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DEADSOUL TRIBE

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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DeadSoul Tribe biography
Devon GRAVES' 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."

This is exactly what DEAD SOUL TRIBE succeeds in doing with their second album, "A Murder Of Crows". Just as thoughts flow through the endless convolutions of the brain of their creator, the songs of the album build up an atmospheric tension, holding the listener with it's compositional fluidity that lets them swim in a sea of intriguing melodies.

Modern progressive metal must sound that way, but at the same time offer a fresh and sometimes amazing approach. Just imagine TOOL with a vague point of orientation, connected with the compositional strength of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, (GRAVES' previous band which he's still known under the pen name Buddy LACKEY).

With his name change, GRAVES also made a musical and personal change when he formed DEAD SOUL TRIBE. The debut album of the same name (2001) was a convincing statement of his grand creativity and more than just a glimpse of his actual feelings at the time. "I still like this record very much," say Graves. "I think, it has its own character style which is unique." However, the new "A Murder Of Crows" shows an obvious evolution of the DEAD SOUL TRIBE sound. The 2003 sophomore release features far more aggressive material. "At the same time the band sounds more progressive without losing their groove. "The guitars are more dominant and the keyboards were held back more. You can find a few acoustic guitars and more flute parts than on the first record."

One can also hear that GRAVES has made experiences as a sound engineer too. "A Murder Of Crows" makes a great impression with a powerful sound, exposing the dynamics of all the instruments and creating a lasting result. "Since the first album, I have learned a lot as a producer...
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A Lullaby for the DevilA Lullaby for the Devil
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Inside Out Music / SPV Recordings 2007
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DEADSOUL TRIBE discography


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DEADSOUL TRIBE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 58 ratings
Dead Soul Tribe
2002
3.67 | 102 ratings
A Murder Of Crows
2003
3.74 | 78 ratings
The January Tree
2004
3.49 | 64 ratings
The Dead Word
2005
3.75 | 116 ratings
A Lullaby For The Devil
2007

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DEADSOUL TRIBE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dead Soul Tribe by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.31 | 58 ratings

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Dead Soul Tribe
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

2 stars Having enjoyed their first album, but not too much, I was warned that I might not like this album as much as the second album.

And as it goes, yea I really don't like this album. I won't lie, these guys aren't really my thing. But, haven't said that these guys aren't my thing, their second album did suprise me a good amount. But this album on the other hand didn't.

Musically the album is all over the place. Their second album at least had a consistent sound running throughout, which did play to the band's strength. On this album, the band can't decided what they are, are they a Tool rip off, a normal prog band, an experimental rock band or whatever it is they want to be. Most of the time, they are a Tool rip off. On their last album, I said they where a better version of Tool. Looks like Tool have just bettered them on this album.

Vocally, Devon at times plays it really safe, and I mean really safe. Now and then he hits some alright highs, but most of the time, even the melodies have very similar flows throughout.

Even though I did basically spew out a lot of negativity about this album, I will admit that some of the aspects of the album I did quite enjoy. The small intros which led into songs was a pretty great idea and even the album's length, being just about 40 minutes does bode well in the band's favour. Sadly the material just isn't that strong.

The album opener "Powertrip" does start the album off well. With an intro from "Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas", the album has a rather speed metal take with some nu metal flourishes. I do like the interesting take on vocals that Devon decided to attempt.

The best song on the album suprisingly enough is one of the shorter intros "Under The Weight Of My Stone." A rather beautiful folky acoustic song. It's funny that the song it leads into "Once" is a complete bore-fest.

One of the albums more interesting moments has to be the track "One Bullet." An interesting arrangement with a weird sounding electronic beat which gives off an almost Björk sounding industrial groove to the song. Some pretty interesting arrangements throughout.

The album's bonus track "...Into The Spiral Cathedral" is one of the more proggy sounding songs on the album. Nice arrangement throughout with some interesting musical passages.

In conclusion, I really didn't enjoy this album that much. Parts where good and some songs had their moments, but this album was just very confusing. One thing is, these guys sound really isn't one that completely jumps out at me, but at least their second album did keep me enjoyed. I really would say this album is for someone who likes this kind of metal and is a fan of the band. Things do get better for these guys, so this album hasn't completely ruined this band's image.

4.8/10

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 A Murder Of Crows by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.67 | 102 ratings

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A Murder Of Crows
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

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

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 Dead Soul Tribe by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.31 | 58 ratings

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Dead Soul Tribe
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Dead Soul Tribe has been formed by Devon Graves, the alter ego of Buddy Lackey who used to be front man with Psychotic Waltz. According to Devon "Everyone that liked the albums I did with Psychotic Waltz is going to like Dead Soul Tribe. And those that weren't all that keen on Psychotic Waltz is guaranteed to like my new band". In fact, this is quite a strange album to listen to, as there are times when the music is very intense and brutal while at others (such as "The Haunted") there is an almost ethereal Queen-like style to the music. As well as the music changing tack Devon also uses a few different vocal styles which all add to the complexity and feel. The short acoustic "Under The Weight Of My Stone" certainly places a different air on the proceedings.

The band are fairly driven along by the drumming, and the twin guitar attack concentrates more on power and emphasis than on being overtly technical, although there is much more than just a hard rock album. There isn't a keyboard in sight and the music hasn't got much of what would be considered 'normal' prog metal styles but in many ways that is the genre within which the music sits. It is complex and complicated but manages to avoid being too self-centred, and there are certainly plenty of riffs to be heard.

I get the impression that the band aren't quite this polished in concert, and that they will come across as raw and metallic. An album that certainly suggests that they have a strong future ahead of them.

Originally appeared in Feedback #67, Apr 02

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 A Murder Of Crows by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.67 | 102 ratings

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A Murder Of Crows
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.

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 A Lullaby For The Devil by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.75 | 116 ratings

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A Lullaby For The Devil
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by KeepItDark

4 stars "A Lullaby For The Devil" is Deadsoul Tribe's fifth album but my first purchase of their work although I had heard the excellent "Some things you can't return" (from their second album A Murder Of Crows) on an InsideOut sampler disk.

"A Lullaby For The Devil" is very impressive covering a number of music styles but generally on the heavier side of Prog. All the tracks are excellent with the opening track Pschosphere more metal in style.

Devon Graves undertakes most of the instrumentation (guitars, bass, keyboards, flute) ably assisted by drummer Adel Moustafa. The stand out features are the quality of the lyrics, Devon Graves' voice and the use of Tull-style flute which adds an extra dimension to the instrumentation. The tracks have good arrangements with quite a bit of complexity under what seems a relatively simple structure.

An excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. 4 stars.

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 A Murder Of Crows by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.67 | 102 ratings

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A Murder Of Crows
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.

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 The January Tree  by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.74 | 78 ratings

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The January Tree
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Norbert

3 stars My interest for Deadsoul Trime arised from the fact, that I know Deon Graves as Buddy Lackey from my favourite progressive metal band Psychotic Waltz. Another fact is that this is still my only Deadsoul Tribe recording, so you can guess, that I am much less impressed by DST than by the quintett from San Diego. However, this album is far from being bad. Devon created some sort of "Jethro Tool", but unfurtunately for me there is more focus on Tool, than Jethro. Devon is still a very good singer and lyricist, and we certainly must give credit for him for playing all instruments on this album, except the drums. Basically, the magical guitar playing of Dan and Brian from Waltz what I miss the most. Devon is competent on the guitar, but his riffs are rather monothonic, and he is just rather unremarkable as a guitar player especially compared to his psychotic ex-collegaues. The music on The January Tree is pleasantly heavy, and melodic but none of the songs is truly outstanding. The better ones for me are Spiders and Flies and Just like a timepiece. The beutiful artwork deserves a special mention. The January Tree is a mostly enjoyable, even if not very rewarding album. I think a 3 star rating is well deserved.

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 A Lullaby For The Devil by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.75 | 116 ratings

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A Lullaby For The Devil
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars After 2 disappointing albums, Deadsoul Tribe took a year inbetween releases and came back inspired and enthusiastic on their fifth (and probably last) release A Lullaby For The Devil. Instead of playing all instruments but the drums himself, Devon Graves took the entire Deadsoul Tribe live band into the studio. Fleshed out with a real bass and guitar player, the result is a more solid and versatile album, not as unfailing as a Murder Of Crows but surely a lot better then the other DST albums.

Psychosphere is an up-tempo rocker featuring the trademark tribal percussion and plain Sabbath riffing. The arrangement is slightly industrial at times, with whispered vocals providing a slightly menacing angle. The riffs and melodies offer nothing outstanding but the overall effect is ok. Goodbye City Life is a more interesting piece, very different from their usual fare. It's a bit of a hodgepodge of industrial doom metal, mixed with the balladry and folksiness from Jethro Tull and an occasional neurotic Faith No More outburst. As other reviewers have pointed out already, Moustafa has learned to control his frenzied drum attack. Instead of plastering every hole with fills and ruffles, he lets the music breathe more. A big improvement.

Here Come the Pigs is a mediocre song that brings the preceding albums to mind. Lost In You is a lot better, nothing challenging or groundbreaking, but adequately executed Benefit-era Jethro Tull with fine melodies and a passionate delivery. A Stairway To Nowhere is a slow-paced and slightly dreamy atmospheric rock song, not really original but an adept try at Porcupine Tree harmonies and more progressive riffing and chord plucking in the style of Jim Matheos of Fates Warning and OSI fame. Great song. The instrumental Gosamer Strand makes room for Devon's flute playing and some nice bluesy guitar leads.

Deadsoul Tribe is often compared to Tool, the opening bass riff of Any Sign At All supports that claim, but DST's sound is more dynamic and has the better vocals, with much more melodic sense, more power and more feeling. The classic rock ballad Fear sounds a bit out of place but is sure acceptable. Further Down is an up-tempo 3 minute metal track that brings Psychotic Waltz's last album Faded to mind. The closing title track ends this solid album with a strong epic ballad.

Dead Soul Tribe can be reassured. The devil will definitely not fall asleep before this album completes its course through smart modern metal and mid-paced musings. A big improvement over the 2 mediocre albums that preceded.

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 The January Tree  by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.74 | 78 ratings

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The January Tree
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Third album for Deadsoul Tribe in an equal amount of years. There are few bands with such continuously flowing output. It's a good thing for the fans but slightly frustrating for critical nitpickers like myself. Deadsoul Tribe revolves around the powerful voice of Devon Graves but lacks the creativity and musicality to keep such a huge output interesting.

The album starts interesting enough with Spiders and Flies, heavily in dept to Tool but with far more accomplished vocals, both in expression and in melodic feel. The opening bars of Sirens even bring Psychotic Waltz back, but after 30 seconds, we're back to unremarkable and slowly plodding Sabbath/Tool riffs, the vocal melody saves the song though. With the next couple of songs, The Love of Hate and Why?, the mid-paced monotony of the material creates a weary mood and the lack of character makes the songs dwindle in anonymity. The Coldest Days of Winter is a charming little song, Wings of Faith tries to add an industrial angle but remains flat and dull. Toy Rockets and Waiting for the Answer are two more mediocre and faceless songs. Just Like a Timepiece is a rather ordinary ballad that brings Devon's Jethro Tull influences to the fore. Lady of the Rain ends the album with more balladry

Deadsoul Tribe is basically a one man project and not a real band, Devon Graves is an excellent vocalist but I'm not much impressed with his rudimentary guitar playing and song writing. He is only accompanied by Adel Moustafa, a deserving drummer but he approaches all songs too much in the same way. With hardly 15 minutes of great material and 35 dreary mediocrity 2 stars seem more appropriate then 3 but I'll round up for the nice artwork.

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 The Dead Word by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.49 | 64 ratings

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The Dead Word
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars The albums of Dead Soul Tribe have an immediate appeal that makes them instantly likeable. It's the reason why I kept purchasing their albums, only to get really disappointed by their mediocrity after a few listens.

The Dead World offers exactly the same as the 3 previous albums and the creative standstill of the band has become a bit shameful really. Their formula kind of works when Devon Graves puts all his heart in the execution, but most of the tracks here plod along in circles without even trying to catch the listener's attention. Dead Soul Tribe must be one of the most unobtrusive bands to be called metal. A few songs like A Flight on Angels Wing and Don't You Ever Hurt are still acceptable but most of the material is of feeble song writing merit and poor in execution.

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