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Tribune – Elder Lore / The Dark Arts

Tribune
Elder Lore / The Dark Arts
by Eric “Carnegie” Hall at 16 April 2012, 6:42 PM

Well, here we are. Specifically, I am here. You, who I assume is probably alive, over there. Sit back, relax, and try to enjoy what I am about to tell you. It’s going to get a bit weird. Not too weird, though – “wearing a Hawaiian shirt” weird, not “licking your dog’s anus” weird.

We have TRIBUNE, a Progressive Thrash / Death Metal band with some rather covert hardcore influences. “Elder Lore / The Dark Arts” is their first full-length release, three years from their 2009 EP, “Rotting Core”. This album has left a funky taste in my mouth, like an ice cream sundae with a dead cat in it. I love ice cream sundaes. But I’m not particularly fond of turds. That’sthe problem. Need I say more? Yeah, probably.

So, what I meant by that rather blunt analogy one paragraph ago is that this band has some things I really do love. The guitar work deserves near-top marks, so my proverbial hat goes off to Terrence Andersen and Shawn Culley. They deliver great, chunky, technical riffs and solid lead work. It’s definitely the ice cream part of our metaphor. As well, the bass work is definitely intact. I can hearit! And it’s good! This makes me smile in the general direction of Ryan O’Shea. Rounding things off, the drum work is equal parts technical and riveting. Technical music really does require a good, skilled drummer to keep time on schedule, and Jason Brown does that.

But every silver lining has a dark cloud, and this album is no exception. This is where we get to the dead cat part of our analogy. And it’s the vocal work. In truth, it’s not terrible, so maybe calling it a dead cat is too harsh. But it’s definitely a retarded cat in a diabetic coma being shot out of a cannon into a brick wall. What I mean is that the vocalizations are all over the place. We have clean, harmonized, vocals one line, followed by Death Metal growls, then we make a bee-line to the “hardcore shout” thing I hate so much. If you don’t know what I mean by the “hardcore shout”, it’s that terrible, terrible vocal style you see in Metalcore and other “-core” subgenres where every word is stressed and screamed at full volume. It sounds awful to me, and not just because I hate everything. Then he moves to Death Metal growls, and back to clean singing. As I said, this guy is all over the place. You know what? The more I think of it, it is a dead cat. A verydead cat.

Terrible jokes aside, the vocals are not my bag of weed, this album suffers for it. I understand the dynamic we’re going for with it, but it creates too much of a good thing. It’s like being violently shoved the second you sit down to relax and quietly paint. And I don’t like being violently shoved. But to be honest, I don’t really think the vocalist is even that good. His actual singing is fairly weak in its timbre. Some people just don’t have a good singing voice. That’s why Batman isn’t a singer at the Met.

Well, I don’t just want to be known as the guy who hates everything and puts everyone down to make himself feel better – I also paint! So what I will do is end on this simple note: The music is near stellar; more than worth a listen. But the vocals will either deter you or entice you. For myself, it’s the former. Maybe you will find them to be the latter.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I Came from the Swamps…
2. The Succubus
3. Chemistry Arrives
4. The Warrior Mentality
5. Below
6. We, the Black
7. Man on the Outside
8. The World’s Greatest Cynic
Lineup:
Terrence Anderson– Guitars
Shawn Culley– Guitars
Ryan O’Shea– Bass
Bryan Baker– Vocals
Jason Brown– Drums
Record Label: Corpse Corrosion Music
     


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