"The Gift of Tears" (Symbioses; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"The Gift of Tears" is a pretty strong progressive rock album featuring impressive musicianship and songwriting, an interesting vocalist with a unique style and, unfortunately, sometimes bland production values that take away a lot of the band's dynamic impact.

Heavy with keyboards but well-balanced with powerful guitar riffs and lead runs, the music on "The Gift of Tears" falls somewhere between Dream Theater and later era Pink Floyd. Vocalist Michael Hos even sounds a little like Roger Waters on a couple of tracks. Lyrically, the band's concept album attempt is quite successful, if not 100% so. Sometimes, it seems like they've bitten off a bit more than they can choose.

Fortunately, the band's talent as performers and songwriters manages to punch through often rather lackluster production that makes the album seem duller than it really is. Too many highs and lows blur together and the "oomph!" the band needed to take this album to the next level just isn't there. It doesn't kill "The Gift of Tears" (or even really come close) but it does tarnish the overall effect just a bit.

Fans of progressive rock will be able to easily overlook the production short side here and enjoy the music on "The Gift of Tears" as is.

Ulysses: - Michael Hos / vocals; Ron Mozer / keyboards; Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong / guitar; René Haaren / drums; Casper Kroon / bass.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/ulyssesnl.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2023 15:33:16 -0400.