Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 8/30/2004
The January Tree
posted on 8/2004 By:
Hot on the heels of their critically acclaimed 2003 release A Murder of Crows, Progressive Rockers Dead Soul Tribe have returned in a timely and efficient fashion with their latest offering The January Tree. Clearly not ones to rest on their laurels, Devon Graves and company clearly saw no need in waiting around and letting fresh material go to waste. Luckily for fans of this band and their brand of forward-thinking art rock, this release is a fitting follow up to A Murder of Crows, and will undoubtedly make for a few back to back listening sessions.
For those unfamiliar with Dead Soul Tribe, imagine a slightly less meandering version of Tool or A Perfect Circle, with a heavy emphasis on the singing/songwriting talents of frontman Devon Graves. The brilliant percussion of Adel Moustafa is featured as well. Those looking for a grinding slab of aggression or a maelstrom of guitar heroics are out of luck here. For, even though this band does occasionally lay the metal hammer down, their approach is far more subtle and calculated. “Why?” serenely builds up to an emotional crescendo. As the song builds, there is a slight indication that not is well underneath the benign façade, but it is not truly unleashed until the climax. This track is a wonderful exhibition of the fact that Dead Soul Tribe are more than just an assemblage of gifted musicians; they are in fact a remarkably cohesive unit. “Toy Rockets” is another standout track, which features Grave’s tasteful use of the flute, and is carried by a mesmerizing tribal drum beat.
Dead Soul Tribe are also keenly aware of their strong suits, and are not afraid to play to them. Each player is exceptionally gifted and is given a proper amount of room in the album's pristine mix. As a result, each song on this album sounds complete, or at least completely representative of the band’s artistic vision. The question here is; does the band’s vision suit you? As I mentioned before, this is not an album that will grab you by the throat and shake violently. In fact, there were many moments when listening to this album that I found myself getting lost in the compositions and needing to listen to certain tracks numerous times just to retain any sense of what was going on. Many of the songs blend seamlessly into each other and as a result may warrant extra concentration, lest the listener get caught up in this album's almost dreamlike atmosphere.
As a fan, I'm happy with this release, and rank it slightly below A Murder of Crows, mainly due to the fact that the moments of pure magic seem to come fewer and farther between. Those looking for another amazing combo like that of “I’m Not Waving” and “Regret” may find themselves slightly disappointed. Aside from that, I have very little to complain about. The production is near perfect and the songs have a consistent feel that will serve as great background for an afternoon drive or an all night study session. Those looking to cleanse their pallet from the constant barrage of extreme music, but still want to try something that is still relatively metal in execution should check out The January Tree.
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