Review Summary: Twelve Tribes are an excellent band for those just getting into the hardcore genre. They take a very controlled version of the genre and mix in terrific melodies to appease both the softer and harder side of the listener.
Twelve Tribes are a hardcore outfit formed in 1998 right out of Dayton, Ohio. Their debut album ‘As Feathers to Flowers and Petals to Wings’ and follow-up ‘Instruments’ introduced the band as a uninspiring Metalcore group riding off the success of similar acts Killswitch Engage
and Eighteen Visions
. It wasn’t until being signed to the wider known indie label Ferret that the band was able to discover an identity; blending the ferocious moments of earlier Killswitch and the rapid hardcore acts of Machine Head
The album kicks off with the safe National Amnesia
, and I stress safe because it does nothing to establish the cd as something to pay attention to. Weak riffs lead a carefully weaved spastic drum routine and an unusual subpar performance by front man Adam Jackson. It isn’t until the second track, Muzzle Order
that things actually get interesting. With an intriguing introduction bent on literally muzzling the instruments for heaviness sakes, the song erupts in to throat ripping hardcore affair.
The first half of the album seems content with establishing the band as a heavy yet catchy alternative to say Verse
or The Hope Conspiracy
. Songs like Pagan Self Portrait
and History Versus the Pavement
are intent on blistering the ear with thunderous intros followed by a hook that stretches the guitars lines and slows the pace up allowing room to breathe for the listener. Drummer, Shane Shook, does an excellent job of splicing the sometimes mundane time signatures whether they're 4/4 or 7/8 making the ordinary seem fresh and often unexpected.
It also seems intentional the album were split up in two with Monarch of Dreams
a two-minute interlude. It serves as a great example of whats to come on the latter half of the disc. With an ominous intro the band switch the playbook up and begin building tension before exploding into bombastic breakdowns or jizz worthy jam sessions; best noted on The Nine Year Tide
. Bassist Jeremiah Stikeleather, struts his stuff for the first 30 seconds or so with an off kilter riff that sends the instruments bouncing between dissonance and melody. This is where the band shines brightest stretching that fine line between heavy and soft they find a balance that is exerted terrifically thanks to how strong Adam Jackson’s voice is. Album closer [i]The Recovery (In Three Parts In Three Parts - I. God Bless You, Good Thief, II. Towers & Vectors, III. Bridge To the Sun), is a beautiful way to send off the albums often dual persona; a minute and a half worth of a piano lead instrumental cascades into the albums roughest interlude before journeying through the 8:51 prog endeavor.