American hardcore/metal merchants Twelve Tribes have been kicking around for a few years now, but they’re not exactly a household name, either at home or here in the UK. On the face of it, all the constituent elements for quality are in place – cool band name, excellent CD artwork, thoughtful lyrics and a host of musical influences, which, according to the press release, are as wide as Public Enemy, Faith No More, Converge and Metallica.
Alas, the reality is somewhat different. Rebirth Of Tragedy is supposedly Twelve Tribes’ response to an ever-increasing homogeneity amongst metal-core bands, and yet, for all the band’s protestations, it does little to commend itself beyond the pile of “solid but unspectacular” albums produced by that particular musical scene in the past few years.
Opener Post Replica sums up Twelve Tribes “problem”, if you will. There’s a sloping, angular riff, the rhythms fracture and change cleverly and Adam Jackson’s vocals are typically hardcore of the semi-vomit variety. It’s perfectly serviceable but nothing more, and if the semi-rap towards the end is supposed to be where the Public Enemy and Faith No More influences show themselves, then they need to spin Bring The Noise and Epic again. After having had their ears syringed.
The majority of the remainder of the album is similar fare. Solid? Yes. Unspectacular? Yes. Dislikeable? No. Exciting? Not even with your clothes off. Occasionally things pick up a little. Venus Complex is actually damn good, with a cascading guitar intro; brutal drumming and thrashing; melodic vocals mixed with epiglottis-ruining screams; and a curiously uplifting chorus that presumably most realistic people can relate to: “If I could have it all, it wouldn’t be enough.”
So, there is life within these here bones. Maybe next time Twelve Tribes should not set themselves such lofty ambitions, or at the very least, not make such a big deal out of telling everyone that they’re here to reinvent a musical genre. Rebirth Of Tragedy is certainly “hard” but there’s simply not enough to make you go, “Cor!”