Poetic Symphonic Rock: ‘High Strangeness’ By Tulip

Rock On Purpose contributors Jessica Walker and Matt Durlin discuss their thoughts on the album High Strangeness by Texas-based symphonic metal band Tulip.

Matt: I really enjoy when bands incorporate symphonic elements into rock music, and I think lead singer Ashleigh Semwik’s voice is a perfect fit for this genre. What jumps out at you as something that really makes this album stand out musically?

Jessica: I really like the symphonic elements as well. I’m always a big fan of when metal bands incorporate any sort of strings into a song, and Tulip does this so well!

Matt: Musically, there were a few songs that stood out for me. The energy and tempo gave “Missing Time” a fantastic groove and highlighted how technically skilled Colin Parish is on guitars. “Theater of the Dead” was full of minor and dissonant chord progressions, making it feel like a rock opera. What songs stood out for you?

Jessica: Definitely hearing a lot of those operatic elements; Ashleigh was a professional opera vocalist! My favorite instrumental track on the album is “Within,” because there are really neat layers of guitar elements there. Another song that stood out to me was “Deepstate.” I loved the energy that it kicked off with and how that continued to grow throughout the introduction. After that, so many different dynamics presented themselves throughout the song.

“Deepstate” was also one of my favorites lyrically; I really liked the starting lyrics:

Light after darkness
Gain after loss
Strength after weakness
Crown after cross
Sweet after bitter
Hope after fears
Home after wandering
Praise after tears
Near after distant
Gleam after gloom
Life after sorrow
Life after tomb

What great contrasts! I love that positive message and the pictures that it paints. What lyrics did you find impactful?

Matt: There are so many profound lyrics contained on this album, it is hard to choose! “Communion” is about being subconsciously one with another being, its meaning could have so many layers.

I feel I am at one with
I feel I am at peace with you
Your sweetness draws me in
Eclipse of consciousness

The closing song, “Transfiguration,” is such a poetic song about being aware of and watching for moments that are transformed into something special. The flow of that song both lyrically and musically continues with that rock opera feel.

Look for the waymarks As you journey on
Look for them passing fast The great prophetic ones
What will the next great glorious drama be?
Not my homecoming and not eternity

What was your favorite song on the album, the one that is can’t miss?

Jessica: “Theater of the Dead” is my choice for that can’t miss song on the album! I feel like that one captures a lot of what we’ve discussed about the band’s unique musicality, and I’m captivated by the questions the lyrics pose about what will become of each of us once we die. I also thought the lyric video was really well done and intriguing to watch. What was your favorite song?

Matt: I’m always down for a good anthem, and “Entity” has that anthemic vibe. Leading with what sounds like a timpani roll and leading into a steady marching tempo, this song feels like a victory declaration. The instrumental about two thirds through is epic as well.

Overall, I think Tulip has delivered a unique album that is fun and interesting to listen to from front to back.

Jessica: It’s definitely a captivating and powerful album! High Strangeness is one that will be on repeat because it was so satisfying and leaves me wanting to hear more from them.

Find High Strangeness on Spotify or Apple Music.

Related Artists: Imminence, Mirratal, Divine Martyr

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