In October of 2013, the 4 piece progressive thrash metal band from Vancouver Island released their 4th studio album, “Tales”. I speak of course, Tribune. Having not heard of this band until recently, I was quite excited to what I might hear.
The album features 9 tracks – combining the aggressive nature of heavy metal that we’ve all come to love with the melodic cleans that could easily make you weep. At first, I was trying incredibly hard to compare it something that I had heard before… The closest I could come up with was Devin Townsend mixed with Cannibal Corpse. The band’s spontaneous and rather exploring music agenda makes it very intriguing.
When listening to it at first, you might ask yourself “Devin Townsend? What?” but you could easily find many other influences ranging from death metal to thrash metal. It could simply be the way some of the chorus’ are sung, but hey – that’s my opinion!
The album starts out with the self-titled “Tales”, which opens with page-flipping into an awfully chaotic and announcing carnage of notes. The wall of sound that hits you immediately might throw you off – but give it a chance. It’s simply a warm-up for the rest of the record. This song in particular is where I found Devin Townsend, especially in the clean vocals. Not only are the guitars going to crush your ribcage, the drums and bass combination could potentially cause more bodily injury. It angrily compliments the vocal style to a higher plane.
“Insectoid” stands as the second track on the album, which is my favourite song on this record. It opens with the same style of riff but into a very different vocal style. If you’re into the vocal style that comprises of high pitched growling, this song will fit nicely into your collection. Although it does start out with that, it eventually moves onto the growled death metal vocals. Around the 2:00 mark, it has a very heavy, grooving thunder riff that you could easily head bang to. In fact, I highly recommend it.
“The Butterfly Effect” and “From Funeral to Funeral” employ a very similar style. Both keep the heavy, but have the more melodic vocal style which I really enjoy about Tribune. It’s almost like a break between brutality, giving you time to breathe before the next track “Horror” slams you in the face. It starts off teasing you with a mellow intro before smashing you with the death metals. Blast beats, growls and single note riffs are all for this song – but it keeps the mood going.
“King of Ithaca” is a flashback to the start of the album. The jumpy chorus riff tied with the vocals is an excellent reminder of where the album started – before hitting you with the verses. It drifts from the melody into a dark outro with no cleans and no mercy.
“Vengeance” chimes in with a nice greeting before going into a very hard rock influenced track. While it is a nice song – it sounds exactly like Godsmack, with the exception of the gutturals. Sully Erna would be proud of this badboy. This song is quite unique to the album, where it is stylistically the most diverse. “Vengeance” jumps back and forth from death metal to hard rock… I dub this song “Hard Death”.
“Red Crescent” reminds me of Nekrogoblikon, which is actually a good thing because that band is awesome. The high pitched vocal style that Tribune delivers in not just this song, but various songs on the album is very reminiscent of the goblin metal. “Red Crescent” is very chuggy, relying on the low E to do the damage. Whoever mixed this album did a hell of a job on the drums – those toms could cause an earthquake… Earquake? This song makes it work.
The album’s closer, “The Bleakest Shore” stands as the longest song on the record with 6 minutes. That being said, you are caught off guard with what you hear first. It is almost dance music with the guitar and bass duelling each other for attention. Red Hot Tribune Peppers for the first minute and a half until it kicks into the ooey gooey metal lick of the day. The first part of the song seems like it should have nothing to do with the rest of the song – but that’s what I love most of this. It’s unexpected and original to the song in regards to the rest of the album.
Final thoughts? I quite enjoyed this album. It was refreshing to hear something that wasn’t just chugging on every song – they actually play their instruments! That is rare for the metal scene today. Everyone wants to be Meshuggah and Periphery. If I had one pet peeve with this band though, it would be the production quality. That may be out of the bands hands, but it seems toned down from what it could be capable of.
7/10 for all the heaviness, eclectic sound and instrumentation.