The T 666
The progressive-metal genre is full of cloners and terrible bands who confuse technicality with quality. ULYSSES is not one of them.
The music on this release borrows heavily from the progressive-metal giants DREAM THEATER and, more evidently, FATES WARNING. There's a few hints of PAIN OF SALVATION here and there but this is a much more melodic, less violent project. But while the influences are there, ULYSSES have a sound of their own, never turning into one of the dozens of cloners that plague this subgenre.
The songs are all long and with complex structures. ULYSSES does not put a big emphasis in choruses or catchy sections and creates music that takes more than a couple of listens to really appreciate to its fullest. That's not to say that there aren't a few brilliant melodies here and there: this album is actually very melodic. The thing is, the band uses these tunes to build their structures, their musical buildings, instead of making them the sole focus of the tracks.
The musicianship is high in the band, especially in the rhythmic section and in the soloists. The vocalist, though, has an erratic performance. At times very good, at moments it also tends to lose focus and almost sounds like he's singing off-key. His style resembles that of Ray Alder of FATES WARNING with some hints of Daniel Gildenlow. The timbre of his voice reminds us, at times, of the clean vocals of Tomy Joutsen of AMORPHIS.
The music is a little bit on the sad side, and that become more evident after one reads the inspiration the band had for writing the album: a little girl dying at age 1. With all his flaws, the vocalist manages to convey that sadness and that emotion, and the music helps him tell a tale of courage and love.
All in all, this a a very good band that I'll be checking out in the future, for sure. One of the best pure-traditional-progressive metal bands I've heard in the last months,