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Old 11-08-2004, 09:58 AM   #1
Det_Nosnip
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(progressive/alternative rock/metal) Dead Soul Tribe - A Murder of Crows



Dead Soul Tribe - A Murder of Crows

1. Feed Part I: Stone by stone
2. Part II:The awakening
3. The Messenger
4. In a Garden Made of Stones
5. Some Things You Can't Return
6. Angels in Vertigo
7. Regret
8. Crows on the Wire
9. I╢m Not Waving
10. Flies
11. Black Smoke and Mirrors sample
12. Time (Bonus Track)

The Band:

Devon Graves - Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Flute, Bass, Keyboards & Percussion
Adel Moustafa - Drums


As you can see, I was kind of having trouble picking a genre for the group, as they're somewhat difficult to place. Think...Tool meets Jethro Tull. Dead Soul Tribe is basically the brainchild of Multi-instrumentalist Devon Graves, formerly of the group "Psychotic Waltz." For the album writing, Devon basically did EVERYTHING except for the drums, which were handled by Adel Moustafa, who Devon picked up for his first self titled album at the age of 19. The guy seems to be somewhat of a natural prodigy...when Graves picked him up for 2002's self-titled release, he hadn't been playing for more than a year!

The first things that stick out are the drums and vocals. The drummer has a rather odd style on some of the songs, and some of the most unique tones I've ever heard. Lead singer, Devon Graves, is absolutely awesome; I actually found out about DST after hearing Devon on the new Ayreon album, "The Human Equation." (Notice a pattern here with my CD Reviews? ) He has an impressive range...sounds like a tenor, but his low end tone is incredibly strong...high bari, maybe? Anyways, he takes advantage of his impressive vocal control and dynamics all throughout the album, although a vocal highlight would probably be "Garden Made of Stone." When he gets really down there in his almost hushed, whispered voice, he sounds ****ing awesome. "Some Things You Can't Return" explores this vocal dynamic idea a bit as well. Basically, what Devon is doing IMO is what millions of modern rock/metal vocalists try and fail to do. He almost reminds me of Maynard James Keenan at times, not in terms of tone or anything, but how he uses his voice
His most obvious influence is Tull's Ian Anderson - on some tracks, he sounds almost exactly like Anderson! He even plays the flute on a few tracks, in classic Tull fashion. But don't think he's by any means an Anderson rip-off; he has an incredibly unique voice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by From DST's home page
Devon Grave's lyrics always capture something poetic in nature. If it's true that crows are carrying the souls of dead people into the beyond, states Devon, then what happens with the souls of those people with whom the crows didn't manage to get there? An interesting question and his inspiration for Dead Soul Tribe's latest album's title A Murder Of Crows. Graves is the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music is both philosophical and challenging. Everything I write has a message, an approach to poetry, he says. It's the major function of poetry not to provide answers, but to raise questions - to be thought provoking and to create space for individual interpretations.
1. Feed Part I: Stone by Stone

The album's ferocious 6/8 opener is a good introduction to one aspect of the band's sound. The riffs are heavy but exotic, kinda remniscent of Tool. Graves really showcases his impressive control of dynamics on this album, as well as his impressive range. My only gripe is that the drum fills are a bit repetitive...based on what he does with the rest of the album, I've recognized that this was done intentionally to create a particular feel, but I think it'd sound better if he would place fills in different places and vary up the approach. Still a good song, though.

2. Feed Part II: The Awakening

The acoustic guitar intro/composition interlude and beginning of this song are TOTALLY Tull. Graves really pays homage to his roots on this track. This represents a completely different facet of DST's sound...the first time I heard it, I was really surprised. After some soulful guitar leads, the song ends with another killer riff remniscent of the first song to finish off the piece.

3. Messenger

The first time I heard this song, I thought it sounded too much like track 1, but it's since grown on me and I've noticed it's a pretty different tune. It is a somewhat similar rhythmic approach, but different melodic and structural approach. Choruses are great...the song almost has an early 90's grunge feel to it, but with DST's characteristicly odd tones and production.

4. In a Garden Made of Stone

This is one of my favorite songs on the album. Apparently, there's a lyrical connection between the "Feed" series and this song...I have't examined them thoroughly enough to make the connection, but I could see it working. Parts of the song are in 7/4 time, but it's phrased in a pretty deceptive way so that one might not always realize this the first time listening. Still, Graves' low tones on the verses are ****ing incredible...SUCH a badass singer. It starts out in a chaotic 7/4 figure with busy drums, which rather unexpectedly (in a good way) transitions into the verse feel. Although in 4/4, alot of the accents fall in odd places, which, coming off of the odd meter section before it, can be a bit disorientating. The chorus returns to 7/4, but is pretty syncopated (I had to concentrate a bit harder to figure out the meter on that one), as Devon sings the title line over all of the chaos. About 4:00 into the song, there's a mini solo, followed by a new, harder breakdown section with some double bass blasts. After this, the song drops unexpectedly BACK into the verse, repeats the chorus, and finds a way of ending. Alot of twists and turns in the song and unexpected changes, and great playing on all counts.

5. Some Things You Cannot Change

This moody, brooding number is driven by a pounding bass line. Like the former track, Graves takes advantage of his ridiculous vocal control and dynamics. The beginning is very interesting, as the drums and guitar, locked tight, play simultaneous syncopated patterns over the ostinato bass line, the drummer following the clean melodic guitar line with his toms. The chorus is louder and crunchier, incorporating a few melodic themes from the verses in a slightly different emotional feel. The song returns to the same bass/guitar verse theme, however the drums play a more straight rhythm, keeping the song fresh.

6. Angels in Vertigo As can be guessed by the title, this is a very strange track. Heavier than most of the other tracks, it packs alot of punch, but still finds time to fit in some tender low dynamic moments as well. I love the verse feel, which builds into a kind of menacing, bitter sounding chorus. The chorus cuts off abruptly the first time, returning quickly to the verse feel as the band explores their multiple personalities, but then it is allowed to really build and grow, leading into a short interlude. The song has about 2 or 3 "theme" sections, which steadily change each time they go through each one. The ending repeats a rather cryptic, odd set of lines over a heavy backdrop.

7. Regret

This is a very unique track. It's mostly driven by a very pretty, progressive piano line that harmonizes well with the electric guitars. Halfway through the song, the piano begins to change, playing around within the key a bit and incorporating a bit of extra instruments for harmony, until finally everything but the piano cuts off for a few seconds before going back into the chorus theme. Finally, the song cuts off and finishes with a sad piano line, followed by a voice recording saying something like "I think it's time we see a psychiatrist."

Last edited by Det_Nosnip; 01-16-2005 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:05 PM   #2
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8. Crows on the Wire

This starts out with some guitar wailing over a low bass line and some random voice overs as the drums kick in. *very* strange intro, almost reminds me of Zaum (kudos to anyone who knows what I'm talking about). Finally, the song kicks into a driving, heavy 3/4 feel. It seems like the song is going to be a bit predictable, until...
the quiet break in the middle of the song. It sounds like a typical "get quiet for a bit and then go back to the hard part" type of idea, but then right when you'd think it would return, they suddenly bust out the acoustic guitar for a kind of Jethro Tull vibe, sans wind instruments this time. This then transitions into a new, progressive section, which finally gets back to the original theme. The ending is strange again, with a kind of...I dunno...odd guitar wailing.

9. I'm Not Waving

More of the jammy, chaotic type of sound like on the first couple of tracks. Although not bad on its own, IMO they overdid that sound a bit on this track, so that by the time you get this far, it sounds kinda old.

10. Flies

This starts out heavier than any other song on the CD, a definite change. The verses are a soft, hypnotizing acoustic 5/4. It builds slowly, with some cool harmonizing and an interesting bass line that comes in....almost sounds like a kind of Ryan Martini (Mudvayne) type of approach, but within a completely different context, obviously. Cool track.

11. Black Smoke and Mirrors

This song is alot like Feed Part 2, with acoustic guitars, a piano, and flutes, a nice contrast to the last track. Very exotic sounding and cool. This is a very dynamic track, with lots of changes and lots of different stuff going on...very progressive and sweet. There's a flute solo halfway through, which is a total tribute to Ian Anderson, including the little "yeahs" inbetween the rests. You could treat this as ripping Tull off I suppose, but I see it more as a tribute, as they don't really try to hide where the inspiration came from.

12. Time

The final track begins as a kind of upbeat acoustic song, sounding not particularly like anything else on the CD, which is cool! This just proves that this band is full of surprises. The chorus is very emotional, introducing a piano accompanyment....awesome way of topping off a fantastic album.

Last edited by Det_Nosnip; 01-16-2005 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:43 PM   #3
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Your reviews always seem to sail off the front page with no replies

I wish I listened to some of it, so I could make better comments.
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Old 11-12-2004, 08:52 PM   #4
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This sounds so insanely awesome. I want. Now. Anything with progressive alternative and metal in the genre description automatically gets me jumping.
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Old 11-12-2004, 11:06 PM   #5
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I've heard good things about these guys so i'll be checking them out.
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Old 11-13-2004, 01:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartender
Your reviews always seem to sail off the front page with no replies

I wish I listened to some of it, so I could make better comments.
Heh, too true. I always try and review things that tend to fall off the radar a bit, and unfortunately people seem to drift more towards things that they're familiar with. Nonetheless, I'll finish this **** review one of these days...!
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Old 11-13-2004, 06:40 AM   #7
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I've been meaning to check these guys out because they're on all the InsideOut flyers I get. They seem a bit like Pain Of Salvation, who I love, and Devon Graves seems like a pretty interesting chap.

Which do you recommend I get first, this or their new album? The January Tree has got some good reviews recently.
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Old 11-13-2004, 09:02 PM   #8
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I haven't heard the January Tree (been meaning to pick that one up!), but I'd definetly recommend this album.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:09 PM   #9
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I've now heard all the albums and love them. Finish your review.
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Old 01-01-2005, 09:13 PM   #10
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Devon Graves (Buddy Lackey) is one of my favourite musicians.

Imo though Dead Soul Tribe sounds wayyy too much like Tool. He even said that Tool he loves Tool.

Not a second coming of Psychotic Waltz...excellent album though.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distorted Vision
I've been meaning to check these guys out because they're on all the InsideOut flyers I get. They seem a bit like Pain Of Salvation, who I love, and Devon Graves seems like a pretty interesting chap.

Which do you recommend I get first, this or their new album? The January Tree has got some good reviews recently.
you should buy their first one!
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Fingers
I've now heard all the albums and love them. Finish your review.
I'm really glad!! They definetly are a great band, and that's awesome that you went ahead and checked 'em out. Don't worry, I finally finished the review. Thank God I had snagged that post #2 spot by bumping the thread after....no one replied the first time around, because my new extended review was 2 posts long. So there....MONTHS later, I finally got around to finishing the **** review.
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideTheSpiral
Devon Graves (Buddy Lackey) is one of my favourite musicians.

Imo though Dead Soul Tribe sounds wayyy too much like Tool. He even said that Tool he loves Tool.

Not a second coming of Psychotic Waltz...excellent album though.
That's a fair criticism...they definetly have a heavy Tool vibe in some areas, and it's clearly an influence. At the same time, they're also a very *different* band...whereas alot of Tool songs sound like extended percussive compositions, DST is more guitar driven but with busy drums and more loose song structures. Both bands definetly rock, though.
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:58 PM   #14
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So what rating do you give it, Det?
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Old 01-16-2005, 04:11 PM   #15
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gg Det
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Old 01-16-2005, 05:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distorted Vision
So what rating do you give it, Det?
Meh....I don't know, I don't really like to assign ratings to songs or albums. If I had to, maybe a 3 or a 4....very good; a few tracks do drag a bit, but most of it is quality material. Best part is Devin's vocals IMO, the guy's fantastic.
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