Review | Tulip – The Perpetual Dream
While it helps the one, it may astray another. Faith and religion are powerful cursors in the lives of many but also conceal grief and hardship once you decide to carve your own future. Amidst the fortified walls of the Calvinist Baptist church in Toronto, singer-extraordinaire Ashleigh Semkiv met her life partner Colin Parrish forging a bond musically and spiritually. A union that leads to the foundation of their band Tulip pushing them away from religion and straying from their loved ones due to divorcing their partners.
A story worth reading as it empowers their musical dream. Relocating in Texas they start their journey with classically trained Ashleigh widening her vocal skills and Colin distilling the music for the future. Together with bass player Cody Casillas and drummer Ryan Claxton the ground works of `The Perpetual Dream’ were laid down by a range of music videos leading to this powerful release.
A FORCE TO RECKON WITH
It instantly becomes clear Tulip is a force to reckon with. Though feeling immediately familiar, the band hold a unique tone and sonic tone that is fired forward by their relentless drive. Symphonic metal is the key ingredient, but there’s a lot more the band brings to the front on `The Perpetual Dream’. Heavily syncopated rhythmic patterns and progressive breaks are weld to the grooving carcass of their songs, blending groove metal and metal core luster with djent complexity. Driven by the impressive hooks and melodic towering harmonies and vocals, Tulip manage to uphold amidst the flooding wave of releases in the genre. At the helm Ashleigh belts an impressive powerful vocal job with deep and intense power whilst touching the emotional depth constantly. Breathing life into the personal lyrics, she brings a lot of passion forward conveying the perfect dose of craving emotions.
HEARTFELT PASSION AND LIFE STRUGGLES
,,DR34MF4RM3R” opens with techno motion before going symphonic on us. The perfect opener to the gutted ,,Ghost of Kyiv” that fuses the present war to the emotional stride of their painful break ups. Shaking of the past, Ashleigh frees herself to embark on the life journey with Colin, depicted in “Finally going home, shackles that you wore”, to conclude “They will never take are souls”. The lyrics are insanely melodic, her vocals clear and crisp, but packing insane power. Whaling her top voice, she discharges insane glorious with the instrumentations topping it off in pompous power. Keys are raining down, riffs jabbing, double bass blasting, the anger-laden ending is grunted into agony. Keys build to make the song die out in orbital state.
Four and a half minutes of emotions packed in a rollercoaster ride that emphasizes their struggles and displays their emotional stride. It is what `The Perpetual Dream’ is all about. No created storyboard of mythical figured and folk stories, but heartfelt passion and life struggles finding accolades in gut wrenching musical scores.
DRAMA AND ANGER
Rousing vocals and ravishing guitars open ,,Gemini” in which Semkiv displays her strength. Clean and almost poppy, she gradually builds her vocal roughness injecting melodic power into the nesting chorus and scatting bridge. Trading off her vocals to the drum rhythm the song wells with a glorious power. Grunts returns to the front and the intensity builds. Keys jab into the jagged guitars while drums start to align. Palmuting the chords the sonic longevity is shortened and laid one on one on the dense drum ‘n bass groove. Fist raiser per se!
,,The Hanged Man” opens with cinematic poise to suddenly burst into action. The urging undertone is full of frustration and its psychedelic hoovering melody line feeds off the drizzling keyboard melodies reverting. The guitars are subtle and starts to unload insane power constantly, with Ashleigh belting a wonderful performance full of drama and anger. The stab at their church is packed in the lyrical content and its wrath exploding with torment. It falls into the modern scratch of the short ,,MU53” that sonically bridges the gap between ,,The Hanged Man” and following ,,Assassins” with hiphop’ed metal carnage.
Feeding off the scatted vocals the riffs of ,,Assassins” is pumping into a pompous keyboard driven build of character. Highly cinematic, like a heavy metal musical, the song starts to swirl like a tornado with its Q+A feed between keys and guitars. Drum is thumping the modern twist of the instrumental and the vocals are insane, especially in the sudden calm of the track. Stillness that falls heavy on the gut, with progressive polyrhythms unleashed.
CLASSIC EPIC METAL ELEMENTS
The contrast with the mega-melodic ,,Third Eye” is scorching. The song lays multiple melodies on one another with tremendous energy unleashed in intuitive grip. The melodic power is elongated on the following ,,Black Rainbow” that unites the symphonic pretentions with classic epic metal elements. Cinematic layers of keys atop the driving guitars and orchestrated sections make it shine. Transcending the song’s captivating melody, the instrumental ,,Hom3” retains the cinematic appeal with its luring piano and string arrangements.
,,Near Death” opens in the same pummelling luster before suddenly raising stakes with progressive staccato interplay, trading off heavy rhythms and arching guitar melodies. Ashleigh takes the helm in a withering beautiful piano section suddenly opening in reminiscent ,,Home3” melodics and wonderful outcalling vocals. Keys power up in the front to dramatize the musical richness of an optimistic glorious bridge and rapping-like vocals flowing into the powerful chorus, leaving you speechless!
TULIP – THE CONCLUSION
Suddenly going all modern and spacy, Tulip roar with Ayreonautic accolades on ,,Starseed”. Alternating keys and jagged muted riffs in the refrain, the drums start to speed up for metal bombast and progressive roar. Very athletic, Ashleigh sings her vocals with ravishing power and feel. A job she exceeds on the closing title track. Opening on a high, she touches with her emotions “Our fortunes came true building our lives together” and calling it out on the glorious segment with heart touching warmth and power “Our life is a melody”. Echoing male vocals (Colin?) answers her anthemic celebration of life. Musically the song summarizes not only its lyrical content of overcoming the obstacles of life, it also perfectly captures the emotions and power while battling the odds to prevail together. It is exactly what `The Perpetual Dream’ is about.
Tulip certainly embellishes their logo and name in the upper registers of 2023’s metal charts. The album is empowering the main duo’s stride and grace while fusing dreams. Musically it adds up with the content and it is powerful as it is glorious. On top the album is a wonderful fusion of modern styles and maintains the classic metal elements in terms of headbanging and fist pumping without a dull moment. `The Perpetual Dream’ will prove its infinite appeal in the years to come, and we will keep our eyes out for this quartet: Tulip flowers with this gigantic epos.