Right. So, what Poets of the Fall have done here is a bastardization of their own sound; so as not to save it for the final twist of the review - the final part of selling out. What once was passionate, heavy, laden with distress and born of true love in equal measure is turned into a simplistic drivel, aimed for radio play and little else. Once upon a time there was a band that was so overly passionate and melodramatic timing, and while the melodics and rhythmic sense is still in core what Poets always were, the over simplification (so as not to call it dumbing down) leaves it nothing more than a husk of the passion that colored everything from their debut, Signs of Life (2005), until Twilight Theater (2010) and was still heavily present on Temple of Thought (2012), and felt on Jealous Gods (2014). Then came Clearview (2016), showing the devolution in their evolution, even with its one or two decent tracks and a single good one (Children of the Sun). So, even though the hope was still there, their eighth full length Ultraviolet didn’t really have good odds to begin with.
It starts of melodic and catchy enough with Dancing on Broken Glass, an ovious single hit that manages all fine and well to get its work done. Marko Saaresto is one of modern rocks finest vocalists, and while that never really comes to light on Ultraviolet, he has his high points here, one of them being Dancing on Broken Glass. It’s catchy and melodic, but no part of it feels innovative and it’s over before it ever starts. Thing is, a lot of the stuff on here is not even rock music at all, let alone the alternative rock borderline metal Poets did so incredibly well back in the day. It’s a techno kind of rock that showcases Saaresto and saccharine melodics and radio rhythms over any musical direction. While starting off on a fairly strong note, the album also closes pretty strong with Choir of Cicadas. While a ballad, it at least consists of actual music and not technological drivel. The drumming from Jari Salminen is base but heavy, while the underlying keyboards deliver a bigger scope to the music.
One thing Poets always did incredibly well was buildup; songs like The Poet and the Muse, Show Me this Life and Hounds to Hamartia from ages past are examples of this. Built from slow beginnings and turned into guitar forward extravaganzas culminating in controllably frenzied solos from Olli Tukiainen were the highlights of their respective albums, not only musically excellent but emotionally grappling. You can tell Moment Before the Storm is the try here to do something similar, but it’s utterly forgettable and there is little in the way of actual guitar work to stand out. That also goes for the entire album; it’s driven by pop rhythms and artificial instrumentals, short segments without standout points. Tukiainen has no solos to speak of, and even Saaresto isn’t as good as he has been and should be. You thought Clearview was lacking, Ultraviolet is the nail in the coffin. A track or two is enjoyable, but never close to the intensity; the passion and the love, broken pieces and turned cheeks that Poets once brought. There is very little left.
Standout tracks: Dancing on Broken Glass, My Dark Disquiet