Tribulation
Children of the Night

I’m not usually one to get to reeled in by hype. Even more so for Sweden’s Tribulation, who left me unimpressed in 2009 with a pretty standard Swedish death metal release, The Horror, then their death metal got all proggy and developed with the rather hyped  The Formulas of Death, a transition that really didn’t appeal to me either. But curiosity got the better of me with Children of the Night, seeing so much praise from friends and fellow reviewers alike, I  had to see what all the fuss was about.

And I’ll be god damned, Children of the Night is actually really good. Like one of the best albums of the year good.

With death metal far far in their mirror, Tribulation’s sound is hard to pin point; It’s a darkly sensual, swaying form of gothic, melancholic, progressive melodic doom/death metal/dark wave/rock. But its catchy as hell too. And while I’m having a hard time describing it, but if it were a wine, I’d be detecting subtle hues of Opeth, latter Sentenced, tones of The Doors, GoblinCeltic FrostSisters of Mercy, HIM and even Ghost BC. 

With an album  title culled from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and album art  from Louis Feuillade’s Les Vampires, the album (and bands attire) isn’t just visually vampyric, the darkly sensual riffs and the album’s entire auras is one of opulent romanticism laced with a dangerous, toxic, sense of hypnotic eroticism. It’s like a death metal sound track to The Vampire Lestat and Interview with a Vampire. But don’t get me wrong this isn’t wimpy or overly theatrical pap, there’s riffs,  serpentine, mesmerizing riffs that bury and burrow with an addictive, coppery taste.

From opener “Strange Gateways Beckon” with its haunting cello and piano and its smartly heralding opening riff, you, like vampyric lore are  being invited in, and you cant look away. The gruff vocals of Johannes Andersson keep things in the sort of death metal genre, so clean vocal nit pickers like me are satiated, but his vocals really do take a back seat to the music as 70s keyboards swirl around crunchy but smoky, restrained riffs, a throbbing bass and sensual atmospheres and moods.

Other than the opener, other standouts include the wonderfully haunting sway of instrumental “Själaflykt”, the deft 70s groove and twang of personal favorite “Holy Libations” , the languid, decadent haze of “Strains of Horror”, the erotic roll and tumble of “Winds” and the doomy lope of “Music from the Other”. The album closer “Laudanum Dreams” is another good one, ending the album on a surprisingly urgent note. In fact, only penultimate track “One Hundred years” was the only track that didn’t really hold my attention.

I had serious reservations about this album and this band, but for once it appears the hype has been a monumental success and Tribulation appear to be one of the rare acts to completely transform their prior safe, predictable sound into something special.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 18th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: timmy

    of similar sentiments…


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Been meaning to check this one out, I really enjoyed Formulas, even if it was a bit bloated. Digging the sounds of that promo track. Very inventive band indeed.


  3. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Love this record.


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