the lofty Ulver standards set through their last three discs.
Bottom Line: A decent album, sure, but I do feel a bit let down. Worth a look in any event.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 6.6 out of 10