Dead Soul Tribe - Dead Soul Tribe

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 095/SPV 087-41862
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:03:00

The thought that kept coming to mind as I was listening to Dead Soul Tribe's self-titled debut was how much vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Devon Graves (or Buddy Lackey, ex-Psychotic Waltz) sounds like Steve Hogarth (Marillion) with a hint of Ed Kowalczyk (Live). The music is definitely in the metal realm, a bit dark and raw. Not quite nu-metal -- in his review, Igor namechecks Tool, though (opening for King Crimson has given Tool a bit of prog cred, I suppose) -- but with a track like "Powertrip," this is far from the classic metal sound. It is metal with a Nine In Nails feel -- which gets back to my raw comment. It's kinda strange, because after this track, Graves slips into the smoother, sweeter voice that is so very Hogarth-like. Graves often breathes and whispers his vocals given everything a pained, revealing feel. It is the sound of someone laying bare their soul, seeking something -- seeking everything. Or, given the band's name, perhaps only what's left of their "soul." Several things run undercurrent to the music - trying to find what ever remnants of faith (religious faith) survive, the pain that relationships leave behind, the feeling of being all alone in the world...

"The Haunting" has an interesting step-slide beat to it, were the drums pound out a heartbeat like tattoo, while percussion shhs quietly. All this played against big guitars, grinding at mid-tempo. The effect is rather like slow motion. "You" has an almost pop feel, put through a metal filter. That is, by a pop band, the arrangement would be bright and sunny (lyrics aside), and here we have a twist on that feel, slightly warped. "One Bullet" lyrically takes on a well-worn clich? in having the protagonist so much in despair after a broken relationship that he is going to "punish" that person by killing himself. Unfortunately, I think it's a "real world" clich? that does get played out all to often. It is a dreary song, played in a causal, laidback manner. There's nothing hurried about it, as it slowly plays out (featuring at one point sound bites from the classic Gene Wilder film Young Frankenstein). "Cry For Tomorrow" is the point where Graves sounds the most like Hogarth, if Hogarth were a vocalist like Eddie Vedder, while the music sounds a lot like something from Pearl Jam.

The odds track out are the acoustic "Under The Weight Of My Stone" which sounds more like something out of the early 70s, from the likes of...well, the exact reference I want to make is eluding me, but someone like America. It's understated on an album where the vocals are always understated. The other is the very short "Emtpy." And, um, when you hear the flutes that begin "Empty," you immediately think of Jethro Tull. But it's not just that it's a flute, but it's a flute of a particular tone.

Their most proggy moment is "...Into The Spiral Cathedral." Atmospheric keys and flute, lead into lyrical symphonic prog metal passage. Sinewy guitar lines curl and twist, playing against rich piano-like notes. It rather textured and deep, more so than the near-nu-metal bands they'll get compared to.

This is another one of those albums that reveals more of itself the more you listen. There's a lot going on beneath the surface. It's an album well worth exploring.

Powertrip (3:28) / Comin' Down (5:22) / Anybody There? (1:18) / The Haunted (4:52) / The Drowning Machine (3:09) / You (3:59) / Under The Weight Of My Stone (1:42) / Once (4:50) / One Bullet (5:01) / Empty (1:02) / Cry For Tomorrow (4:10) / Bonus Tracks: Into... (1:26) / Into The Spiral Cathedral (4:44)

Devon Graves - vocals, guitar
Adel Moustafa - drums
Roland Ivenz - bass
Volker Wilschko - guitar

Dead Soul Tribe (2002)
A Murder Of Crows (2003)
The January Tree (2004)
The Dead Word (2005)
A Lullaby For The Devil (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 748
Language: english


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