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Tribune: Tales

Here's a distinguished list for you: H. P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells, Robert E. Howard, George R. R. Martin, E. R. Eddison, Herman Melville, Fritz Leiber, China Mieville, Lord Dunsany, Franz Kafka, Mary Shelley, Sir Thomas Mallory, Ray Bradbury, Homer. Not only are these authors some of the best voices in weird, fantastic, and horror, fiction, they are also some of the greatest narrative voices in the world. Moreover, these authors are all important influences on Tribune, the Vancouver, B. C. metal band determined to get its audience thinking about the power of story all over again. No wonder their promotional photograph features the band standing in a bookstore, pages and pages of books flying around them, tokens of tales, fantasy worlds, and new adventures.

It's not necessarily a new thing to connect metal and books. Lots of bands call attention to the books they've been reading by adapting them into song. What would Rush lyrics be without Neal Peart's voracious reading? The same goes for Steve Harris's own penchant for fantasy fiction—Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, remember, was based entirely on a single novel. Other similar examples are simply too numerous to mention in a short review. The point is that heavy metal is a very literate genre—intelligent, thoughtful, subversive, and insightful.

Now to the task at hand: Tribune's album, their third, develops this aforementioned blend of fiction and metal by offering listeners nine solid songs about stories. From beginning to end, the album delivers a stirring blend of heavy music based on stirring and terrific tales. I'm not sure I can name all the stories they draw on off hand, but I do know that Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror" is among the represented tales, as is Homer's The Odyssey. I especially enjoyed the former, mostly because I've been obsessed with the connection between Lovecraft and heavy metal for over a decade.

So is the music here any good or is it just a cool concept? It's both. Fans of these authors will definitely want to check this album out, if only to hear how some of their favorite tales are being adapted into music. Fans of heavy metal will also like it. The music here is strong and edgy, developed liberally from the already-established styles of bands like Mastodon and Down, but also pushing forward into a sound that belongs entire to Tribune. One of the highlights of this album is Bryan Baker's vocal style. He has a good, clean, voice that he sometimes alternates with a powerful screech that is as evil as they come. Alongside him, the rest of the band show that they are clearly a talented bunch. To me, the twin guitar harmonies, something I never get tired of, were a highlight.

Interested listeners should definitely check out tracks like "Tales," "The Butterfly Effect," "From Funeral to Funeral," and "Horror." I also enjoyed "King of Ithaca." This is a good album. Check it out.

Track Listing:
1. Tales
2. Insectoid
3. The Butterfly Effect
4. From Funeral to Funeral
5. Horror
6. King of Ithaca
7. Vengeance
8. Red Crescent
9. That Bleakest Shore

Added: November 30th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1875
Language: english

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