Thunder Tribe – War Chant
Reviewed by Christopher Foley
Thunder Tribe has something of an odd mission statement, with their goal an attempt to blur the lines between rock and metal throughout the ages; supposedly from The Beatles to Black Sabbath, and of course everything in between. I’d say outside of some southern/blues fare in the latter half of the album, Thunder Tribe serve up some decidedly familiar heavy metal in the US heavy/power metal vein.
Leading the charge is Shatter Messiah vocalist Michael Duncan, who delivers the album’s namesake with his powerful pipes. The music is of a more tame manner than expected here, and, I think particularly in the first half of the album, is reminiscent of post-The Warning Queensrÿche (think Rage For Order or even Promised Land). I wish the whole album followed the suit of tracks like “Part Of The Black” or “The Light”, as they’ve really nailed that introspective, ensnaring side of the ‘Rÿche there.
One thing I don’t hear is elements of all their alleged influences. I’ll certainly admit that the album holds a bluesy feel, and despite some of the overstated numbers like “Believe” or “Watching It Burn”, seriously invokes Savatage a là Handful Of Rain. Whilst I’ve stated that there is a fair amount of familiarity across War Chant, I do feel that the flow of the album is decidedly odd. As I’ve hinted, the first half rings out particularly strong, and comes off as rather well put together. The second half however, is a bit of a mess, with a few throwaway numbers such as the aforementioned “Watching It Burn” or the tepid “It’s A Lie”. With a firmer emphasis on song selection I reckon this could have been a much stronger release. Fortunately there’s the saving grace of the rollicking blues cut “Above The Blue”, which makes a journey into the latter half of the album that little safer.
As you can probably tell via this review, War Chant has had a bipolar effect on me. There’s certainly some ace music here, although it comes cluttered with a fair share of yawn-inducing material. When the band hones in and gets serious, things are pretty damn good, but I’d love for them to ditch some of their more overt, try-hard material. For now, I’m not quite sure where Thunder Tribe’s target audience really lies. For all their well-trodden ground, there’s an underlying oddity about the album, a certain progressive texture which begs for at least a curious listen. Check this out if anything I’ve said here interests you.
3.0 // 5