There’s something beautifully eerie about Calgary-based rock band Ultrviolence. It may be that as viewers open their SoundCloud page, they’re met with black and white images of the aliens from 1998 thriller “They Live.” It may be track titles, like that of their upcoming EP, which is inspired by the true tales of a sword swallower’s medical procedures. Or, it may just be the band’s perfectly produced post-punk revival sound.
Whatever the reasoning, Ultrviolence fills a hole in the current punk-rock scene in that of musical authenticity and a little taste of horror.
Listen: “Guillotine” – Ultrviolence
Atwood Magazine is proud to announce Forty Knives, the band’s sophomore EP (set to release May 12 via Northern Light Records), as well as premiere the EP’s leading single “Guillotine.”
The band pride themselves on creating dark, sonic sounds based on pushing their instrumentals’ “frenetic waves” to their peak. It’s in this formula that the band have crafted an incredibly original sound, mixing what’s reminiscent of deep, indie-rock and true punk. Each song flows like a wave, smooth in execution and fluid in every transition.
“Guillotine” is a fitting addition to the band’s repertoire, heavy on instrumental influence and fit with watered-down vocals. The song seems to create a dimensional world within itself. The vocals, unlike most tracks in any rock genre, act as their own instrumental layer. They’re strong enough to hold their own, but don’t distract from the aura of the song.
Band frontman Nate Jesperson explains that “Guillotine’s” message is mimicked in the title. “’Guillotine’ could be about a lot of things… it’s about waking up to terrible things, and how that can take your head “off” in a way.”
Lyrics like “How long has it been since I felt like this? I’m killing myself slowly,” display the emotional upheaval experienced by the song’s narrator. Still, the message of the song is left up to complete interpretation based on the track’s intricate production.
The recorded vocals are some of the strongest lines in the total production, but do not dominate. The decision against isolating the vocals gives the track an incredible strength, that of full immersion and little distraction from anything but the complete melody.
Ultrviolence’s projects are self-written and self-produced in a design that plays to the raw manipulation of both vocals and instrumentals. The finished product sounds authentic and easily replicable in a live setting, though advanced and ingenious likened to any comparison. The sounds are immersive and hypnotizing, playing on the idea of isolation and mental-exploration.
It’s this that claims “Guillotine” as a driving force, a song that will stick with listeners for hours and days after it’s initial play. It’s a track, dark and moody, that has the potential to create an entire world of both grounding and enlightenment for listeners. The cool ease of the piece as a whole is both passive and active, making for a musical upper or an emotion-inducing nostalgia. While lyrics display a person in emotional upheaval, its reflective of the listener’s mood, conforming to personal interpretation.
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cover © Jared Jespersen