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Ultra Violet Uforia - Shadow of the Time
Ulysses - Symbioses
Under The Sun - s/t


Ultra Violet Uforia - Shadow of the Time
Independent Release
(2006)

Ultra Violet Uforia is the American prog rock group from Seattle, USA. They perform U.S. symphonic rock with some instrumental jam flavors. Somewhat, what they do reminds me of Pink Floyd and Dire Straits do to me. But what they do include original tastes and unique flavors as well. They seem to enjoy ensemble oriented music over intricacies. I prefer their progressive/symphonic sounds and styles over some American rock-oriented laid-back instrumentals feartuing vocals. They seem to have been playing more than 10 years at local scene, so these veteran musicians are comfortable what they do in this album. Shadow of the Time features some laid-back rock music, but at the same time really ambitious atmospheric prog rock tunes are presented as well. Esp., I really enjoyed the keyboard player's performance and tasty guitar leads. I would guess that prog rock fans would enjoy their epic tracks and symphonic laden instrumentals than American sounding rock tracks. I am not sure that they are focused on progressive rock music in the future, but Shadow of the Time has some nice proggy and symphonic moments to my ears.

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Ulysses - Symbioses
Independent Release
(2003)

After releasing Eclectic cd demo in 2000, Dutch symphonic progressive metal band ULYSSES finally released full-length album called Symbioses in the end of April this year. Ulysses consist of five enthusiastic musicians, Raymond Jansen (vocals), Rene van Harren (drums), Ron Mozer (synths), Rene Schippers (bass), and Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong (guitars). Some songs of Symbioses are improved version from Eclectic cd ("Hero for One Day", "Disbeliever", and "Watching Over You"), but they also included brand-new tunes which geared toward mostly symphonic neo-prog heavy rock territories (for instance, epic "World of Confusion", "The Script", "Unspoken Words", and "A Momentary of Insanity"). From my listening impression about Symbioses album overall, I would say that Ulysses seems geared toward symphonic neo-prog rock with elements of prog metal. Probably, their music and style appeals to the fans of Angular Records artists (e.g., Crises and Sylvan) and melodic neo-prog bands (like Arena, Enchant, Pendragon, and Marillion) to name just a few. Keyboard passages and slightly hard-edge guitar driven parts including rock driving rhythm section are really well-constructed to enjoy listening to. They do not go over too technical parts, however there are enough complex ensemble and odd-time beats with tempo changes to entertain both neo-prog and prog metal fans. As for vocal melodies and performance, Raymond Jansen seems to have tried to improve his skill from previous lessons on Eclectic cd-demo. One of My minor complaints about their music is vocal performance, even though the singer did great works. When he hit in higher ranges, his voice was getting slightly unstable. Besides it, he seems to be singing comfortable most time, so nothing distracts from a listening enjoyment. It is quite unique for me that Ulysses seems to mention that their favorite music style a la Dream Theater, Queensryche, and Pain of Salvation, but they do not sound too similar to technical prog metal bands to my ears at all. Yes, there seems to have some influence of those notable progressive metal bands, but they have own definitive tight performance and their own approach with hints of more symphonic rock/neo-prog sounds. In particular, Sylvester Vogenlenzang de Jong's heavy rock performance and melodically nice keyboard passages of Ron Mozer are impressive during my listening session. So far, they have plans to go playing live gigs and join a few other prog rock oriented festivals. Hopefully, they will expand their fanbase. In addition, improving song-writing skills and sound production lead them to new direction for next materials (I think). My favorite tracks from Symbioses are long epic tracks, such as "World of Confusion", "Hero For One Day", and "A Moment of Insanity". Good job they have done, and keep up a good work!
[website: http://www.ulysses-online.nl/]
[contact: sylvester@ulysses-online.nl]

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Under The Sun - s/t
Magna Carta
(2000)

Probably, Under The Sun might be one of underrated prog rock bands from US Prog scene. They performed really solid melodic prog rock music entirely with odd-time meters and solid ensembles. Esp., keyboard solos and sounds are really impressive to me. Some tunes remind me of Yes, Rush, U.K., and Kansas, but strangely the lead vocalist's style is very similar to Ozzy Osbourne somehow to my ears. Sound production is really good, and you will enjoy long epic tracks in U.S. style. Nowadays, there are lots of interesting prog bands releasing great albums, such as Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Izz, and Gratto. If you are melodic and symphonic prog rock fan, Under The Sun is also interesting prog rock act from United States.

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