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DeadSoul Tribe - A Murder Of Crows CD (album) cover

A MURDER OF CROWS

DeadSoul Tribe

Experimental/Post Metal


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5 stars Completley new sound, but still a Dead Soul Tribe album, dark, poetic lyrics and powerfull yet soothing musical arrangements; great use of the flute by Devon GRAVES and the drums by Adel MOUSTAFA shows a big evolution between this album and the first (and great) DEAD SOUL TRIBE, definitley new sound, full of emotions, tension builds and is released on key moments of the record. Not for the faint of heart.
Report this review (#31970)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Three and a half star. "A Murder Of Crows" is the second recording by Dead Soul Tribe, a band formed by charismatic vocalist Devon Graves, previously known as Buddy Lackey. Devon was the vocalist of a legend band Psychotic Waltz so the expectations for his new group were very big. The self titled debut of Dead Soul Tribe was released in 2002 and, to be honest, didn't fully meet my expectations. Well off course the songs had the same dark mood that Psychotic Waltz compositions, but overall they weren't as complex and adventurous.

But how about Dead Soul Tribe second recording? The dark mood remained and, what's even more important, the compositions became more interesting. "A Murder Of Crows" is a semi-concept album that deals with isolation and individualism in the society. The lyrics are poetic and often somewhat surreal. The songs are at times hard edged, and sometimes calm and atmospheric. Sometimes simple, sometimes very progressive. Still, always they remain very disturbing.

The music by Dead Soul Tribe isn't for the faint hearted but if you enjoy the darker side of progressive rock music, it will definitely appeal to you. Recommended, but still this isn't on the quality level that Psychotic Waltz had accustomed us to.

Report this review (#31972)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars DEAD SOUL TRIBE is a band that is a perfect example of what progressive metal is. Bands featuring hard rocking guitar and vocals that administer that final blow, the awesome crunch into the music, are leading the way in the new millennium for this type of music. Strong recording artists such as this will tow the line for years to come. I expect these men to do just that as their careers advance with each recording. Much like their last album, this outing had no trouble impressing me.

The subject matter is a bit out there on this album . something about crows carrying the souls of people after they die . well their name is DEAD SOUL TRIBE. None of this really mattered to me though because the music is what got my attention not the words to the songs. I realize both factors are important and my position is not intended to offend anyone or to downplay the importance of the lyrical content of this project. I realize that in regards to any sort of concept or theme, which is prevalent in this genre, that there is a two-fold impact upon the listener. In most cases I am affected in this way, in this particular instance the music took total precedence for me. DST is one dominant unit. I felt super charged listening to them. The only thing I can say is that I recommend this CD, get it and find out what it all means for you.

Report this review (#31974)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My introduction to Dead Soul Tribe was through an InsideOut brochure. I had been familiar with Psychotic Waltz, and was in love with it; so it aided me to get to know Dead Soul Tribe. Without further ado, I bring to you;

Lyrically, vocally, and for those I can't return;

Definately, Dead Soul Tribe carries a little piece from Psychotic Waltz; it is the similarity of the lyrical style. Though Devon Graves may have differentiated Buddy Lackey from his older self, both styles carry honesty, simplicity, extraordinary ways with words, and most of all, an unrestricted vocabulary; something that is missing in many others. Mostly, the more you listen to the words, you get captivated by the expressions, and find yourself stuck on a sentence or two from each song. Emotion captivates most of the songs of this album, and the lyrics appear to be morbid in any case. The songs all carry different meanings, and even when you grasp them, what you get is an amazement that advances further.

Devon Graves, as all things are with DST, doesn't carry much resemblence to his voice, the voice of Buddy Lackey. There is a similarity between them, without a doubt, but the similarity is minimal. He has a beautiful vocal performance across the album, soft like the wind, sharp like a knife, sad as a weeping willow, steady as a lawyer.

Musically, and for the crows on the wire;

Musically, I cannot compare Dead Soul Tribe to its ancestor, Psychotic Waltz. Though a similarity is there, its entirely different. Psychotic Waltz always carried a rather eerie, sharp and thin tune, whereas DST is quite "plushy"; large, and empty mostly, silent, but loud, smooth yet with a disturbed, blistering surface. There is a definite void forming in you when you listen to the drumming between prolonged chords or melodies.

Adel Moustapha has an extravagant performance on the drums, quite an extraordinary performance indeed. A bit similar to Mike Portnoy's is his style, keeping a steady rhythm while adding fast-paced attacks in between. The drums are the most dynamic element of DST's music.

The bass and the electric guitar follows a similar pattern that makes it sound more sophisticated than it actually may be, but they follow a steady harmony which makes it very much enjoyable. But the music is quite moving as well; mellow and slow, then harsh and fast, it carries the dynamic of "progressive", but not as heavily as other bands.

To sum up, if you're a progressive fan, this album is a must-have. If you just like metal music, give it a try, you won't be disappointed. If you're only a fan of music itself, give this a try and you'll be satisfied. In any case, its a great album, that all must have. But, if you're a hardcore Psychotic Waltz fan, don't expect a Psychotic Waltz-II.

Report this review (#43321)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
peter.johnsso
3 stars Well, a bit of hype and pedigree and a quick listen to the MP3 "Why" off this site and I thought I'd pick this one up. I feel a bit of balance in the reviews is justified for this one. A rating of 3 is generally appropriate. Good, but non-essential. Vocally and dynamically this is Tool and A Perfect Circle all over with a bit of an alternative rock influence. It's where these influences are less obvious that I start to hear something more interesting. The drums are busy, intentionally apparently, but sometimes to the detriment of the feel of the song. It seems a bit one-dimensional in the guitar department for me (the second guitar seems to be there for the live situation and doesn't provide a different 'flavour' to the songs). The guitar riffs are occasionally memorable, but many repeat and meander, somewhat reminiscent of Fates Warning's later work (I don't really rate Jim Matheos as a 'rifftastic' writer) and like FW I find myself liking the quieter atmospheric stuff on this more. I really like the "Why?" song from the next album, so I may pick that one up somewhere in the future, but not straight away. That's not to say that this album isn't worth a listen, I've removed 4 out of the 12 songs from my iPod after only a few days, but will be enjoying the remainder for some time.
Report this review (#63935)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After their decent debut album, this American/Austrian cooperation releases their second disc with 'A Murder of Crows'. Buddy Lackey, revealed his true identity and started Dead Soul Tribe after his previous band Psychotic Waltz stopped existence. The reborn Devon Graves - renown for his hard work - went on with the same musical style but took on a more dark approach to the genre.

While their self titled debut was a decent work of dark brooding metal, their second effort was an example of how good metal, atmosphere, poetry and song structures can be mixed. Combining all these disciplines without losing sight of the big picture is a feat worth mentioning and is not something a lot of people can do. The best thing about this recording however is the sheer genius of how well the flute has been combined with all these elements.

I saw this band live last year and though they had to put up with a laughable stage size, they really stole the show. Especially the songs from 'A Murder of Crows' made up for a lot of appreciation from the crowd who were obviously not really familiar with their material.

Graves is an enigmatic personality who deserves to be recognised for his part in progressive metal history.

Report this review (#81546)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dead Soul Tribe, A Murder of Crows. This is my introduction album to Dead Soul Tribe, and I must say I'm not disappointed. Though I had fairly low expections, but still. The album has very tense and creepy feeling at times, and the singing of Devon amazed me. The songs link together very well and the same feeling from the first track doesn't vanish, it flows through the album. I fell in love with the drummer, Adel Moustafa. He does great job drumming the songs. Very good and well produced album. Very easy to listen.

The albums is divided into chapters. The first chapter is 'Feed', with parts 'Stone by Stone' and 'The Awakening'. Evil is coming alive in this chapter. 'Stone by Stone' starts with decent riff and the progressive singing of Devon to the "chorus" is great. The voice is very soft and mellow, and then it is bit louder and powerful, and finally it is almost screaming. 'The Awakening' has little bit of flute at the beginning. The track is god example of one kind of progressive track. Though it is short track, the beginning, middle parts and the end are all different. The female voice is beautiful and fits the part very well. Very good start. Next chapters include just one song. The next song is 'The Messenger'. A bit lame, but not bad. Very catchy but not great song. I don't hate the "so American" part in the end: "You are one twisted f***", but I don't fancy it too much. Not bad, but not good. Moving to 'In a Garden Made of Stones', which is perhaps my favourite track of the album. Good metal riffing at the beginning and nice calm voice by Devon. Very emotial track. All is good, not great, but good. Nothing more to say. The next song is "Some Things you can't Return". I like the song, the structure, Devons voice (again) and the music. The screaming in the chorus is nice. Fine track. 'Angels in Vertigo' is very good track, one of my favourites. The riff is good, the verse is good, the tense feel, and Devon's singing is good, all is good. I love the S in the chorus. When Devon sings: "You feel, you taste", I like.'Regret' shows good piano playing by Devon. Very good and cathcy song, the structure is cool. Not very progressive, but intresting. The next two songs 'Crows on the Wire' and 'I'm not Waving' are fine tracks. 'Crows on the Wire' I like better, bit heavier. 'I'm not Waving' is good. 'Flies' I like the least. Bit boring musically and structurally. Not very good track. The last song in the album is 'Black Smoke and Mirrors' shows great flute playing by Devon. Flute is a metal instrument, said someone. Now I believe. Very good track. The bonus track sounded a bit of latino pop at the beginning, but fortunately corrects that. Not the same kind of song, than the others, that is why I usually listen to it separately from the other tracks.

The album is a fine totality. Not always very progressive, but at times it is good progressive metal album. I obviously loved Devon Graves, his singing, the voice, his instrument playing. And Adel Moustafa as well. Great tribal drumming by the guy. I liked the feeling of the album. All in all, this is very good album. Still, it is not essential: a masterpiece of progressive music. But after careful thinking, I will say it is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Highly recommended to all metal and progressive metal fans. And fans of pure prog should give it a try.

Report this review (#82641)
Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Trying to describe A Murder of Crows is as difficult as making sense of that question. And that's the point. Poetic lyrics mix with musical devices ranging from acoustic guitars and multiple vocals to aggressive metal that wouldn't sound out of place on college radio. (Indeed, anxiety-ridden opening track "Feed Part I: Stone By Stone" is already garnering airplay in some cities.) "I'm Not Waving" boasts chunky King's X-style riffing and arrangements while "Black Smoke and Mirrors" and "Feed Part II: The Awakening" come alive with Jethro Tull-caliber flute passages. One of the album's most accessible tracks, "Regret," mingles a tinkling piano and crushing power chords with distant yet warm voices.
Report this review (#99136)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This one is more aggressive than their debut, with more guitars and less keyboards, but thankfully there are more flute passages.This really is the whole package, thoughtful and meaningful lyrics , a four pronged guitar attack , a drummer who is amazing, a singer who can bring all kinds of emotions with his vocals, and lastly the flute brings another dimension to the soundscape.

Things get started with "Feed Part I: Stone By Stone" with a fantastic riff, and a guitar melody over top of it, this goes from intense to placid throughout. "Feed Part II : The Awakening" opens with flute and acoustic guitar that turns heavy with some great guitar solos. "The Messenger" is another great song with the drums and riffs standing out. "In A Garden Made Of Stones" is the heaviest so far, although this one too contrasts the pastoral and loud passages. Love the scorching guitar solo. "Some Things You Can't Return" opens with an ominous bass line and fragile vocals, creating a dark, atmospheric mood and it just gets more intense from there. Again back and forth. "Angels In Vertico" features heavy, catchy riffs and reserved vocals that get aggressive at times. "Regret" is a lighter sounding song that is wondrous, with piano leading the way.

"Crows On The Wire" opens with bass and drums and a sinister guitar sound, creating a dark mood, then we have a sampling of a religious man ranting, followed by a hypnotic guitar melody. "I'm Not Waving" opens with a FOO FIGHTERS sounding melody (the tone of the guitar riff). And check out the lyric "I'm not waving to you, i'm drowning".The lyrics are about a person who is at the end of his rope and know one sees it. Sad. Great drumming in this one. "Flies" has a real full sound with the pounding drums leading the way. "Black Smoke And Mirrors" has an amazing flute melody throughout, and is an acoustic based tune that is quite powerful. The last track "Time" is simply stunning. A lighter song with strummed guitar and piano.

When I review a record, I take notes and always check off the songs I really like...well they all got checked on this one.There is something special about Devin Graves' music, wheather it's DEADSOUL TRIBE or PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and as I felt "Mosquito" was a masterpiece, I also feel that "A Murder Of Crows" is also a masterpiece.

Report this review (#102098)
Posted Thursday, December 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a beautiful, intense, mesmeric, heavy and dark album. There's not much else I can add; I've listened to this many times and I never tire of it. I can't single out one particular performance or track; it all comes together as a sum greater than the individual parts. Excellent - Progressive? who cares when music comes as good as this.
Report this review (#112032)
Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Awesome!

From the beautiful cover from cover artist Travis Smith we can already see this album should be special. I know we normally don??t discuss covers on PA, but I would just like to draw your attention a bit to it, because Mr. Travis Smith (a.k.a. seempieces) surely has made some of the best progressive rock covers of all time! Just to name a few bands he has made several covers for are:

? Anathema ? Deadsoul Tribe ? God Forbid ? Katatonia ? Opeth ? Riverside

Back to the album. I got this magnificent cd after reading all the good reviews on PA. I must admit I was a bit hesitant to get this album at first as I only knew Devon Graves from AYREON's Human Equation and I must say this sounded promising. Devon isn't only a great vocalist, he's also a very talented guitar and flute player. On "A Murder Of Crows" he does it all.

The songs on this album vary quite a bit from delicate to heavy, but there always seems to be a link between them and actually quite often the songs flow over in each other, or it just seems to be that way? What I like a lot about Deadsoul Tribe is that even in the softer ??vocal? tracks the guitar riffs always are quite heavy blending ??soft? and ??heavy? as I haven??t heard it before. This album is quite progressive and I noticed it took some time to ??grow? on me, but once it did, it Deadsoul Tribe became one of my favourite ??progressive? metal bands next to Katatonia , Opeth , Riverside and Green Carnation .

I am not going to review this album track by track as it feels like one stunning experience to me and I think you should always just play this record from start to finish: the way it was meant to be!

4 stars given, but actually closer to 4.5 stars!

Report this review (#112124)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I purchased this album more than a year ago. I listened back then for a couple of times, and then I almost completely forgot about its existence, amidst the ton of new music that I've been getting since then. Now that my hearing-cycle finally has taken me back to A MURDER OF CROWS, I'm ready to share my thoughts on the music.

DeadSoul Tribe plays very original music, though the influences are very easy to detect (at least in my opinion). Devon Graves' creature is a metal band, a progressive metal band, but not like Dream Theater or Fates Warning (two of the most influential artists in the genre). If we were to give a name for the band Deadsoul Tribe remind us of the most, I think it would be Tool. Many factors make me say this: the rhythmical section and the rhythmical style, the dark, morbid atmosphere, the relentless drumming (something I will talk about later), some of the vocal melodies and harmonies, the overall sound, in general. But that's just an influence, as we cannot accuse Graves' band of being just a copy. Their sound is their own, with elements of more traditional heavy metal here and there, and even moments that sound like complete different outfits (there are some vocal harmonies at the start of a couple of songs that are almost Shadow-Gallery-ish.) The overall aura is one of bad feelings and anger, introspection, repression, anger, much in the vein of Riverside. We can safely say that Deadsoul Tribe plays a very modern, contemporary style of progressive metal.

The musicianship in the band is quite high. Graves' guitars are part of what makes his band's sound so distinctive; just like Tool's, the guitar-playing here is not overly virtuosic, but precise, rhythmical. Some strong, brusque riffs open the way for short, pounding songs of visceral anger but never losing focus. Because, another factor that further drives this band away from Tool is that Deadsoul Tribe writes more song- oriented tracks. They never get lost in noise or awkward passages, but more concise, "normal" if you like, structures. The vocals, oftentimes doubled, add to the sick, insane atmosphere. But if there's one instrument that enhances (and almost ruins) the whole A MURDER OF CROWS experience is Abel Moustafa's drums. The guy surely CAN PLAY. He loves to use tom-toms very much like Danny Carey from Tool does, he stays away from excessive cymbal-use and sticks rather with the drums. But he tends to overplay a little, and at times gets in the way of the music. His constant cascading fills are always just on the border of annoyance, as precise and well-played as they may be. Maybe I'm wrong and this music wouldn't sound the same without this constant attack (most surely it wouldn't) but maybe there could be more restraint.

About the songs, let me just point out the highlights. "Feed Part I: Stone by stone" and "Feed Part II: The awakening" are excellent tracks, with power but also with melody ( a factor that greatly contributes to my pleasure with Deadsoul Tribe's music), "The messenger", with its powerful introduction and haunting vocals, but the absolute best is "Some things you can't return", which balances fury with calmed anger, rhythm with atmosphere-creation, old-metal with contemporary-metal. The rest of the tracks range from decent to good, without a single weak track but also lacking a true superb song that could've made me give this an even higher rating.

My rating can't go higher because I'm not a particular lover of this style of metal. Tool's music has never quite reached my heart, and I hear a lot of Keenan's band in Deadsoul Tribe. But I enjoy this much more, and I have to say that, if I were more oriented towards this kind of metal, probably there wouldn't be a reason not to give A MURDER OF CROWS a 5-star rating.

Recommended for: Fans of good progressive-metal, fans of contemporary, dark metal, fans of Tool.

Not recommended for: people who dislike Tool and any other dark, rhythmically- oriented bands; people who dislike metal (of course), and also people who can't stand a drummer who practically NEVER rests during a record.

.Moustafa almost commits a murder of crows here. The music is good enough to save them, though.

Report this review (#124689)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must say that I really enjoyed this album. I don't own a lot of albums of this type from this corner of the prog world, so I didn't know what to expect when I bought it. Wow, was I pleasantly surprised!

Virtually everyone of these songs has a nice tight, grinding rhythm base that really drives these songs home. The bass is prominent, without being over bearing, and the drumming contains some nice fills and change of timings that lend itself well to the songs. Since most of the guitar work is rhythm based and on the low end of things, you are presented with a solid wall of low end register that really rattles the woofers.

Devon Graves on vocals, does a nice job of going back and forth through the vocal scales switching between soft, high end pleadings with straight ahead vocals that seem appropriate for that particular moment in the song. The songs generally contain interesting and legible lyrics, that at times can be thought provoking without being preachy. There's not a lot growling here.

If your looking for a comparison in style, I would say look to some of Tools earlier stuff, particularly Undertow. I'm not saying who's better or worse, just trying to give you an idea on the type of music.

If there any draw backs, it would be the very things that I praised. After 6 or 7 songs with the same type of wall of sound, it would be nice to break it up a little bit. There is also a serious lack of any type of solos, whether they be guitar, keyboard or any type of musical interlude. A few of the song sstart out with some nice flute work, but this is the exception. It doesn't have to be some 150 bar solo, encompassing the entire music scale, but it would certainly make the songs much more interesting, and prevent them from seemingly blending together after awhile. This could be because Graves plays all the instruments except for the drums. Perhaps, if he collaborated more with other musicians, there would be some nice mixing of styles.

Overall I thing this album would be a worthy addition to someones record collection, but I wouldn't rate it as a must have.

Report this review (#161105)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Deadsoul Tribe is a progressive metal orchestra, founded (2000) and lead by Devon Graves, a keyboard player and vocalist from Psychotic Waltz. As a matter of fact, Devon Graves cannot be found from Psychotic Waltz' line-up, but Buddy Lackey is the name marked as a keyboardist and vocalist instead. That's because he changed his name when forming a new band - Deadsoul Tribe. He states furthermore that it's not only the name that's changed but also his music and whole person has gone through a transition and thanks to it, according to Devon, Deadsoul Tribe is now more heavy, their chords and harmonies are darker and more atmospheric and their sound is deeper. Now how about that?

At first, when I heard Deadsoul Tribe, I thought it was a successor to Digital Ruin. As a matter of fact I had some hard times getting familiar with this band - every time i played it, up from the air emerged a will to put on some Digital Ruin... So I cannot help it, I just have to compare them to each other. As well as Digital Ruin, Deadsoul Tribe succeed to create an atmosphere and overall sound that is dark, sinister and anxious - wonderful!

At their expression, Deadsouls strongly rely on stormy drummin' of Adel Moustafa. A rock band is only as good as its drummer, and apart from that, Adel is a great looking guy. And how a band looks is no small thing. [D. Graves] Now how about that? Well yes, he is a good drummer and his intensive energy behind the drumkit is impressive. Yet, with a time his eager, bursty and persistent drumming on top makes you to wish for some changes into his high-energy style - sometimes teasing is better than the thing itself. The good looking thing I leave others to decide.

Another thing they rely on their music is the heavy guitar riffing that is performed by three men: Devon Graves, Roland Kerschbaumer and Volker Wilschko. Constant, strong riffs are as stubbornly at the top of their music as is the drumming too. And there is surprisingly few solos considering all the three guitars used, and the solo parts are actually done with the same riiffin' an drummin' as their music is all the way.

Devon Graves takes care of the vocals and his style is somewhat similar to Matthew Pacheco of Digital Ruin - High, loud and clear - well it's heavy rock after all. Again, the same stubborness is present here as well and I feel like he is uncapable to change his style, to sing a bit differently for a moment, at least for example in slow parts. Yet he doesn't quite reach the dark, deep agony of Matthew Pacheco, nor his variability - if you allow me to continue my comparation.

All in all, Deadsoul tribe is a fantastic and impressive band, perfect for headbanging and air-drumming and the atmosphere they create is great and dark. Anyhow, there's a strange obstinacy in their music all the way from songwriting to playing that makes the music to feel unnecessarily constant and aimless, yet their individual songs quite unmemorable. To continue my Digital Ruin comparison, it's the ability to change, to be flexible and imaginary, it's the small details, sound samples, layered vocals and such things that makes this less interesting. That's what I miss here. Rarely there's a prog album, that sounds good right away, but soon begins to feel less intriguing - it's the lack of progressiveness. 3 stars.

Report this review (#166105)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Murder of Crows is the second album from american metal band Deadsoul Tribe. Deadsoul Tribe is the brainchild of Devon Graves who is the former frontman in progressive metal band Psychotic Waltz. The debut album from Deadsoul Tribe was a good solid metal album but nothing special really. Personally I had expected more from Deadsoul Tribe being a big fan of Psychotic Waltz, but I must admit that I was a bit disappointed after listening to that album even though its good ( just not excellent.

A Murder of Crows continues the style which was introduced on the debut which means pretty basic metal power chord riffing and an overall psychadelic sound which is mostly due to the way Devon sings. Devon also plays a lot of flute on this album which has become one of his trademarks. This time around the music seems a bit more cohesive and interesting and a song like In a Garden made of Stones even moves me a bit. The rest of the songs also have a high quality level but like on the debut this just isnt my favorite style of music. The playing is too generic and not challenging enough for my ears. This is clearly music made for your emotions and not for your mind. I usually like the combination. If its music that speaks only to my emotions it has to be a bit more special than this.

The musicianship is great and Devon Graves is a great singer even though he is a bit more restrained than he was while he fronted Psychotic Waltz. The other musicians are also good. Just dont expect wailing solos ( I hear a couple of solos, but they are nothing special) or quick intrumental runs. The busy drummer Adel Moustafa is also worth a listen.

The production is better than the one on the debut but its still not a sound I enjoy much.

The cover art is great. Sombre and kind of eerie.

A Murder of Crows is a good album, but personally this is not the kind of music I listen to very often mainly due to the lack of interesting instrumental sections. The simple power chord riffing just gets on my nerves after a while ( only Black Sabbath can pull that off with a completely satisfying result). The album is well worth the 3 stars Ill give it though.

Report this review (#178815)
Posted Monday, August 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars While I am not saying Murder of Crows is bad, listening to it made me imagine what Tool would sound like with its teeth blunted, or Anathema without its rich depth and emotion, or what the instrumentalists of Riverside sound like warming up. Bottom line... this is derivative, bland, pretentious, and only partly effective angst-metal that does what many other bands do better for only a fraction of the payoff.

Here's a run-down of what I found. Band leader Devon Graves' voice is pretty good. He's got a smooth, tender croon that is plesent for the majority of the album. He occasionally cranks it up, sounding a bit gravelly, but is still a bit gut-less; he doesn't have much range, and that hurts the listener's connection with the album, since the instrumental sections don't do much to save it. In short, his voice is the only thing enjoyable and unique here, and it is only partly effective.

Songwriting is passable, with variety thanks to quite a few atmospheric passages, but the song's dynamics have their strings cut by the constant banality of the guitar player's crunching riffing. It gets old almost immediately, monotonously vamping their way through every loud phrase, sounding more bored than aggressive. Solos? Nope. Melodies? Hardly, Devon is busy whining them. With three guitar players(!), we deserve more! Ultimately the listener will be wondering when tracks begin and end, because they all sound the same.

So, in the end I guess I am saying that Murder of Crows IS bad; I convinced myself and hopefully you, too. There is a lot of poetry/passion here... but none of it works, and with so many other interesting bands out there-- what's the point? Go listen to Anathema or Riverside to hear good versions of this band!

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#198461)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When Black Sabbath meets Jethro Tull meets Tool .

I saw the CD of this album during my working trip to Bandung couple of weeks ago. Well, I knew the band from their later albums "The Dead Word" (2005) and "A Lullaby for The Devil" (2007) which both of them I like very much. I purchased the CD without further thinking at all because their two albums have proved me enough about the musical quality of the band. Since then, I played the CD many times in its entirety. For some reason, I do enjoy the music very much and I don't know why. I think I have played more than 20 spins and I still enjoy with no boringness at all. Lately, having spun the CD many times, I find why I do like the music of DeadSoul Tribe, especially this album. First, the music is basically (or I would say) most of them are riff-based and the band expand it further to become a song. A very good example to show what I mean here is the 6th track "Angels in Vertigo" which I believe it was created from riffs and then expanded with melody. Second, I love the dark nuance created by the band through Black Sabbath-influenced guitar riffs. Third, the use of flute in progressive metal music that reminds me to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

For those who are new to the band, DeadSoul Tribe was founded in 2000 by Devon Graves, former member of Psychotic Waltz. A year later the debut album Deadsoul Tribe was released and proved to be a success with former Psychotic Waltz fans and beyond. 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. Together with drummer Adel Moustafa, who also plays the drums on the records, the guitarist Roland `Rollz` Kerschbaumer and bass player Roland Ivenz, Deadsoul Tribe is known for their stirring stage performance. [official DsT site]. Devon made an original concept for Deadsoul Tribe in 1999 and he acted as Songwriter, Producer, Lead Guitar, Lead Vocalist, Overlord. His favorites range from Jethro Tull to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Hendrix and Zappa.

It's best enjoyed if you play it in its entirety

Listening to this album is best to start from the beginning till the end, even until the bonus track as well. The opening track "Feed Part I: Stone by stone" (5:04) provides a warm welcome through a soft guitar riffs in basically slow moving music and it then moves in crescendo until musical break which brings in Devon Graves voice to enter with: A skeleton made of houses / Something out of the nothingness / Will be born / Asleep for a thousand years / Taking form / Stone by stone / Stone by stone . Oh what a nice intro, really. The strong point of this opening track is the chorus, despite its excellent riffs. The track moves smoothly to the next "Feed Part II: The awakening" (2:54) through the sound of flute. It's a very nice bridge. It does remind me to Jethro Tull especially the opening lyrical verse which relates me to the part of "Aqualung my friend .." of Aqualung. The bluesy guitar solo is also stunning and very very enjoyable.

"The messenger" (5:15) starts off with rainy nuance followed with nice riffs and vocal work.The riffs remind me to Black Sabbath in the seventies and the drumming style reminds me to Tool. We're Grieving tomorrow / Leaving our home for the circus life / It has to mean something / Could never mean more than its sacrifice .. what an excellent lyrical part, followed later with dynamic drumming on excellent riffs as background. It then moves nicely to "In a garden made of stones" (6:26) with guitar riffs that reminds me to Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. "Some things you can't return" (5:19) starts differently than other tracks, using a bass guitar as foundation with guitar fills built on top of it. The vocal work at the beginning is performed in "sigh" style, followed with soft screaming with long pitch. You will love the great guitar riffs produced by the next track "Angels in vertigo" (4:37) which really beautiful, combined with guitar melody and dynamic drumming to accentuate the song.

"Regret" (4:36) reminds me to the glory days of classic rock music in 70s especially through its opening riffs. But, the key element of this song is on its piano work and good rhythm section. "Crows on the wire" (6:47) brings the Black Sabbath nuance back to the music. The nice thing about the song is in its repeating riffs that lift up the thing. Devon's vocal work is at its thin voice and it flows nicely on top of excellent riffs. The excellent part of this song is when in the middle of the track there is a musical break with distanced voice singing. "I'm not waving" (5:34) continues the riff-based music with dynamic drumming like Tool. "Flies" (5:11) is in similar vein with previous one especially on the drumming part. "Black smoke an mirrors" (4:58) starts beautifully with acoustic guitar and ambient flute-work combined with dragging vocal line - it's a great opening and it represents different style compared to previous tracks. The guitar rhythm works perfectly and it becomes the trademark of the song. It's really an excellent track. The flute solo in the middle of the track reminds me to Jethro Tull. The bonus track "Time" (4:27) is also excellent.

To summarize, this is an excellent combination of riff-based music in the vein of Black Sabbath, accentuated with dynamic drumming like Tool and flute-work style of Jethro Tull. It cuts across generation from 70s to 2000. It's strongly recommended. Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#204967)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars After the disappointing debut, somebody must have give Devon Graves the long overdue slap around his drowsy head. In form, A Murder of Crows is almost a clone record, but somehow it accomplishes everything the debut strived for but failed to deliver: straightforward but poignant alt rock with great melodies, power and passion.

The song writing hasn't changed all that much, it's mid-paced alternative metal with strong tribal percussion that sits closer to Tool, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden then resembling anything Psychotic Waltz. Which is fine, the quality of the material is superb and so is the performance. The band sounds vigorous and dynamic. Devon Graves and drummer Adel Moustafa take the spotlight. To pick a few highlights, the opening Feed, A Garden Made of Stone, Angels in Vertigo and Black Smoke and Mirrios are all 5 star material for me. The remainder is very consistent and has no real weak spots. One criticism could be that the approach is very similar throughout the album: soft brooding verses, catchy choruses and a big emotive finale, always with heavy percussion and intense vocals.

This album shows that sometimes it doesn't take more then attention to detail and a clear focus to turn a mediocre band into a stunning experience. With 60 minutes of excellent but somehow samey material, 5 stars would be a bit flattered so I'll stick with 4 stars, even though this album has entertained me abundantly for more then 6 months back in 2003.

Report this review (#258482)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Modern Metal with Some Highlights

When I first began returning to prog several years ago, Deadsoul Tribe's Lullaby for the Devil was new. It came up on numerous internet mixes and I enjoyed the tracks and bought the album. Here on PA, however, the opinion seemed to be much more enthusiastic for the earlier MURDER OF CROWS. It took me awhile to pick up the album, and when I did I was a bit disappointed. There's virtually nothing on this album that isn't done better on the newer disc.

DST's sound is a kind of Tool-lite with frontman Devon Graves having better vocal abilities than Maynard but not nearly as much batcrap crazy that is actually the driving force of the band. The rhythm section is not nearly as good as Tool's, though the electric guitars are much better at least when they play lead. In fact, the instrumental sections with lead guitar (and if we're really lucky flute) are the best parts of the album, but they are too few. Though Graves' vocals are in some ways too perfect technically, he just doesn't write very good melodies. Probably the only memorable one for me is "In a Garden Made of Stones," which I do find myself singing along with. The lyrics are typical dark angst-y stuff, but aren't nearly as deep as Graves thinks they are.

MURDER OF CROWS is also not that progressive. I love metal in 3, but that's not enough to make you prog. Okay, "Garden Made of Stones" is in 7, and also has the best riffs just from a bang-your-head point of view. This song reminds me of the Dark Suns album, which is more prog top to bottom. "Flies" is in 5. Much of the rest of this is post-grunge (if that a term) and though solid, not that memorable. "Angels in Vertigo," "Regret," and the bonus track "Time" are a bit better than the other songs. But again, without the track listing in front of me, I would only be able to tell you the name of one song of this album, despite many listens...I really wanted to love this album.

I have always said that if Graves ever really dug into his Tull fetish and incorporated his flute fully into the music with more acoustic tones, he might actually have something I'd really dig. LULLABY has a flute metal instrumental that is my favorite thing on a DST album. On MURDER OF CROWS we get one tease, on "Black Smoke and Mirrors," but it's not enough. Supposedly the new Shadow Theory is more in this vein, and I should be getting that in the next few weeks.

Bottom line, get LULLABY FOR THE DEVIL. And go see Psychotic Waltz live if you can. If you really want to check this one out, just download "Garden" and "Black Smoke." I'd put the album somewhere between 2 and 3 stars, but I'm rounding down because of the better options available.

Report this review (#351817)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars Progressive metal can be a very powerful musical force, as demonstrated by Dead Soul Tribe on this their second album. This has seen the band rein in the keyboards so that they aren't as dominant as before and crank up the guitars so that the metal part of the prog metal tag is the one that people hear. The ideas are very much still there, with musical twists aplenty, but the sheer crunch of this album is more brutal than many within this genre. The guitars are now even further to the fore than our own mighty Threshold, and it certainly gives the album a different perspective.

There is a real intensity about this album, so much so that at times it becomes like a great weight, which does take away from the enjoyment of it. After a while it gets that it is almost a chore to listen to, which is not how music should be at all. This isn't a CD to be played for a bit of light relief in the background, it is music that demands commitment. Because of that it is an album that needs to be selected from, as opposed to played in its' entirety. When dipped into there are some great songs and performances but as for listening to the whole thing repeatedly then that is another matter altogether.

Report this review (#942100)
Posted Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Devon Graves. One of Metal's most underrated talents.

For those who don't know him, he was the front man of Psychotic Waltz, a progressive metal band from the 90's, who kind of developed a sight cult following ever since their inception. Now during their hiatus, Devon decided to form this new band, and the rest is history.

Now, musically speaking, this band is very different to the sounds that Psychotic Waltz where making. The best way to describe this band is that they are basically a better version of Tool. What! Better than Tool!

Yea, I'm really not the biggest fan of Tool if I'm being honest, and in all fairness, I'm not the biggest fan of this band either. But if you have to make me choose, I would choose these guys, mainly because of Devon Graves.

In Psychotic Waltz, Devon's vocals where absolutely insane. I mean it, he could hit notes that even opera singers couldn't attempt. But with this project, he has toned his voice down a little bit. On this album he does play it safe with his vocals usually, but throughout the album he does hit some pretty impressive vocal moments.

This album is pretty much a Devon Graves solo album, mainly because he plays all the instruments on the album except for drums (even though he did have a current touring band). The production on the album also isn't exactly the best. I can hear most of the instruments, which pretty much what you expect, but Devon's vocals I feel are quite low in the mix, which really takes away the main focus of the band, which is his amazing singing voice.

Another criticism would be in some of the song arrangements. Because of the similarity in sound between these guys and Tool, some Tool-esque moments impact the songs a lot, which is quite noticeable at times. These include long hypnotic intros usually with bass usually being the main instrument and sometimes vocal melodies that tend to experiment a lot rather than stay grounded and simple. Some of the phrasing of the vocals sometimes are very similar to Maynard Keenan's style of singing.

The use of flutes in the album also helps a bit, giving some tracks a Jethro Tull vibe. Oddly enough the mixture of flutes does work very well.

I'm not sure if this album is a concept album, but there seems to be some sort of theme running throughout the album. The songs are split into chapters, which usually means something relatable, but other than that I can't really place together any story. Just a hunch though.

The album's intro, the two parter "Feed" is a briliant intro to the album. Reaching near the 8 minute mark, it experiments with arrangements slightly, which makes it one of the more enjoyable tracks.

My favourite song on the album would have to be "Some Things You Can't Return." A brilliant build throughout the song and something a bit different compared to the rest of the album.

One of the albums longest compositions, "Crows On The Wire" is another stand out moment on the album. With brilliant build ups throughout, it does show some pretty impressive songwriting skills.

One of the best songs on the album is in fact the bonus track "Time." A very different song compared to the rest of the album, mainly because it has a very poppy sound to it. I can kind of see why the band left it off the album, but I am glad I got to hear it.

In conclusion, I was slightly surprised with this album. At times the band's sound does drape through, but at times the songwriting can change slightly. In all fairness, these guys really aren't 100% my thing, but this album ain't too bad and has some pretty good songs on it. Some people although would really get into this album I bet, so I would recommend it.

6.8/10

Report this review (#1009889)
Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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