Univers Zero

The Hard Quest

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Reunion albums often face the hazard of turning out lackluster, and, unfortunately, The Hard Quest is no exception. The instrumentation, percussion, and arrangements on The Hard Quest are tasteful and seamless. Technically, the playing is there; the violinist chooses some lovely moments, for instance. Univers Zero is a tight band and make music that would be lovely and pleasing if it had any heart. The music could be described as "medieval Gothic" if it wasn't so gentle and, ultimately, non-committal; the album comes off as one long prelude. The changes and shifts in The Hard Quest's compositions are never unexpected -- each new musical element enters after four or eight measures -- resulting in none of it making much of an impression. It is over-produced, sounding thin and smoothed over; it is too dissonant and dark to be new age, too lacking in energy to be rock.

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