I acquired this album entirely by accident, having picked it up at the local record store for less than a dollar. It turned out to be pretty fortunate, as I'd never heard of Pulse Ultra, and the album is surprisingly good. It seems to have been universally ignored or panned by any mainstream critics, but for what it is (a solid, progressive nu-metal album, similar to Mudvayne) it is nearly exceptional.
Zo Vizza (vocals)
Jeff Feldman (bass)
Dominic Cifarelli (guitar)
Maxx Zinno (percussion)
Acceptance (Phase 1)
A few effected chords open up a rather decent song. It's got some tight double-kick drumming, pleasant vocals, and nice staccato riffing, but it's just not that exceptional.
Finding My Place (Phase 2)
A mid-paced song, starts off with a stuttering guitar riff before the standard clean verse... the bass and guitar play different bits, as they do for most of the album. Neat little jazz-ish chord progression, a pleasant song, if not an exceptional one. Perhaps could have been about half its length, but it's not torturous.
Put It Off
Nice vocal variation in this song... the vocalist fits whispering, excellent melodic singing, and a chant in quite well. The lyrics and theme are interesting, as well. I believe the song is about a man ignoring a schizophrenic/paranoiac complex and how it affects his thoughts and self-image. Excellent bridge/interlude, as well.
A drum intro precedes a bit of guitar riffing before the song launches into a drum-and-bass powered verse. Good verse, good chorus, excellent instrumental bridge. Very nice drumming and basslines.
Never The Culprit
Brilliant intro, excellent everything. Lyrics seem to gleefully highlight the human tendency to blame others and victimize ourselves, while the bass, drums and guitar provide an enchanting, melodic backdrop. Lovely chorus: "We're never the culprit... we're always the victims." Definitely a highlight of the album.
Slip In Sin
A very, very Tool-ish intro... volume-faded, effected guitar that is intensly remniscent of Adam Jones, and a Chancellor-ish bassline to accompany it. It's an excellent song, perhaps more of a tributary measure towards Tool than a ripoff. It's heavy, melodic, overall excellent.
Exactly what one would expect from a track entitled 'Prelude.' Well, maybe not exactly -- you don't expect a well-executed piano solo amidst a nu-metal album, do you" It's quite a nice piano bit, regardless, and it seems vaguely appropriate.
This song is quite enjoyable to me, with the typical songwriting (bass/guitar countermelodies, quality drumming) and thoughtful, if simple lyrics. Nothing exceptional, just solid.
Build Your Cages
Another little acoustic/clean intro, then a rather groovy little riff. I really like the vocal delivery and lyrics on this track, they're quite above the stereotypical nu-metal ***e. There's also a lovely breakdown midway through, with a nice (if short) display of prowess on the drummer's part.
Nice chord progression in the intro -- deviates from the standard power chords, and carries a vaguely gleeful, hopeful sound, despite the melancholy tone of the song. Excellent bass work, quality drumming as usual -- and a kickass interlude. The lyrics are quite nice, as well.
A lovely interlude, somehow reminds me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Pretty Little Ditty. The bass leads the song with a sweet tapping figure, the drums simply keep an infectious, enjoyable rhythm (throwing in some triplets) while the guitar accents the melody quite nicely. I like it lots.
Typical Pulse Ultra awesomeness as far as songwriting goes... you guys should know the drill by now. The excellent lyrical bent of this album should be emphasized, though... while Za doesn't employ particularly obtuse phrasing or terms that will have you scrambling for a dictionary, he does keep a thoroughly positive attitude throughout the songs. Not nauseatingly happy, but not angst-dripping self-pitying nihilism, either. This song would be an excellent example of the lyrical quality.
Faster-paced than the rest of the songs, features some odd vocal effects that are just slightly annoying, but the kickass interlude, excellent musicianship, and odd rhythm (possibly suggestive of a deviant time signature) make it interesting nonetheless.
Another personal favorite, begins simply with some arpeggiated chords and vocals, then seamlessly progresses into a spiralling verse, onward into a thoughtful, heavy chorus -- an excellent way to close off the album.
Build Your Cages
Never The Culprit
Excellent basslines that almost always deviate from the guitar.
Thoughtful lyrics that avoid stereotypical nu-metal whinging, delivered by a very solid vocalist.
A few rather progressive moments, with odd time signatures and instrumental interludes quite frequently.
A few songs are a bit too long, or simply not exceptional.
If anyone's interested in the music, I'm sharing the album under the slsk username "uglymonkey".