Last Tribe - Witch Dance

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Frontiers
Catalog Number: FR CD 116
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:14:00

Melodic metal is one tough market to crack. Not that there is a policy of exclusion regarding new bands, or a lack of talented ones for that matter, but there is such a growing inrush of material every year that fans can't help but being short-winded by it and forced to buy only the best and most established. It's a simple matter of offer and demand, and it tends to make things harder both financially and artistically for bands exploiting this genre. After all, there is a point where things tend to start sounding the same, and if memory serves right, it seems that only one out of every twenty new acts actually has something to offer and the right to acrimoniously complain if overlooked. Led by lightning-fingers Magnus Karlsson, Last Tribe seems hellbent on laying claim to that right and placing itself at the forefront of the melodic neophytes.

And in its strategic lunge for control, the band has recently released its sophomore effort Witch Dance; a rock solid cluster of memorable choruses, clean yet strong vocals, slightly epic song taints, and a tasteful selection of progressive elements that bring the entire lot up a notch or two. Instead of opting for all-out shredding or for bringing to life the hackneyed hooks and melodies that fans nevertheless devour, Karlsson and company have concentrated on a style that is admittedly not groundbreaking, but that is touched with just enough personality to give it that something special. In other words, Last Tribe is not another unfortunate casualty in the quagmire of new and utterly generic melodic acts.

But not a shattering entry into the upper realms of the genre either. Instead, the band seems to be developing its strengths with potency, but not yet enough of it to bring out the best from this Swedish act or to completely keep its members from grazing at times the grey area of music that is nice to listen to but in the end isn't really much to bet on. There are certain tracks, like "Wash Your Sins Away" for instance, that have some killer breaks or moments, the most special one in this case being a quirky guitar run in odd time that comes to life during the song's instrumental part, but which as a whole don't really stand out much. And it is really those moments that hinder Last Tribe's efforts of piercing the sky, as songs like "Messenger" are instead compact monsters that work in their mid-tempo craft exactly according to specifications.

And not surprisingly, it is when the band sacrifices a bit of melody for more heaviness that things start running like clockwork. It is thus that the aforementioned "Messenger" and the instrumental "Agadir" take the spotlight unquestionably and set a trail that would perhaps be best to follow in the future, although more melodic counterparts like "Bring Out The Brave" and "The Eternal Curse" show aspects that should not be left behind either. In the meantime, special kudos go to vocalist Rickard Bengtsson, whose clear vocals resound with strength and conviction in any surrounding and make him the perfect kind of singer for this type of music. On second thought, the whole of Last Tribe is to be commended for recording such a solid album, regardless of whether or not there are things that could be improved. After all, the world could certainly use more of this kind of band.

Similar artists: D.C. Cooper, Dio-era Black Sabbath, Royal Hunt

The Gathering (intro) (1:47) / Witch Dance (5:03) / Messenger (5:08) / Bring Out The Brave (6:09) / Wash Your Sins Away (5:17) / Behind Your Eyes (6:21) / Wake Up The World (6:22) / Man Of Peace (5:35) / The Eternal Curse (4:28) / Agadir (5:07) / Dreamer (6:02)

Magnus Karlsson - guitars
Jaime Salazar - drums
Dick Lowgren bass
Rickard Bengtsson - vocals

The Ritual (2001)
Witch Dance (2002)
The Uncrowned (2003)

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin SE

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 607
Language: english


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