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Twelve Tribes: Midwest Pandemic

Although Twelve Tribes call themselves a hardcore band, their sound vastly differs from those typical hardcore music we know. To their credit, this band certainly has more potential and diversity than most others. However, they seem to make little use of this potential, opting for the done-to-death, bland style of the genre, which includes lots of gutteral screams and growls mixed where a single guitar theme is placed underneath the vocals whilst the bass does nothing but follow that pattern till the end of the song.

That's a shame, however, considering the band's strength definitely lies in crafting diverse songs that are replete with heavy breakdowns and great rhythmic combinations. Out of all five members, it is only Shane Shook who's trying to break the mould, as he inserts some great raw yet rhythmically powerful fills throughout the whole album. Also, the guitarist is capable of so much more than is presented here. Rather than doing the same guitar run over and over again, he is at his creative best on the more laidback pieces, such as the primarily acoustic based "Monarch of Dreams", which recalls the finest moments of Isis and later day Cult of Luna. The acoustic walk of the melody is broken by dynamic drum and bass beats before everything calms down and is finalised on an eerie note. Likewise, the opening bass chords of "The Nine Year Tide" are sadly wasted when the band decide to turn it into yet another overdone hardcore number rather than developing it into a full-blown sludge cut. The guitar work of Kevin Schindel hints at his being a much better musician, so it's a real shame this band haven't made more use of his abilities. Although "Monarch of Dreams" is arguably the only piece that I like from start to finish (it's just 2 minutes though), there are good elements on other pieces, including the sombre guitar theme on the aforementioned "The Nine Year Tide", the rumbling bass of "History Versus the Pavement", and the clean-toned instrumentation on "Librium". The album's closing song is nearly nine minutes, divided into three sections, but some of the arrangements seem sorely lacking. They would have worked a lot better if they'd been linked with recurring melodic themes or been written with a stronger compositional vision.

I am unfamiliar with this band's previous work(s), so I have nothing to compare Midwest Pandemic with. That said, on its own, it feels like an album with undeniable potential wasted due to lack of direction. The resut is that the average hardcore fan may find them too diverse whilst fans of bands such as Void, Cult of Luna, and even Time of Orchids will find them too bland and uninspired.

    Track Listing
  1. National Amnesia
  2. Muzzle Order
  3. Televangelist
  4. Pagan Self Portrait
  5. History Versus the Pavement
  6. Monarch of Dreams
  7. Librium
  8. Verona
  9. The Nine Year Tide
  10. Midwest Pandemic
  11. The Recovery
    i. God Bless You, Good Thief
    ii. Towers and Vectors
    iii. Bridge to the Sun

Added: February 25th 2007
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Ferret Music
Hits: 2550
Language: english

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