Deadsoul Tribe - The January Tree
InsideOut Music
Dark Progressive Metal
10 songs (50'45)
Release year: 2004
Deadsoul Tribe, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Marty
The cold dark landscape and barren trees on the album cover really sets the mood for the new album (their third) by Dead Soul Tribe. The January Tree is a perfect album to listen to at this time of year as we transform from a rather mild autumn into the inevitable cold and wet pre-winter weather that comes at this time of year. My first exposure to this band was last year's Murder Of Crows album and even a year later, it still finds its way into my CD player once in a while. Combining doom-laden heavy riffs with dreamy hypnotic passages and mixing in lots of classic progressive and psychedelic rock influences, this band's music is a virtual cornucopia of sounds. Vocalist Devon Graves has a very versatile voice in that he can sing in a quiet and very melancholy manner one minute and the next be screaming along with the riff based dark progressive metal that this band has become known for. The riffs are still aplenty on this new album but overall a little more reflective and progressive than Murder Of Crows all the while still capturing an ominous mood with every song they write.

Spiders And Flies opens the album with a great hypnotic and heavy doom-laden Black Sabbath style riff but with more a mid-range tone, reminding me of the classic South Of Heaven Slayer style. Very abstract riffing combined with some quiet acoustic passages give the song a feel of both recklessness and serenity at the same time. A great groove song, this one defines just what this band is all about. Sirens continues with harmonized "choppy" riff patterns and again has the same Sabbath style repetitive and hypnotic riffs. There's a great mix of Marillion style progressive rock and heavy metal with the doomy riffs but the whole track has more of a psychedelic feel. Powerful sociological messages can be found with the lyrics to many of their songs and is evident with the track, The Love Of Hate. Building into a grungy heavy riff-based track with Alice In Chains style harmonies for the chorus, it looks at the endless cycle of hate breeding more hate; something we see with current events in the world today. The grungy heavy sound again appears on the track Waiting For The Answer. With it's pounding heavy and almost tribal rhythmic structure, it uses bongos and congas along with conventional drums to drive the riffs and the result is a very cool and interesting sound. Doomy and atmospheric, the track Why has lyrics that are an emotional plea for answers as to why society keeps insisting on violence and war to solve conflicts. Emotionally charged, this one sees Devon singing with great passion and strength. An eerie Queensryche style permeates through the track The Coldest Days Of Winter with it's abstract riffing style and slower atmospheric and heavy sections, it has a great catchy melodic chorus that sounds a lot like the Jeff Pilson/Don Dokken style harmonies heard in the classic Dokken line-up. Jethro Tull influences are heard on Toy Rockets and Just Like A Time Piece, not only because of the stuttering flute lines but with the heavy repetitive riffs and overall song arrangements. Toy Rockets is a reflective an emotion-packed song that urges mankind to make peace with his rivals. Just Like A Time Piece has a more psychedelic vibe with weird vocal effects and the overall song arrangement has the feel of Aqualung, the classic Tull track from 1971.

Not quite as good as Murder Of Crows, Dead Soul Tribe nonetheless has presented us with another fine album. The whole album has a much heavier vibe for the first half but slowly changes and mellows a bit for the second half; showing a more reflective side to the band with lots of influences from classic progressive rock. It's very rare that a band like this comes out that encompasses so many different styles and pulls it off with such conviction. Right from the opening riffs of the first track, the atmosphere is set for the rest of the album. Pounding heavy one moment and dreamy and reflective the next, this band has all the elements that I like in metal and progressive rock. If you've never heard them, now is the time. If you have, you know what I mean when I say that listening to them is an "experience". Certainly not music for a warm sunny day, The January Tree is the perfect soundtrack to the cold snowy, rainy days that are just around the corner.

Killing Songs :
Spiders And Flies, Why, Coldest Days Of Winter and Just Like A Time Piece
Marty quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Deadsoul Tribe that we have reviewed:
Deadsoul Tribe - Deadsoul Tribe reviewed by Boris and quoted 85 / 100
Deadsoul Tribe - A Lullaby For The Devil reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
Deadsoul Tribe - The Dead Word reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Deadsoul Tribe - A Murder Of Crows reviewed by Marty and quoted 92 / 100
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