Hello and welcome to the first ever Bandcamp Buried Treasure article, where I'll be hunting down Buy It Now/Free Download-payment option albums on Bandcamp by the best bands you've never heard! The goal is to introduce you to smaller bands, or obscure side-projects you might not have heard of. Anything to expand your musical horizons by just a little bit each week, all while keeping your cost (potentially) down! Let's get started by taking a look at, and listening to, The Ulex's amazing, keyboard-focused progressive monster of a debut Old Giant!
The Ulex is a side-project of Textures keyboardist Uri Dijk, though certainly not just a one-off deal like some side-projects of bigger musicians. Dijk has voiced that he'd love to do more live shows (as apparently there has been one already), and absolutely wants to continue the project. Who are we to argue with the man? More of The Ulex can only be a good thing.
The best way I can describe Old Giant to you is that every keyboardist goes to sleep at night wishing that they'd dream of something this good, if only to wake up and write down four bars of the genius music they've experienced. It's not quite "metal" in the purest (elitist) sense, but electronica and metal working in sweet cooperation without overstepping boundaries or letting one cheesily take the spot light and try to prove something to fans. Old Giant soars with triumphant synth melodies over a base of distorted guitars of "Beluga," glitches, slams and weaves in and out of time signatures with "Mezzanine," downright terrifies with rhythmic blasts and chanted poems trenches in reverb on "Ashes," calms down to an electronica ballad on "Fingernail Eclipse," and accomplishes everything artists like Zedd and Jake Bowen of Periphery do with a little more aggression on "Brother." Dijk has simply crafted 25 minutes of forward-thinking musical perfection that will leave you searching for the "repeat album" button halfway through the first song.
Speaking of perfection, what's better than having your cake and eating it, too? On top of everything Dijk brings to the table on Old Giant, he's brought along quite a few friends. In the order in which they appear on the track list, we've got Vestacension guitarist Justin Gosnell providing axework on "Beluga," Skyharbor guitarist Keshav Dhar providing guitar work on "Mezzanine," Textures guitarist Bart Hennephof providng guitar work on "Ashes," Textures vocalist Daniel de Jongh providing vocals on "Fingernail Eclipse," Chimp Spanner Paul Ortiz providing guitar work on "Brother" with Destiny Potato guitarist David Maxim Micic soloing on the song, and Trip Trigger and Ethereal bassist Bjorn van der Ploeg proving bass work on "Beluga," "Mezzanine," "Brother," and "Ashes."
So what the hell are you waiting for? Go get it! Stumbling upon The Ulex has been a blessing and a curse for me, at least; a blessing in that it's quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year, and a curse because it dominates my playlist near constantly. You'll be familiar with my problem soon enough, I'm sure. Don't forget to check out The Ulex on Facebook and keep up with what's going on for shows, new music, and anything else!