Over the last few years, the explosion of bands playing a hybrid of metal and hardcore has had sweeping effects over the entire heavy music industry. The number of mid-level bands struggling for their piece of an over-crowded market has grown to astronomical numbers, while those lucky enough to get proper marketing and distribution are finally enjoying a decent bit of mainstream success. Among the labels that has been most successful achieving exposure for their artists is Ferret Music, who have quickly become a major player in the independent music industry. It is extremely satisfying to see Twelve Tribes, a band that has long struggled to find their niche both musically and professionally, release their Ferret Music debut, a record that will undoubtedly garner them the acclaim they have long deserved. "The Rebirth Of Tragedy" is, in many ways, a "rebirth" for the band themselves. After spending the better part of two years writing and shopping their new material, briefly changing their name to Prodigal Zoo in 2003 and shifting a few key members, the band has re-emerged with an album that tops their 1999 debut "As Feathers To Flowers and Petals to Wings" in every way. There are a few immediately noticeable changes that Twelve Tribes have made to their sound that shouldn't surprise anyone who had the privelege of hearing their various demos during the last few years. First, there has been a very strong infusion of melody into their song structures. This has definitely not come at the expense of heaviness or technicality, a sacrifice made all too often by metal bands. Second, Adam Jackson has added a variety of styles to his vocal repertoire. In addition to his distinctive growl, there are also the occassional Chuck D-esque outbursts of fast-paced rhyming (as in "Baboon Music" and "Chroma") and the increased presence of a slightly cleaner scream. Aside from the increase in melody and vocal growth, Twelve Tribes have not strayed too far musically from their previous releases, instead growing into their previously established style of songwriting quite effectively. The guitar riffs are catchier, the drums are tighter and the strength of the album's production lets the bass shine through more than ever. My only real complaint about the overall sound of the record is the processing of the guitar on a few tracks. The computer effect occassionally sounds awkward, most noticeably on the disc's opening riff. Otherwise, engineer Eric Rachel at Trax East has put together one of the most crisp hardcore records in recent memory. Bottom Line: For the last six years or so, Twelve Tribes has been an immensely talented band on the verge of truly breaking into the upper echelon of metal-core bands and "The Rebirth Of Tragedy" should effectively acheive that and far more. I wouldn't be surprised to see songs like "The Train Bridge" or "Baboon Music" tear up Headbanger's Ball or hard rock radio charts as hardcore and metal break even further into the mainstream consciousness. It's truly great to see such a great band (and great group of guys) poised to receive the recognition they so clearly deserve.