|Deadsoul Tribe - The January Tree
01. Spiders And Flies
03. The Love Of Hate
05. The Coldest Days Of Winter
06. Wings Of Faith
07. Toy Rockets
08. Waiting For The Answer
09. Just Like A Timepiece
10. Lady Of Rain
Devon Graves is back again with his progressive metal outfit Deadsoul Tribe. The former vocalist of Psychotic Waltz, back then going under the name of Buddy Lackey, brings out the third album, "The January Tree", and proving that with time he gets only better and better… like a wine.
Low bass… with drums joining a moment later and heavy and angry guitars coming in another moment later. So starts the first track of the album "Spiders and Flies", a very worthy beginning. Listening to it you can quite easily get the impression what is Deadsoul Tribe and what music it makes. If I mention word prog, most of the people will think of virtuoso sound of Dream Theater, other's out of personal classification will think of Opeth… and quite many people will simply say "not again this overplayed genre".
Well, I say "Yes!" - most of those people will be wrong and hopefully in for a surprise. Psychotic Waltz was one of the strongest prog bands in the underground and Devon Graves has gained much out of that time. It's interesting to mark down that the title of the album "The January Tree" is probably the best image to describe the sound of Deadsoul Tribe. Dread, loneliness, hopelessness and harsh world - emotions that associate with these words are all present in the sound. The heavily distorted guitars combine sounds from thrash to industrial blending together with a significant role of drums... Oh, and then there are acoustic guitars too, something that can bring a beautiful emotional touch to the music which is polished by Devon's vocals.
The drums that were played by Adel Moustafa, all other instruments by Devon Graves himself. And naturally Devon sings too. He has a very versatile voice. Low, high, quiet, loud, clean and harsh - he manages all. And that's impressive. Especially since emotions that he sings with follow the mood of the music and lyrics.
Back when I listened to "A Murder Of Crows" album I was thinking about Devon's symbolic lyrics never quite understanding them fully. This time on "The January Tree" they are more understandable, yet there's enough to think about. What impressed me was that while the music is angry and harsh, the words carry Devon's condemn for lies, hate, war and unstable state of today's world. The underlying message, printed at the end of the booklet is simple - "Peace, Love".
This album's been spinning for half a month in my CD-player. And still I enjoy every moment of it. I wonder if I could pick out any favorite tracks. As I noted "Spiders and Flies" was a significant kickoff. But the first different and enjoyable moment is brought by "Why?" which starts with a clean high guitar - I just love the sound. "The Coldest Days of Winter" can be considered a title track, mood-wise as well as lyrics-wise. But the most impressive track comes next - "Wings of Faith". My first thought was that this sounds hell of like Rammstein, especially guitars and feeling of the song. But f you think that surprises will be over you're wrong. Next step brings in Jethro Tull style flutes. by Devon himself.
It's also important to note that "Just like a Timepiece" was once featured on Devon's solo album "The Strange Mind of Buddy Lackey" released at the time of Psychotic Waltz in 1993. It is a more quiet song, suitable to be at the end of the album. The closing track is another quiet song "Lady of Rain" where at first Devon accompanies himself on a piano. A very emotional piece to end the album. I'm at loss but if I'm to pick some of the tracks I'd go for "Why?", "Wings of Faith" and "Lady of Rain".
What to say in conclusion? I guess that I'm impressed. And not because I'm generally a sucker for prog, not even because Devon has appeared on latest Ayreon album… Probably it's the consistency between music, lyrics and vocals, also the variety. Normally I don't go around listening to one album all the time for weeks, only on rare occasions. This album seems to be one of those occasions for me. It's not an ideal album but it's good - very good. A 9 is a good rating for it. I consider it to be one of the top releases this year.
Written on 25.09.2004 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.