Release Date: 1979

Track Listing
1)  La Faulx
fast b
2)  Jack The Ripper
fast
3)  Vous Le Saurez En Temps Voulu
fast

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Member: Enossification
Date: 9/22/2000


This band is hard to nail down as to a genre, but I will try. Heresie is the first LP from these Belgian prog monsters. One of the darkest and most bleak albums I can think of. No guitars here, only a common chamber orchestra or ensemble. Very haunting and not for the faint of heart.

Kind of Crimso in the arrangements but no electronic sounds on this one. Try it - you might be overjoyed. Then again, are you willing to travel the road less traveled?

After this LP the band moved in a more rock direction with synths and electric axe. But this is still the place to start. Very CTHULHU mythos for all you H.P. Lovecraft fans.
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Member: Pnoom
Date: 8/19/2007


Rock In Opposition is perhaps the most formidable movement in all of music, nonetheless so for including Univers Zero. Rock In Opposition (henceforth RIO) was a group of bands united not by sound but by ideals, by the willingness to defy the music industry and produce strange and yet also fascinating music. Henry Cow, a British band with strong left-leaning politics, met many bands on their European tours, and soon invited four of them to play at a festival Henry Cow was organizing. These four bands that joined Henry Cow were Stormy Six of Italy, Etron Fou Leloublan of France (a zany band whose name roughly translates to the very accurate “crazy sheep sh-t”), Samla Mammas Manna of Sweden (a jazz-fusion band with strange vocals and a tremendous sense of fun), and, of course, Univers Zero of Belgium. Later, French bands Art Zoyd and Aksak Maboul were asked to join, as were the Art Bears of Britain, Picchio Dal Pozzo of Italy, and Present (Univers Zero offshoot band) of Belgium. The French band Dun were close with Etron Fou and were almost asked to join as well, though those plans went astray (don’t worry, however, Dun is still a great band).

I know all five of the original bands in the movement, and four (all but Stormy Six, who I know least well so far) are essential bands. However, it is Univers Zero that truly defines the movement for me. Their music is a mix of jazz, avant-garde, chamber music, and rock, but it transcends all of the genres, becoming something far greater than words can fully express (though I do try my best). Magma, the band that created Zeuhl music, is clearly an influence on Univers Zero, but Univers Zero transcends that genre, too. They carved a place for themselves in music history that no bands have reached since, and, I expect, no bands ever will reach. Heresie is the ultimate realization of their niche, an album that makes Magma look positively cheery.

It only takes one look at the cover art to discover the mood of this album. Five figures, one in a wheelchair and all dressed in black, leer up at you from a sparse, windswept landscape. Surrounding this dismal image is a border of – you guessed it – purest black. And yet, even this fails to appropriately impress upon you just how dark this album is. To add insult to injury, this album wouldn’t approach accessibility with a two hundred foot pole. It’s dissonant, slow, menacing; it goes out of its way to scare off listeners, and yet, somehow, that is what so draws me to this album.

Heresie is almost an anomaly in Univers Zero’s catalogue. Both the albums sandwiched around it rock much harder (in a completely relative sense, since Univers Zero just wasn’t the band to look to for “rocking out”) than it does. In fact, Heresie is the closest Univers Zero ever got to leaving rock behind entirely and just playing avant-garde chamber music. There are only three tracks on the album: the twenty-five minute centerpiece, “La Faulx,” and two shorter (but still quite long) songs called “Jack the Ripper” and “Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu.” These three songs may well be Univers Zero’s best three, though some songs from Ceux Du Dehors and Uzed compete with the two shorter tracks/ “La Faulx” on the other hand, stands alone as one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed. It begins as a drone piece, improved by Zeuhl-inspired chants adapted to fit the mood and style of Univers Zero’s music, then evolves into a stunning and crazy epic that romps all across the inner folds of your brain like a gremlin that’s been fed after midnight.

The two shorter songs are not to be underestimated, however. “Jack the Ripper” is, if possible, even more evil than “La Faulx” was.” Not surprisingly, it’s also slightly more accessible, due to its much shorter length, but it still showcases the Univers Zero spirit well. “Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu” closes the album out nicely, similar to “Jack the Ripper” but with different melodies. In the end, Heresie sits above and beyond most avant-garde albums. Because it’s the least accessible of their early albums, I advise getting 1313 (if you prefer going chronologically) or Ceux Du Dehors< to start your journey. After that, if you like either of those, you can get this album next, along with Uzed.

To recap, the album Heresie by Univers Zero takes us into the netherworlds of progressive rock, daring and defying us to find something darker. It took a few while to get used to, but now it ranks in m top ten albums of all time list, which, I hope, will show you the future of patience. What can I give this album other than the beyond A+ (makes top ten albums ever list) rating? Not much, really. You heard me, A+.
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