Tribus - Manual Acrobatics

Year of Release: 2002
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 40:44:00

It certainly would be an understatement to say that the electric bass is easily the most underrated instrument in the regular ensemble of heavy metal music, whether progressive or not. Never mind luminaries such as Geddy Lee, Billy Sheehan, and Les Claypool, or lesser known bass deities like Sean Malone and Doug Keyser; there is no denying that the appreciation of the rumbling low end of this instrument pales in comparison to the hordes of maniacs praising guitarists, vocalists, keyboardists, and drummers. Yet these unsung masters keep going on about their craft, slowly working for a much due massive recognition and proving once and for all that the bass can be as killer an instrument as its counterparts. And while this paradigm insurrection slowly ingrains itself into the fields of music listeners, new ambitious revolutionaries keep adding themselves to the movement. Take note: Add Carlos Soto and Tribus' Manual Acrobatics to the top of the list.

Manual Acrobatics sounds as if one took a bassist, gave the musician the mission of writing seven instrumentals with rhyme and reason, and as weapons of choice provided the necessary instruments and a load of Red Bull to boot. It isn't quite high-octane rock intent on breaking the sound barrier, but it is a fast paced instrumental record with a contagious sense of nervous urgency and an engaging level of controlled hyperactivity. It isn't a mind-numbing collection of complex intertwining layers and dynamically changing tempos, but it is an album which's strength relies heavily on the fact that its nature is quite uniform in its accelerated stride and which's charm relies on the simplicity of layers that allows for excellent instrumental complementation. It isn't straight-ahead bass shredding either; it is seven excellent tracks featuring a progressive essence not quite due to a multi-movement nature, but rather due to the way that each basic theme is locked onto virtuous bass playing and how the select tempo and theme changes of the album work so well across its duration. Basically put: it doesn't have the elaborateness of a Dream Theater, the all-out technical insanity of a Spastic Ink, or the accessible complexity of a Planet X, but it's good. Very good.

And very grabbing, too. The very moment that "Resurrection" explodes into its accelerated impatient mood, the listener is helplessly dragged along in a defying pace that rarely takes a break, and when it does the tempo only slows itself down to dive into atmospheres of smothering digital paranoia, so that no quarter is to be found until the album's last track. At that point, Manual Acrobatics stops its frantic pace and instead soothes one with the calm Latin tag of "En Mis Pensamientos" in one hell of a curveball that oddly makes sense after "Trauma" sets the stage with its bullfight bravado. And curiously enough, that very last moment of surprising warmth is perhaps the key moment of the entire album and what makes the entire affair so incredibly addictive, providing a contrast that forces the listener to suddenly face the entirety of what one has just been exposed to. And that is when one finally realizes what a ride the album is, how its collection of relatively simple themes coagulates into a thick and solid mass of mesmerizing instrumentals, and how Tribus has just joined the elite force of the bass revolution. Congratulations.

Resurrection (6:25) / Oasis (6:18) / I Remember Love (4:34) / Digital Eyes (5:39) / Suspicious (5:47) / Trauma (6:56) / En Mis Pensamientos (5:04)

Carlos Soto - bass, effects, all other instruments

Mega Shred (2001)
Manual Acrobatics (2002)
Too Late?Damage Is Done (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1024
Language: english


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