It was only a matter of time before people realized that globalization is becoming increasingly unavoidable, and did something positive with its effects instead. The rise and eventual dissemination of the Internet has made the concept of political boundaries increasingly fantastical, and the result is that with each passing generation, more and more young people grow up thinking of themselves less as isolationists or nationalists, and more as members of a living, breathing, global community. In this future, eventually a group of people would have to take center stage and exploit these feelings to create a new form of music. Much as black metal drew from suppressed tensions over strict Christian dominance of what were once blatantly pagan lands in Scandinavia, this new breed of music would reflect a brand-new shift in culture itself. In a world where any group, subculture, or belief set is incredibly easy to join into (via the Internet, mobile phones, and other mass media) what would it mean to throw such ease away and be completely alienated by said culture?
Enter Lisbon, Portugal's No Tribe. A quartet of like-minded individuals, the band was formed a few years ago by drummer L3viathan and vocalist YMA. The two were interested in a hodge-podge of bands, lifestyles, cultures, and philosophies. Only in their early 20's, the two had been raised in a world where globalism was more than just a newly-emerging buzzword; for the first time, it could be a way of life. Taking the aforementioned stage names, the two were joined by guitarist Dasque and bassist Isi. The message of No Tribe was to be simple; the band would combine a mind-blowing variety of influences into a cross-section of cultures, a cut-and-paste of styles and genres if you will. Further complicating matters was a revolving door of fellow miscreants; throughout its history, No Tribe has had a total of 15 members. This amalgam of ideals and personalities has led to an entity that is frankly unlike anything I've ever heard, and also unique. The band itself is the representation of this interesting mantra; No Tribe takes it's name from the band's dedication to rejecting any and all pre-existing stereotypes, castes, groups, sects, and labels. The result is the band taking all these things, altering them, and making them open to all.
The irony is that No Tribe ends up sounding like nothing you've ever heard despite the fact all the styles they mix have existed for quite some time now. Regardless, the four song maelstrom that is The Day of Days is a real headtrip. In fact, I have listened to this demo as many times as I can, all in a mad effort to get as much from its intricate layers and sophisticated progressions as possible. The band is exceedingly D.I.Y. No Tribe is unsigned, and they do all their own artwork, web design, and flash videos. In fact, every copy of The Day of Days comes with a mind-blowingly well-designed flash section, replete with fantastic, surreal artwork, well-written English bios, and all sorts of similar goodies.
The music itself is where the band really shines. As cliché as it is, this is like little (if anything) I've ever heard, and face it, I've heard quite a bit. Take the opener "We2 (World Remix"). The song shimmies in on lush, floating, and clean chords that eddy and swirl; they are mildly Middle-Eastern in tone and very soothing. Things go berserk very fast as the band plays soaring punk riffs, driving gangland hardcore ala' Biohazard, and catchy hard rock hooks. Oh, and I forgot to mention that all of this is played over twisting drum beats and sampled percussion, the likes of which hail from feudal Japan and are known as Kodo. To put the icing on the cake, vocalist YMA leads the charge with a bellowing roar that drives pounding double-bass, rising crescendos of weird guitar leads, and all manner of pandemonium as the other members shriek, howl, and yell in the background. Don't ask me how, but somehow the whole mix sounds brilliant...I've had it stuck in my head for days. The frantic blitzkrieg of "A Red Crescendo in a Hole" blazes by in a hailstorm of brutal riffing, insane screams, and drums tighter than a noose around the neck of a convicted criminal. "L3viathan" comes in on a soft hum that is shortly and absolutely MURDERED by a crusty wave of math-y hardcore; weird samples sway in and out of your ears, and everyone with a tongue sings along to this monster of a song. So much happens here it is almost a prerequisite to have headphones while listening to it; at first glance, I dubbed this a poor jumble, but with more listens it has now become my favorite song on the demo. Just wait and see if YMA's shredding cries of "LEVIATHAN" don't produce goose-bumps, and in the instance it doesn't, wait for the surprising hand-clap beat that ends the song.
Closing track "Army of One" oozes forth with raspy breathing and distorted air-raid sirens. Before you know it, a head-scratching perversion that recalls tandems like Anthrax and Public Enemy takes its place. Beneath the bouncy notes and churning froth of drums, tight, solid, thrash riffs beat the listener down. The result is yet another track beyond normal boundaries or labels; everything No Tribe does sounds fresh and invigorating to this pair of ears.
The Day of Days is no easy listen. Complex and ambitious, this isn't one for the stoics and staids of our world. In fact, I'd brand it much the same as I did when trolling for fellow writers to review it with me (the band sent me two copies, as they're very kind): "This is for the adventurous only folks." Truer words have never been spoken; however, if you are brave and like something a bit off the beaten path, check out No Tribe immediately; I hear they're pretty open-minded.
1. We2 (World Remix)
2. A Red Crescendo in a Hole
4. Army of One