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Queensr˙che: Tribe

If you like Queensr˙che, you'll like Tribe. But if you're new to Queensr˙che or you're looking for brilliant, modern metal with varied sounds, blinding solos, or classically oriented compositions, approach with caution.

Tribe is heavier than their recent releases and has plenty of melodic hooks, but it is not prog-metal in the traditional sense. It is repetitive, predictable, devoid of solos, and lethargic. Yet at the same time, it is it a real quality piece – subtle, mature, melodic, and tight as a drum with no instrument stealing the limelight. And although Tate is still one of the very best vocalists in metal today, you won't hear much evidence of it on Tribe. His delivery is subdued and almost lazy, but the range and power are still there – listen to "Rhythm Of Hope".

It is a theme album. The topic and the lyrics are fairly simple, but they lend an atmosphere that pervades the whole CD – adding an important dimension of complexity. That atmosphere is sometimes dark, sometimes upbeat, always cynical.

The tracks are short and the whole album lasts just 40-odd minutes. Each track has the classic verse / chorus / verse / chorus / riff-heavy instrumental passage / chorus / fade structure. Predictable and not very progressive, it is more reminiscent of classic metal –song oriented, very deliberate delivery, heavy bass and drums, and fuzzy riffs that define the basis of each composition. And there lies one of the biggest problems: Crunchy guitar work and metal are almost synonymous – but too much fuzz is just filler, and with Tribe, you have to really strain to hear the gems hidden behind that curtain of distortion.

In the days of Operation Mindcrime and Empire, Queensr˙che was one of the most exciting progressive metal acts in the business. But they have disappointed their fans recently, so with Chris DeGarmo temporarily back in the mix, Tribe probably represents a make-or-break point for the elder-statesmen of prog-metal. So – did they make it or break it? Well – it is way better than anything produced in the past 6 years, and although there are many important criticisms here, you just might find yourself playing it again and again. And the appeal seems to increase with repetition, which is one of the hallmarks of really good music. So let's say that this is the start of Queensr˙che's return to glory. Just the start

Added: August 21st 2003
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: Official Website
Hits: 4267
Language: english

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