For the third time Swedish LAST TRIBE present us with an album and after "The Ritual" and "Witch Dance" "The Uncrowned" opens up the question that every fan of the first two albums (I only know "Witch Dance") asks, if they have been able to deliver another Melodic Metal smasher, as before they were maybe not exactly able to set new standards, but still could more than just convince.
Ten songs the quartet around guitarist and song writer Magnus Karlsson (also responsible for the keyboards) celebrates Melodic Metal with light progressive elements and here and there also a Power Metal influence, but without letting their basic sound stray in either direction. For die hard Proggies the last tribe might be too foreseeable, for true Power Metal fanatics the speed and epic a bit too low, but if you approach "The Uncrowned" with the right mindset, then I can assure you that you will be blessed with a truly strong album, which has all that it takes!
The opener "Healer" already sets out in fashion, with crunchy guitars, straight rhythm, strong vocals by Rickard Bengtsson and a very catchy and memorable chorus, setting the pace right away, just like the fact that they can more than just continue, where "Witch Dance" had left off quality wise is manifested, which is even more confirmed by the following "The Chosen One". The Swedes have a great hand for truly irresistible choruses, which go into the ear at once and break the ice even with more complex songs, minimizing the getting-used-to process.
That guitarist Magnus Karlsson lets his six string loose a bit more and belts out some major soloing does not take away from the songs at all, as he manages to very well integrate it into the song and also doesn't overdo it, which should let all non-musicians exhale a sigh of relief. The big strength of LAST TRIBE is, though, to unite demand with accessibility, super catchy melodies and choruses ("The Uncrowned" has an incredible one!) with crunchy guitars and driving drums and with that, not least thanks to the very inspired vocal performance of Rickard Bengtsson and the great vocal arrangements, should be able to appeal to a quite wide audience, yet without smarming them, but simply by impressing by quality.
They also show pretty varied song writing, from emotional over a bit more complex to driving and straight the quartet Karlsson, Bengtsson, Lövgren, Salazar is a stalwart in all areas. Apart from the already mentioned three tracks I also have to point out the soulful, short instrumental "April Sky" and the very catchy "Sound Of Rain", which equally stand out from an overall already high quality album.
If you feel some appeal to the given style description, than I can absolutely recommend LAST TRIBE's "The Uncrowned" without reservations, one of the best albums of its kind in the past 12 months! (Online January 23, 2004)