[review] The Ulex – Old Giant

Release: 28 May 2013, Holland.
Artwork: Adida Fallen Angel.
Review: NaD

Link to the review in spanish CLICK HERE

Beluga (4:55)
Mezzanine (4.53)
Ashes (5:43)
Fingernail Eclipse (3:41)
Brother (6:03)

The Ulex is the solo project of Uri Dijk, the gifted keyboardist from Textures. Old Giant is the title for his debut EP, which clocks in at 25 minutes over five tracks. Before you listen to it, it must be stated that The Ulex is very different from Textures. The songs are mostly instrumentals, searching for the perfect balance between metal and electronic music.

Keyboards and synths are the focus here, surrounded by electronic soundscapes, with real instrumentation performed by Bjorn van der Ploeg of Ethereal on bass, and many special contributors to be identified below.

The Ulex evokes vast and beautiful intergalactic atmospheres, technical electronic meteoric barrages, ridden by aggressive and psychedelic riffs. It causes a futurist and frenetic feeling, really original by the way.

The EP opens with Beluga (distorted guitars by Justin Gosnell of Vestacension). This song is about the industrialization of the world and its increasing hunger for energy, nature, minerals, technology, man destroying the Earth , and is inspired by the documentary “Home” (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009).

Mezzanine (strings by Keshav Dahr of Skyharbor) contains rhythmic explosions mixed with some vocal reverbs. The song is about the contradiction of human behaviour, the search for serenity and chaos, the urge for knowledge, “The desire tears away the reminiscence of division”. The percussion pummels your brain, culminating with an entrancing finale.

Ashes (guitars by Bart Hennephof of Textures) begins quietly, and little by little stokes the intensity and well-organised chaos. It relaxes toward the middle, to finish up with show of force. It also contains some subtle fragments from traditional children songs (i.e. “If I should die before I wake, I grant to you my soul to take”).

Fingernail Eclipse (vocals by Daniel de Jongh of Textures) is an electronic ballad that is like an oasis in the middle of this cosmic voyage, where we are lost and found by the magician of synths. The vocal melodies are soft and dreamlike, while not falling on oversweet tendencies.

It’s about Mother Nature, the tide, the moon… Even this, sung by the selfsame voice of the Textures frontman, still sounds nothing like the Dutch combo, further proving the versatility that Dijk always shows in each one of his works.

Brother (guitars by Paul Ortiz of Chimp Spanner, guitar solo by David Maxim Micic of Bilo/Destiny Potato) is a progressive piece, starting subtly to become an apotheosis of chords dancing to synth rhythms, pulling back in the middle, soothing the beast for a while, and then ascending to an electric blow up as a final flare out on this intergalactic trip.

At live shows, it’s striking, the way that only one person can command the stage, filling the venue with his intense, rich sound. Designing dark and cosmic landscapes, analog to Lovecraft’s world, creating environments that recall humid forests with light clears between the infinite ramifications of his notes. I highly recommended you follow this project, and if you can, enjoy the live performance as well.

Listen to The Ulex here: