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Darktribe - Mysticeti victoria 4/5

Reviewed: 10-1-12


1. Genesis
2. Taiji
3. Roma XXI
4. Black meteor
5. Lightning guide
6. Lost
7. Poison of life
8. Eyes have you
9. Beware the god
10. From us
11. Life, love & death

Over the last few years, there has certainly been an influx of new bands hailing from France. 2012 has brought about new releases from a few French bands, and one such band is Darktribe. Originating from Nice, Darktribe are a new European power metal band created in 2009 by the Agnello brothers; Anthony (vocals) and Julien (drums). Heavily influenced by bands such as Iron Maiden, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Rhapsody and Stratovarius, the band was complete when guitarist Loic Manuello and bassist Bruno Caprani joined.

A short time later, Darktribe brought out their first material; a self-released EP called ‘Natural defender’, and then embarked on live shows around their native France and Europe. Returning to the studio, Darktribe began the writing process of their debut CD. The band had help along the way, with the CD mixed and mastered at the famous Finnvox Studios in Finland by Mikko Karmila (Nightwish, Masterplan) and Mika Jussila (Sonata Arctica, Amorphis). The movements coming from Finnvox Studios aroused interest from major label Massacre Records, who signed the band and released the debut CD ‘Mysticeti victoria’ worldwide.

Darktribe’s European power metal style is nothing new or fresh, however contains flashes of progressive and neo-classical metal, which adds depth and diversity to their bombastic sound. A mature and confident band, these guys show no signs of “debut CD blues”, where the sound may be a bit tentative, or dips in quality of the songwriting. Vocalist Anthony Agnello is a very talented singer, who has a mid to high-pitched voice that remains me greatly of Axxis frontman Bernhard Weiß; in terms of their heavily accented vocals and singing style. However, while I enjoy Weiß’s vocals in relatively small doses, Anthony’s voice is just perfect for Darktribe’s melodic European power metal style.

With Darktribe’s music, there are many lengthy instrumental passages throughout their songs, all containing impressive swift guitar riffs and wails, with plenty of synths and keys that would make any Rhapsody or Stratovarius fan very happy. The first couple of tracks (“Taiji” and “Roma XXI”), aside from being good with lots of harmonies, are fairly non-threatening and pretty much sound almost just as tranquil and peaceful as the CD cover that accompanies the CD. The 3rd track “Black meteor” kicks things up a few notches, with Anthony’s voice now containing some gruffness and passion, and the exceptional pounding drum/keys/guitar combo working a treat. A sing-a-long and catchy chorus makes you stand up and notice, while the emotional bridge slows the tempo down which then works into a soulful solo.

The most impressive thing I noticed from this debut by Darktribe, is the brilliant musicianship of all 4 members, they really do sound like seasoned veterans instead of the usual typical nervous newbies you’d expect from a young band on their debut release. The drums in particular are quite amazing, with Julien Agnello obviously influenced by technical drummers like Nicko McBrain and Mike Portnoy, as it shines through confidently in his expressive performance. Julien’s drumming hits another high on the powerful track “Beware the god”, containing pummelling double-bass and ferociously dark tinged guitar riffs that will make your head pound in excitement.

Another great song is “Lost”, which is one the speediest and catchiest tracks on ‘Mysticeti victoria’. Anthony excels on this track, which also contains some nice folk elements sprinkled around here and there. Other tracks to watch out for is the diverse, creative and sporadic “Poison of life” (reminding me of the band Sons of Seasons), the intricate and heavy “Love, life & death”, and finally the exceptional ballad showcasing Anthony’s great vocals, the emotional “Lightning guide”.

In the end I must say that I was blown away by how good these guys are and the impeccable job they did with the songwriting for the CD. This release does not sound like a typical debut in any way, shape or form. I understand now why Massacre quickly signed Darktribe up as they certainly have what it takes to go very far in this business. Their effort on ‘Mysticeti victoria’ is brilliant to say the least and it would take a massive effort to equal or top the quality of this CD with any material they will release in the not too distant future.

Darktribe have set the bar very high on their first time round and they have impressed me to no end. One of the biggest and most welcomed surprises of 2012, Darktribe’s ‘Mysticeti victoria’ is definitely a CD worthy of your time if any of the bands mentioned in this review are played and rotated constantly within your melodic power metal collection.




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