Tribal Gaze
The Nine Choirs

I’ve been saying it recently how Scott Magrath’s Maggot Stomp Records seems to be the label Century Media Records are looking into and poaching bands from that roster after the bands have released at least an ep or debut album.  The bands are hungry, writing kick ass death metal and want to tour.  Smart decision on Century Media’s part!

Several months back Tribal Gaze, from Texas, caught my ears when I heard “And How They Wept for Eternity” from their about-to-drop debut album – The Nine Choirs.  I’ve been to Texas multiple times, while touring with Internal Bleeding, as well as going there to see my Dallas Cowboys play and ultimately multiple times.   Now some things are true, like everything is bigger in Texas – go order a steak to see what the hell I mean –  what is completely true is they have an outstanding death metal scene.  Let’s add Tribal Gaze to that long list of up-and-coming killer bands that I am sure Century Media are already thinking of signing.  One of the things I do love about this album is the guitar sound.  It’s extraordinarily heavy AF.

9 songs in 35 minutes and while all the songs are in the 3-minute range the band opts to open the album with the longest track, the 6+ minute “Cold Devotion”.  After a small intro, incorporated into the song, the Holy Shit moment is the isolated guitar riff, that erupts into a fast part then a mid-paced rhythm section that will knock your socks off from here to Tim–Buk-Tu.  This opening part is more of an instrumental and at the 2.13 mark the vocals of McKenna Holland come to light and are shouted in a gruff tough guy hardcore style, and then he lays down the gutturals as the song gets into this mid-paced groove section.  This heavy section will have you going to Bubba’s Pit Beef (yes there is a place called this in Dallas and their food rules) and taking brisket, smoked sausage, pulled pork and with fistfuls of this food slam dancing in the pit all damn day.  The song has some interesting melodic guitar soloing as well.  If I was in the band I would recommend this song be the opener for the live set.  The opening crushing instrumental part is the perfect, wet-your-whistle, opening to get the crowd pumped and then when the vocals start I can imagine a monster Texas-style circle pit.


“And How They Wept for Eternity” has such a cool opening and the vicious blast beats are a bit disjointed with how they stop and then start again.  They are abrupt, but I dig the style. The 1-minute isolated guitar riff is welcomed by a nice growl as the slower groovier pounding rhythm section erupts and gutturals are thrown all over the place with some of the tough guy vocals.  The main riff kicks ass as well as the blast beats. It’s the equivalent of taking your face and mashing it with a potato masher.  Before you know it you have the best-mashed face in the neighborhood and win a gold star so you can be enrolled in the sticker of the month club.  Right after I had heard this song, I ensured I had the digital download once available.

“Jealous Messiah” has a great opening with a guitar squealing, groove and blast beats galore.  Some well-placed growls when the song gets into a groove section make this an intense track.  The slow down then right into the blast beats are excellent.  I love crazy tempo shifts like this and then more melodic guitar soloing.  It’s an interesting combination to have these melodic shifts alongside the heavy brutality.  Some of the melodic soloing, over the blast beats, are certainly interesting.  It’s not something that is overly done in brutal death metal.  To that I say job well done and the band is a cross between brutal and traditional American death metal with some definite nods to the 90’s era American death metal scene.

The Nine Choirs from Tribal Gaze is a damn fine debut death metal album.  It has enough brutality to satiate the brutal death metal fan and enough melody and memorable riffing to bring in more traditional death metal fans.  The production of the guitars and drums are pretty loud, the snare is pummeling at times, on those fast parts.  The guitar tone is what does it for me, it’s thick and dense, but discernible.  This is important in the mix.  It’s not so distorted that it sounds like noise pollution, but rather the riffs are fleshed out and are played with much deliberation on the slower and groovier moments. And check out the weird ass disturbing cover art – it’s pretty neat.  If you like the style of early Suffocation, Gorgasm, Devourment this will be right up your brutal alley.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
December 13th, 2022


  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    TX death metal. These guys, Stabbing, I AM… All great albums released this year.

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