Rich in diversity and imaginative enterprise, Tales the new album from Canadian metallers Tribune is an encounter which acts like a magnet for the passions and a vibrant instigator of thoughts. Merging extreme and melodic metal into a fiery compulsion which is never less than contagious and more often than not potently riveting, the Vancouver quintet in their third album have created an encounter to eagerly prey upon and devour greedily. It is not one equipped to set the metal world on fire but in keeping it simmering and thoroughly engaging it is an undeniable success.
The seeds of the band began in 2004 with guitarist Terry Anderson and drummer Jason Brown deciding to form a band together. Already friends the pair soon recruited bassist Jess Garner into their heavy metal based project as well as vocalist Bryan Baker, the quartet emerging as Blacklist. The departure before the end of the year of Garner saw Ryan O’Shea brought into the line-up whilst 2005 saw the band firstly rename themselves as Tribune and release debut album Home Sweet Hell. Guitarist Shawn Culley expanded the band’s line-up soon after as Tribune continued to write and hone their sound. The Rotting Core EP emerged in 2009 showing the continuing evolution of the band’s sound with second album Elder Lore / The Dark Arts drawing good acclaim and eager responses last year. With a fine reputation earned for their live performances which have seen Tribune alongside the likes of 3 Inches of Blood, Titans Eve, Archspire, Unleash and many more, Tales looks set to lift the profile and stature of the five piece to greater strength and awareness as well as leaving plenty of appetites fulfilled if not bloated.
A nine chapter concept album taking inspiration from the works of some of the world’s most renowned authors, including H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells and Homer, the Corpse Corrosion Music released Tales opens with its instantly impressive title track. The movement of paper and pages makes an initial impression before the track erupts into an adrenaline honed blaze of firm rhythms, stirring riffs, and great vocals. Predominantly clean with bursts of aggressive scowls, the vocals of Baker draw thoughts of Volbeat singer/guitarist Michael Poulsen whilst musically the resourceful mix of death and melodic metal strides around him with a confident and contagious swagger. The song does not burn new avenues of metal but certainly ignites an enthusiastic appetite for the superbly crafted sonic adventure and vocal persuasion on offer. Rife with addictive hooks and melodic flames which singe the imagination the song is a formidable lure into the release, a vibrant enticement which also inspires flickers of Dommin meets Lamb Of God in thoughts.
Both Insectoid and The Butterfly Effect provide further intensive persuasion for ears and thoughts even if neither manages to reach the same pinnacle as their predecessor. The first unleashes a savage assault from the off, rhythms and riffs an unbridled predation but equally the gateway into infectious melodic climes which emerge within and wrap around the persistently voracious intensity and carnally rapacious sounds. Its successor with the bass of O’Shea simultaneously enthralling whilst enjoyably almost at odds with the rest of the song, is a less destructive venture but does not short change on senses barracking riffs and bone splitting rhythms. There is also a familiarity to the songs which does them no harm as it is an undefined source and makes them easily accessible if lacking the wow factor.
From Funeral to Funeral coats the ear in intrigue and mesmeric sonic craft from the start, the guitars placing an incendiary narrative upon the crisp rhythmic canvas while its premise is explored and elevated by the again impressive vocals paraded across the imaginative tempest. It makes for an attention holding storm which intensifies through the following Horror, another lofty highlight of the album. A melodramatic piano sculpted ambience teases the imagination first before the song charges through a ravaging expanse of insatiable vengeful invention. Every aspect of it is unpredictable and rigorously enterprising, the explosive endeavour seemingly pulling elements of the likes of Disturbed, The Black Dahlia Murder, Clutch and more into its scintillating proposition.
The fiery King of Ithaca, where that earlier Volbeat reference also reaches the music, and the sadistically stalking and heavily bestial Vengeance both keep the engagement secure and intensive, whilst Red Crescent is a serpentine temptation which as in all songs fuses its nastiest darkest elements with its most acidically enflamed to create an absorbing attraction and subsequent slavery of the passions. Leaving That Bleakest Shore to finish things off with another major highlight of inventive exploration, Tribune has forged one exciting and deeply satisfying album. Tales will not take you down unknown paths or into dangerous unchartered corners of melodic death metal but undoubtedly provides a torrent of impacting and pleasing exploits which fulfils from start to finish and leaves you wanting more.
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