After the competent but perhaps rushed Nothing Lasts Forever EP, there could have been concern regarding Tribe of Gypsies' creative development. But on Revolucion 13 the group surpassed even the most hopeful of expectations. Among the most revolutionary moments on this JVC/Victor release are the strange soundscapes reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Meddle, complete with freewheeling guitar solos, embanked on dense but musical near cacophonies. Bandleader Roy Z condenses some the indulgent guitar moments, choosing his notes more carefully than on the group's fiery debut. The supporting cast of Dave Ingraham on drums, Edward Casillas on bass, Elvis Balladares and Mario Aguilar helping out with additional percussion, and new vocalist Gregory Analla contribute nicely to Z's ambitious new vision. Analla's smoother delivery adds a cerebral but vibrant element to Tribe of Gypsies' message, which mixes well with the band's updated guitar and songwriting approach. While more meditative than earlier efforts from the band, Revolucion 13 is not at all soft. The heavy moments are actually heavier, but the jagged, instrumental free for alls are limited, or rather presented in a more subtle and complex way. Rock fans who like to get a little something extra from their CD purchases -- whether it's superior musicianship, stretched out arrangements that smash pop pretense, or just plain old artistic reach -- should seek out Revolucion 13, an indisputable triumph.
Vincent Jeffries, All Music Guide
Beware, this is not a Metal album, not even a Hard Rock album. Two good reasons explain its presence in these pages. First, Tribe of Gypsies is the band of Roy Z, guitarist and producer of the last two albums by a certain Bruce D. Second, this album is a genuine gem. After an excellent first album (Tribe of Gypsies, 1996), a no less excellent EP (Nothing lasts forever, 1997) and a second album this good, how is it possible that Tribe of Gypsies is still limited to the Japanese market ? Honestly ? I don't know ! Let's talk music now. This tribe sounds like Santana on methamphetamine. From the beginning of What's up?, one realizes that this is an unusual and strong cocktail of tight riffs and latino percussion. Careful : riffs may be tight and the vocals may sound Rock enough, but the whole is still quite soft. This CD belongs only to the Metal shelves because of Roy's involvement. But it's so good ! All tunes really hit home, the guitar solos are fabulous, the sound is flawless (production is handled by Roy Z). A real pleasure ! A mandatory listen for all Metal fans yearning for discoveries, and for Santana fans (but do they read these lines ?) who may very well find here a new favorite.
Kaptain Krude, Plančte Hard n°48, March/April 1999
(This is a free magazine available in all FNAC stores, France's #1 record store chain).
3rd release by the Los Angeles based rock band Tribe Of Gypsies. After receiving rave reviews on their first two releases, Tribe Of Gypsies and Nothing Lasts Forever, the band unleash Revolucion 13. Compared to their last two releases, this one may sound a bit more darker, but still exhibiting their Latin influence rock sound. The new CD also marks a change in the vocal department. Gone is Dean Ortega, now with REVOLUTION CHILD, enter former SEVENTHSIGN singer, Gregory Annalla. Where as with Ortega's vocals were smooth and filled with energy, Annalla's voice are more melodic. When one listens to Tribe Of Gypsies one cannot help but be drawn in by the hypnotic percussion and the spellbinding guitar sound of Roy Z. Musically, Tribe Of Gypsies are one of the tightest bands around. Each member feeding off each others musical strengths. This is evident right from the get go with Latin flavored piece, Aztlan, that segues into high octaned rocker, What's Up. Roy Z.'s guitar work on this song with grab you by the canones big time! Summer Rain, is melodic number that will simply win the listener over as soon as it comes on. The one track that simply knocked me on my ass is, Spanish Blue, a moody piece that is highlighted by Roy Z.'s blistering guitar work! A song that you just have to hear to believe. Tribe Of Gypsies is a band that follows in the line of many great Latin based rock bands like Santana, Azteca and Malo, but with a more aggressive sound that is uniquely their own. The only question I have is, why haven't Tribe Of Gypsies made it big here in the States? It just pisses me off to see a talented band like this be ignored by the big record labels here. If only radio and music television would give Tribe Of Gypsies a chance they would hear what fans around the world already know, Tribe Of Gypsies ROCK! Plain and simple. My hat is off to the Tribe Of Gypsies for another job well done! One thing is for sure, as long as my webzine is up, the world will know about this band.
The Atomic Chaser, April 1999 - Tony Siskin
Santana fans of the world, you've been put on notice, these guys are to Carlos and Co. what Skynyrd were to the Allmans in the '70's. Young, fresh, creative and pushing the old master's backs to the wall. There is nary a doubt they really should be big news worldwide, unfortunately, as is the case with so many great bands today, they aren't. What they need is a break, like going out on the road with Santana, although without trying to sound disrespectful to that great band, I doubt they would be willing to take this bunch out, seeing as they would probably blow them off the stage!! The Tribe's main man is axe virtuoso Roy Z, who most of you probably know from Bruce Dickinson's band and going back even further to Project Driver in the late '80's. Roy has assembled an incredible band of young latin musicians, who do borrow liberally from the aforementioned legends, without stepping on any toes and maintaining their own creative edge. This is the band's third release. I believe they have only been available through Japan, but are certainly worthy of your monitary investment. The first two records featured Dean Ortega, of Neverland fame, on vocals and the newie unleashes the vocal talents of Greg Analla. Greg, for those of you not familiar with him, released two fine records with the band Seventhsign. He has quite a pair of lungs and fits in perfectly with his new band. What's Up is an aggressive latin fused rocker, with more of a slant toward the '90's than anything on their prior efforts. Summer Rain is a brilliant tune that harkens to mind the great band WAR from the '70's and gives the listener a taste of Greg Analla's superb vocals. Revolucion 13 is an earthshattering instrumental piece, all nine minutes of it, kind of like the Allman's In Memory of Elizabeth Reed with Carlos Santana playing lead guitar!! Check out Roy Z's killer fretboard frenzy on Landslide which leads into the beautiful duo of Spanish Blue and Collapse, and I dare any serious listener not to be totally won over by this band. This definitely falls into the buy or die category, so pester your local importer to bring this masterpiece ashore!
Midwestern Skies, December 1998 - Tom Coyne
Your beloved webmaster takes a shot at Revolucion 13. Run for cover !
Coming home after a rather bad day at work, I found the Revolucion 13 tape in my mailbox (thanks Chris!). I just fed it to my stereo and laid on my couch. And during the next hour or so, my day suddenly got brighter. Wanna know why ? Hey, why don't you first fix yourself a drink ? That's the spirit! Now, make yourself comfortable (drop the tie, dude!) and read on. The trip begins...
Aztlan, the album opener, is fittingly named after the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples. On top of latino percussions, eerie keyboards and guitars set an intriguing atmosphere. But soon the Earth starts to rumble to the sound of What's up? Like lava surging from unfathomable depths, the fiery chorus will consume your body and soul. Been messin' with that Molossian guitar again, hey Roy ? Anyway, by the time the closing lead hits, you'll be nothing but charred remains. And this is only the first song...
Fortunately, a cool Summer Rain soon washes over you, as refreshing as an ice-cold beer after a double shot of bourbon. Its subtle groove lets new vocalist Gregg Analla do a bit of the good ol' crooning thing, and boy, is he good at it ! Just when you thought the song was over, Roy comes up with a whirling guitar solo : one million ostinatos can't be wrong! Classy song.
That's not when you'd expect the Tribe to get...tribal on you. But hey, if you don't like surprises, go buy a Speed Metal album (can't believe I just wrote that!). Anyway, after a percussion intro that would leave Sepultura drooling, Revolucion 13 takes you onto a wild sonic journey. The first part is based on a victorious guitar riff (the kind you hear when Clint Eastwood proudly rides through the Sierra after whacking a whole gang of uglies). A flute and an Hammond organ make it sound even more epic (and oh-so-slightly over the top). As the last note dissolves, you suddenly find yourself immersed in the rainforest for a few instants, before the band launches into a mellow part allowing the mighty rhythm section to get groovy and all, while emerald arrows fly from Roy's six-stringed bow. But the journey has to end, and riding away from the forest, you'll yearn for a chance to go back.
Still bewildered by this magical experience, you'll soon be caught in an unexpected Landslide. Once again backed by those wild rhythm boys, Gregg unveils a more powerful part of his voice (no complaints whatsoever in this department). Gradually building in intensity, the song features a blazing solo (lightning fast but still tasteful) and ends at full tilt. Watch your step !
This time, soothing comes in the form of Spanish Blue. Its mellow and intimate atmosphere brings back memories of late nights in smoky clubs, and of walking home as the sun rises over the sleeping city. Truely beautiful. Gregg's performance is simply outstanding and Roy's solo is (once again) a masterpiece within a masterpiece.
Just when you thought that you had reached the pinnacle of emotion, Collapse takes you even higher (or is that deeper?). A sad song if you ever heard one, don't expect wild rhythms or fretboard wizardry here : just a bit of piano, a touch of percussion, a simple guitar melody and plenty of feeling. Gregg could have done it a cappella : his performance is so emotional that hardly any music is needed at all. If this was an Elton John tune, it would be all over the planet. Hello, is there a label in the house ? Wake up, this is Platinum material !
The next song, Mother's Cry, is my favorite so far. It's an 8+ minute manifesto of the Tribe's amazing songwriting and performing abilities, and every Prog Metal fan should hear it. Multiple percussion layers, spotless vocals and out-of-this-world guitar work : if you ask me, this is the kind of song Angra, Dream Theater and many others have aimed for in the last few years, without ever really hitting the bull's-eye. The Tribe has not only hit it, they've vaporized the damned target as well.
In comparison, Atzlan Reprise and Pancho Villa (part 1) sound a bit plain. With no lyrics, they're great party pieces for the rhythm section and I defy you to name all the instruments the guys use here. I'm clueless as far as percussions are concerned, so I'm certainly missing something. Atzlan Reprise expends on the opener's theme, adding more guitar and percussions : at some point, the Tribe almost sounds like a Carribean steel band! On the other hand, Pancho Villa (part 1) is much more tribal (for the lack of a better word) and will definitely appeal to fans of traditional music.
Anthem-like closer Freedom is a piece of Rock'n'Roll history, to put it simply. On top of a obssessive percussive pattern, Roy lays a 4+ minute melodic solo which is one of the greatest I've ever heard. We're in the Hendrix/Page league here. Yep, it's that good. I know many a solo guitarist who will listen again and again to this and think about early retirement. You think I'm pompous ? Check for yourself.
Is there any need for a conclusion ? Probably not, so I'll keep it short :
- if your idea of latino-flavored Rock is Ritchie Valens, you might want to fast forward 40 years and reconsider.
- if you went as far as Santana before losing your interest and getting caught in the chores of everyday life, here's your chance to rock again...and bring your kids too.
- if you're a Metal fan looking for awesome Heavy Rock, go no further. Welcome to the Tribe.
- if you think that Santana is the bass player of Coal Chamber, get lost. Maybe when you're older...
Viva la revolucion !