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on July 2, 2008
After Steel Pulse's 1st major debut album "Handsworth Revolution", an album that paid homage to the place they call home (Handsworth). Steel Pulse decided to think outside of the box with their revolutionary tactics, not only addressing the struggles in their own home town(s), but across the world.

"Unseen Guest" is a very bone chilling yet uplifting song that tells a story about a black freedom fighter in the slavery days, who must pay the price with being hanged.

"Sound System" is the only song on this album that was made in a fun state of mind in this album, yet it's still known as one of Steel Pulse's classics.

"Jah Pickney - R.A.R. (Rock Against Racism)" is addressing the problems with apartheid in Africa, but it also addresses racism that goes on all over the world.

"Tribute To The Martyrs" pays homage to all of the freedom fighters who died in the process.

"Babylon Makes The Rules" is about black people who lives in Babylon's under their system and is living in the struggle.

"Uncle George" pays homage to George Jackson, a Black American militant who became a member of the Black Panther Party while in prison, where he spent the last 12 years of his life. On August 21, 1971, three days before he was to go on trial, George Jackson was gunned down in the prison yard at San Quentin during an escape attempt. According to the state of California, lawyer-activist Stephen Bingham had smuggled a pistol concealed in a tape recorder into the prison to Jackson, who was housed in San Quentin's Adjustment Center time awaiting trial for the murder of a prison guard. On August 21, 1971, Jackson used the pistol, an Astra 9-mm semi-automatic, to take over his tier in the Adjustment Center. In the failed escape attempt, six people were killed, including prison guards Jere Graham, Frank DeLeon and Paul Krasnes, two white prisoners, and Jackson himself. Some prisoners who witnessed the event claim that there was no weapon and that Jackson had not been planning any escape or rebellion. Following the incident, Bingham fled the country, living in Europe for 13 years before surrendering in 1984 and returning to the United States to stand trial.

"Biko's Kindred Lament" pays homage the Stephen Bantu Biko (a.k.a. Steve Biko)a noted anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s.On 18 August 1977, Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967. He suffered a major head injury while in police custody, and was chained to a window grille for a day. On 11 September 1977 police loaded him in the back of a Land Rover, naked, and began the 1,500 km drive to Pretoria to take him to a prison with hospital facilities in order to treat the already near-dead Biko. He died shortly after arrival at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September. The police claimed his death was the result of an extended hunger strike. He was found to have massive injuries to the head, which many saw as strong evidence that he had been brutally clubbed by his captors.

And last but not least "Blasphemy (Selah)" is about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and talks about their faith in him.

Overall I give this album an A++, this album is perfect. It gives you what it offers in it's title "Tribute To The Martyrs", and still manage to have a different feeling to each song (no love song though, yet who needs one?). This is a must have even the great Bob Marley called it one of his favorite albums, and if that doesn't say a lot then you're not a true Reggae fan.
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on January 1, 2003
i bought this in the '80s and took it on my honeymoon to Negril Jamaica. back in the day of the ganja LOL
this is one of my all-time favorite reggae titles.
all songs are deep, meaningful and oozing with feeling.
the songs are mysterious, haunting, and in my ragamuffin mind, exemplify the Jamaican aura....that of rastas, the hills and outback of the bush, the nights the real people........
no, NOT hedonism and the tourist scene.
biko is perhaps one of the most plantiff songs i've ever heard, enough to make me cry.
tribute is otherwordly, with sounds inbetween the music that are aweinspiring........
incredible title...................get it mon
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on August 11, 1999
I have been a Steel Pulse fan for many years. I have purchased many of their albums and has had the honor of attending one of their concerts in the 1980's at the pier in manhattan at 42nd st & 12th av. This is why I can make an accurate statement that this is one of their best albums.My favorite song is "UNseen Guest". It is the most powerful song that I have ever heard until this day, and is my personal anthem. When I hear it, it gives me a rush of power and makes me feel that I can conquer any problem. I wish that they would write more songs like this one.
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on November 24, 2000
Funny, I thought I had written a review of this album but I don't see it now.
This is a great great album. I picked it up on a whim 20 years ago and still love it. I am not a dedicated fan of the group. Other albums have some high points but their later stuff, what I have heard of it, with a stripped down lineup, seems thin by comparison.
Complex and insistent, an urgency infuses everything. So strong is the apparant inspiration going on that most every song includes a beautiful intro section which is only slightly related to the main song.
Then there is David Hind. His beautiful singing/chanting is unique and powerful. He fits dense phrasing into the intertwined rhythms in a manner that should have spawned an entire genre.
The song Tribute To The Marytrs seemed to me. in the early 80's, to be something akin to what hip hop would evolve into. Overthrowing the lame two beat and hackneyed rhymes for something much richer and far more complex.
Instead it was just a moment. So listen to David's beautiful call, "all and all", and savor the moment.
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on October 25, 2000
This is not only the most underrated and underappreciated reggae album, it is the most underappreciated album period. This is one of the ten best albums released by any group, not just Steel Pulse. It is one of my favorites and I listen to nearly every genre in music, including jazz. Every song is intense, flawless at the rhythmic level, and inspiring. This is a militant album, which is perhaps why it is so overlooked, but this is its strength. The material here inspires the band to reach heights they would never reach again, and came close to in Handsworth Revolution. Every song belongs amongst reggeas best, the lyrics on some are as good as Bob Marley's militant lyrics on Natty Dread and Burning. Proverbs and quotes by prominent figures throughout black history are littered throughout, all to great affect. It is rare to get absolute chills during a song, but at least three songs on this album accomplish the feat. Their is a moment at the end of Unseen Guest ("trod to victory"), where I nearly have an out of body experience without fail. The material is sad, and uplifting at the same time, it reminds the listener not just of horrors from the past, but also of hope and redemption. This album should inspire every type of person, there is no one who would not be touched. Never mind that this album jams. One of the essential albums in any genre. A must own for reggae fans, or any fan of music
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on January 26, 2016
Really the first 4 at least by Steel Pulse grade at five stars for me. My favorites are probably this and Hanesworth Revolution which both have a more rootsy sound to them. The follow ups True Democracy and Earth Crisis are also fantastic for ultra polished but still incredible reggae music. The original vinyl sounds outstanding on a quality pair of headphones. You should check out Steel Pulse if you like Marley, Tosh, Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, and the other greats.
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on April 12, 2010
Would start by saying almost everything by Steel Pulse is worth having. This is definately a good record. Not as catchy, or commercial as some would say, as True Democracy. A little more of an old school sound than there other records.
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on March 28, 2000
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on August 2, 2001
Start to finish, it is one of the most satisfying reggae music albums you will ever hear.
Love it. Peace.
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on July 23, 1999
Yes I. A lot of Steel Pulse fans seem to have missed this one to review. "Tribute" was their second album and it is a scorcher. It is a much more militant album than Handsworth, and the rhythms are faster. The album addresses black martyrs and present politics. What is truly outstanding about this album? Each song has an introductory theme that lasts for a few seconds before the actual song begins. These introductions are incredibly diverse in musical range, revealing just how amazingly versatile Pulse is at crossing reggae with other musical genres without compromising, especially with jazz. I highly recommend this album after Handsworth Revolution.
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