TRIBUS- heavy-rock - bass driven rock - solo bass - " aka Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Tribus: Mega Shred
2002, Goliath???
CyberHome(s): ???

As I am often inclined to do to achieve an objective assessment of an album, when I first listened to Mega Shred by Tribus, I ignored the liner notes and just put the CD in and listened to it. About a minute later, I was scrambling to find the liner notes, as I suspect you would be too if you were not familiar with Tribus. This is because Tribus has a very unusual composition of instrumental constituents. Let's see now, there is the bass guitar, the lead distortion bass guitar, the fretless bass, the bass effects, and did I already mention the bass guitar?

Though I was a little put out at first for the conspicuous absence of guitar and keyboards and other instrumentation, this being my personal inclination, I put aside my prejudices and gave due consideration to the bass-exclusive effort. The first thing that I noticed was that it is admirable that the group was able to achieve such a widely-textured integrated sound using only different types of bass guitars. The absence of other instruments is not as noticeable as one might expect. The second thing that I noticed was that there is some very impressive bass work that demonstrates brow-raising technical proficiency, but that at the same time strives to present coherent, accessible music. The bass fret work is highlighted by some speedy playing including some difficult chordal arpeggiation from Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D Minor that is played faster on the bass than is believable, though I must admit that it does sound like keyboards rather than a bass with effects so I am really not sure this part is played on bass... which makes it all the more impressive if it is played on bass!

The tonality and rhythms for the bass work seems to embrace a Bachian classical style and feel, rather than that of the fusion variety. The sound is reminiscent of neoclassical with its classical-like patterns and composition that are reinforced by the voicings selected. And, though the bass is used typically in at least one of the lines to set the rhythm and progression, the other bass work applies the bass as a solo instrument in a fashion similar to Yo-Yo Ma.

I suspect that this album is going to be popular among bass players that have a preference for a neoclassical flavoring, though I wouldn't limit the listening audience to this group. The noteworthy achievement of this effort is that though the instrumentation is limited strictly to bass guitar, the end result of the music has an accessibility and appeal that lends itself beyond an audience of bassists. It is an interesting album, though I'm still not sure what to make of it. Try to find a review of this album written by a bass guitarist who I am sure will have a better frame of reference to put it in!

1) Shred Alert
2) Excess Force
3) Maximum Rush
4) Intensify
5) Freaky Fingers
6) Latin Rican Nights

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~




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