Ulysses — The Gift of Tears
(Musea FGBG 4823, 2008, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2010-07-01
Ulysses is a Dutch metal-prog band and The Gift of Tears is their second album. Apparently, The Gift of Tears is a concept album, as Ulysses wanted to share their views and opinions on how we as human beings can live our lives more meaningfully. However, I find it very difficult to grasp their message as their instruments dominate the music. There are big instrumental breaks between the vocals, so you lose any continuity and the vocals do not stand enough above the music to make a difference. The problem, as I see it, is Ulysses’ music is so energetic and packed to the gills that the listener rapidly tires from the sonic barrage and tunes out anything that follows. The first two songs, “”Family Portrait” and “Guardian Angel,” are a sonic assault that is finally relieved by the first two minutes of “Lost.” I do detect some similarities to 70s prog, especially to Kansas. “Family Portrait” reminds me quite a bit of “Carry on My Wayward Son” with their vocal harmonies and riffs. For me, Ulysses is at their best when their arrangements are at a minimum. The best song is the three-minute “Silence of the Night,” with street sounds, cars, whistles, footsteps, piano, and simple vocals. Unfortunately, the other songs are just too long and boring. This is one of the discs best taken in small doses. So, if you liked Kansas in the day, then you might enjoy The Gift of Tears.
Related artist(s): Ulysses
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