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ULYSSES

Progressive Metal • Netherlands


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Ulysses biography
ULYSSES is a progressive metal band from Holland; they were formed in 1998 by the guitar player Sylvester Vogelenzang and keyboard player Ron Mozer. They wanted from the beginning to sound as their favorite bands Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation. Well, this vision to make an album got wings when they contacted another 3 musicians, drummer Rene van Haaren, bass player Rene Schippers and vocalist Raymond Jansem, so the line-up was finished and the first demo album was released in 2001 with the titled "Eclectic". After 2 years, in 2003 they released their first full length album entitled "Symbiosis". Because both releases received good and positive reviews; "Eclectic" and "Symbioses" appeared on many magazines over the world so they decided to play live concerts. After some shows and stage performances; the big event was made in 2005 when they played on Progpassion Festival. After these encouraging concerts Ulysses decided to part ways with their vocalist, Raymond Jansen and tries to find another one instead. They found Michael Hos to be a perfect replacement of Jansen. Also in that period the original bass player Rene Schippers left the band due to personal reasons and was replaced by Casper Kroon. Finally after 5 years the second full length album was released in Europe in September 2008 entitled "The Gift of Tears". The album will also be release in November 2008 in USA. Fans of Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation and at some point Shadow Gallery or Elegy might want to give this band a chance, a new prog dimension awaits to everyone interested in the best prog metal band to come out of Holland in years.

- Biography written by b_olariu (Bogdan)

- Information taken from Ulysses official web site.

Ulysses official website

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ULYSSES shows & tickets


  • Andy Stott + Demdike Stare + Vatican Shadow + more at Output, Brooklyn on 19 Sep 2014

ULYSSES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ULYSSES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 2 ratings
Eclectic
2001
3.31 | 4 ratings
Symbioses
2003
3.77 | 10 ratings
The Gift Of Tears
2008

ULYSSES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ULYSSES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ULYSSES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ULYSSES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Promo 2004
2004

ULYSSES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Gift Of Tears by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 10 ratings

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The Gift Of Tears
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Third release and aswell second album of this unknown progressive metal band from Holland, released at Symbioses music in 2008 is an improvement over previous studio album. Now the sound is better, every instrument sounds crystal clear, the compositions are much tighter and are better , everything is better then before. Two new memebers arrived here , the vocalist Michael Hos and the bass player Casper Kroon. The new vocalist is just perfect for this kind of music, he has a wider range then previous one Raymond Jansen, he is more diverse in exploring his voice, in one word is better and he comes with fresh air in the compositions. The music keeps the same aproach like on Symbioses from 2003 but now they are developing the instrumental passages a little more, the keybords for ex has a big role here, just like the guitar, both combined gives a realy strong album in progressive metal in last years. DT influences are still, but because the compositions are good , even very good and strong in places this album needes to be discovered by more listners then has today.Progressive metal with a touch of symphonic moments, mostly given by the keyboards of Ron Mozer. The story behind this album is a sad one, a tragic one better said, I'm not tell it here what is going one, if you have the CD and read the booklet you will find what is behind this album. Anyway musicaly speaking this album is great in my opinion, progressive metal as must sound today, not very fast, almost all album is mid tempo but has some very tight musicianship. They had 5 years to work at The gift of ters, at the result is obvious a good one in every way. Every single piece is good with a plus on How much more, killer choruses and keybords. All 3 CD's are available at cdbaby if anyone is intrested. I will give this time a clean 4 stars, the previous releases were more rounded up by me, but this time is a clean strong album. One of the underrated bands from this genre , that for sure needs a wider recognition. I keep my eye on this band in the future because I like how they sound and how they work their pieces.

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 Symbioses by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.31 | 4 ratings

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Symbioses
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 for sure

Second release named Symbioses of progressive metal band from Holland named Ulysses is a big imprevement over the first work, it's obvious because the first release was a demo CD, this is their first studio album and is much better in any way over the first. Released at Eclectic productions in 2003 this album has 3 pieces from the demo , Hero for one day, Disbeliever and Watching over you but better in sound and better orchestrated. The rest of the pieces are all good, all had a positive attitude and I like that. While, Symbioses is a step further in their career, and for sure has much more clean production and catchy tunes, they didn't manage to create something over the top or grounbreaking. Still the DT influences are all over, as a whole this album is pleasent. All instrumental passages are ok, in places even very good like on opening track World of confusion, the longest pieces from here Unspoken words and the final one A moment of insanity. The keyboards to me at least is the main attraction here, Ron Mozer know to handle the instrument and create something really good, but also the drummer and guitarist is near, delivering nice moments and catvhy riffs and solos. Well, the weakest point here is the voice of Raymond Jansen, he doesn't had a bad voice, but sometimes is a little to in front in opposite with the rest of the instruments, and sounds really mediocre. Also when he reaches the higher notes he is quite annoying. He is not one of the better vocalist I ever heared from prog metal, but aswell not the worst, he is in between, his range is the problem, not wide enough for this kind of music. Anyway, he will be replaced on the next release with Michael Hos, a much better and renowed vocalist. I will give for this 3 solid stars close to 3.5, because the demo was closer to 2.5 rather then 3, this album is better in any way over the first release. Pleasent, with nice compositions, but nothing over the top.The cover art is a painting, like they have on first demo made by the dutch painter Hans Kanters.

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 Eclectic by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.05 | 2 ratings

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Eclectic
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 2.5 really

Ulysses is a prog metal from Holland who releases their first work , a CD demo in 2001 named Eclectic. This release contain 5 pieces+ 2 videos filmed live in Hague in 2001 as Extra bonus videotracks , 3 of them will appear on their first studio album from 2003 and 2 are only here, never released on other CD. So, Ulysses plays a prog metal very close to Dream Theater, but what diffrences is the voice who is to my ears very dramatic, but ok. The instrumental passages are ok, in places even very good, but as usual the sound is awful. Not very much to add about this demo CD, but if you like prog metal and aswell this band , worth to have it. Still they need to work a lot, a thing improved on their first studio album from 2003 named Symbioses. I will give 2 - 2.5 star for Eclectic, far from being something spectacular, but enjoyble. They have also a great cover art, who is a painting made by a dutch painter named Hans Kanters.

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 The Gift Of Tears by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 10 ratings

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The Gift Of Tears
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by The T
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After a few albums that I just HAD to hear to enrichen my rock-music culture, I'm happy to have returned to more familiar waters. And though the progressive-metal genre is full of cloners and terrible bands, 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,

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 The Gift Of Tears by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 10 ratings

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The Gift Of Tears
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This third album from Dutch outfit will probably get quite a few fans, but I'm afraid that I won't be among the ones playing this production very often.

The style in question for this release is progressive metal; and of a variety that makes me think of the older productions by acts such as Fates Warning and Dream Theater mixed with 80's heavy metal - but slower and without much finesse.

Drawn out guitar riffs mixed with organ and synths created the moods and melodies in these compositions; with strong and distinct vocals adding to the melodic impact in the vocal segments and synth and guitar soloing having the same role in the non-vocal parts.

The performances are generally nice from vocalist and instrumentalists alike; but the good compositions are lacking. There's not enough ideas or themes explored to support the choice for the longer tracks here, and too many segments appear to go nowhere. And a bit too much focus on melodramatics throughout gets to be a bit tiring.

Those who like their prog metal on the slow and heavy side and enjoy a fair bit of dramatics should find this to be an intriguing affair though; others are advised to investigate further to see if this album is of interest or not.

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 The Gift Of Tears by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.77 | 10 ratings

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The Gift Of Tears
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars 'The Gift Of Tears' appears with a new vocalist compared to their 2003 predecessor album 'Symbioses' and can be considered as a big hit for some reasons. ULYSSES offer progressive heavy emphasized rock music here with a metal and symphonic edge. That means when listening to the songs you immediately realize that guitarist Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong comes more from the metal side of life whereas keyboarder Ron Mozer likes to play a lot of typical symphonic respectively neo progressive keyboard stuff. Both are the band's core since the beginning in 2001 and responsible for the band's unique output. All in all this is really convincing based on a sophisticated songwriting and sometimes reminds me of DREAM THEATER's 'Falling Into Infinity' phase and the last two SIEGES EVEN albums stylistically (and that's a benefit though considering my taste).

A typical Portnoy attacking bass drum attracts attention when the album opener Family Portrait starts. Besides the fact that the seven songs are damn rocking with a lot of breaks and changes the vocals are really attractive during the whole 60 minutes furthermore. Not knowing their former stuff I can state that Michael Hos' voice matches quite good - what the ballad Lost confirms first and foremost. You can detect keyboards with an orchestral touch on Guardian Angel for example and enchanting melodies with polyphonic vocals on How Much More. The Gift Of Tears shines with heavy riffing guitars and diversified keyboard contributions coming from organ, piano plus a vibes similiar sound.

And you won't miss the mandatory epic song named Anat provided with a heart wrenching story about young parents who lost their one-year-old daughter because of a brain tumour. Musically this piece is divided in different moods alternating between melancholic and heavy - a typical prog metal sound, including slight growling vocal impressions, as well as some ballad characterized parts. A highly recommended album by this band from the Netherlands. Not ignoring the cheerful rhythm section this album is headed at first by an excellent matching vocal, keyboard and guitar work.

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 Promo 2004 by ULYSSES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Promo 2004
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
3 stars New improved versions

This three track promo was released as a download via the band's website. The EP contains three tracks originally included on their second release and first official album Symbioses. According to the band themselves, the album was well received, but there was a general perception that it fell short vocally.

Vocalist Raymond Jansen naturally became the scapegoat, and was replaced by Michael Hos. In order to demonstrate how they felt the tracks could be improved, Hos recorded new vocals for three of the tracks which appeared on Symbioses, and it is these songs which feature here.

Not having heard the original album, I cannot comment on the difference Hos has made to the band's sound. He is though clearly a competent singer with a powerful voice which lends itself well to the prog metal genre.

Musically, the tracks here are firmly rooted in prog metal, with good lead guitar and atmospheric keyboards. The nine minute World of confusion incorporates some subtle touches to counterpoint the overall heaviness of the piece. For me, the vocal melodies can tend to wander at times, but overall there is a clear confidence and focus to the band which offers hope that their forthcoming album will be worthy of investigation.

The script opens with soft piano and vocal the track clearly being selected to demonstrate Hos's abilities. The song develops into a fine rock ballad featuring some enjoyable lead guitar work by Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong. Hero for one day is harder number, with more of an Iron Maiden feel.

Overall, an enjoyable glimpse of the music of Ulysses, which according to the band better represents where they are now.

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 Symbioses by ULYSSES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.31 | 4 ratings

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Symbioses
Ulysses Progressive Metal

Review by brutale

4 stars For a debut album a relative "unknown" band this is a killer debut. These guys did a great job. 57 minuts of top of the bill musicianship. The epic songs with beautiful solo's and power ballads will satisfy the real progfan and also the "normal" rock fan. The layout and artwork of the booklet is breathtaking also the production is very mature. Seen the fact that the band did almost everything theirselves.. The music sometimes reminds me of Dream Theater but has sometimes more metal and 70's touches...just listen ! Critical note: The vocalist sometimes seems to loose pace and can't keep up with the high level of musicianship.If it wasn't for the singer this could have been THE album of 2004. Just found out that the band understood the importance of a good voice and they decided to work with a new singer, I am very curious about the next album ...

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to b_olariu for the last updates

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