Elder Lore/The Dark Arts

I really kind of wanted to like the debut from Vancouver’s Tribune a whole lot more. They seem like a fun loving group of guys that don’t take themselves too seriously, and the music contained on Elder Lore/Dark Arts is an eclectic mix of thrash, heavy metal, metalcore and melodic death metal. That is also the band’s ultimate downfall.

I get a bit of a Protest the Hero -vibe from the music, but a more simplified, less shreddy and busy version. For the most part it’s an enjoyable, fun variety of metal but it has a huge identity crisis. While I give credit to the band for being a little bit creative and different, I have to ding them also, as the music on the album is a little bit too much all over the place — it never really settles enough into one genre for any fan base to really get a grasp.

At its base level, Elder Lore/The Dark Arts is a riff-driven, groovy thrash album with a bit of a melodic death metal/metalcore appeal. The guitars are sharp and bouncy and there’s a good amount of grooves and solos. But the discrepancy between songs and often, within songs, won’t let you really sink your teeth into the music. The vocals of Bryan Baker are mix of standard metalcore screams, death metal growls and a sort of bluesy clean croon that reminded me of Stompbox‘s Erich Thaler, mixed with Protest the Hero‘s Roddy Piper. The vocals aren’t bad and the clean croons are acceptable, but like the music, the styles are just all over the place, resulting in a little too much going on. Perfect examples are the almost 6-minute opener “It Came From the Swamps” , “Chemistry Arrives”  and “Below” that’s literally all over the musical map. I mean, heck they could not even decide on the title of the album.

Occasionally though, Tribune do deliver some fun little ditty’s such as the 3 Inches of Blood -ish romp “The Warrior Mentality” and  “The Succubus” with the above video show, as these track are slightly less wandering and go for a more direct thrash or melo death approach — though still a bit eclectic. I actually think there is a solid, bluesy hard  rock band under the surface here (“Man on the Outside” and overly ambitious but promising 9-minute closer “The World’s Greatest Cynic”) , but the band is trying to force a few too many extreme metal elements in here. I can’t tell if the variety is sly and concerted songwriting, or a little more of a schizophrenic, young growing stages of the band — though, I’m inclined to lean towards the latter.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 20th, 2012


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