Tribunal
The Weight of Remembrance

I’ve been working through writer’s block for months now, and nowhere near my normal standard of productivity. I’m at the stage where I am wondering if I have anything to add to the heavy music stratosphere, or if anyone cares about my voice. You know, existential bullshit.

Anyway, here I am, a couple of dick and/or fart jokes away from this getting out of control and meandering, but I swear I’m going to give the debut of Tribual, The Weight of Remembrance the justice it deserves. This is easily, without any close competition, the album I have listened to the most this year, and I’ve had it for about a week. Death doom had itself one hell of a last few months of 2022 and the iron is scorching in 2023.

When the intro of “Initiation” begins, you already know what you’re getting into. If you’re into The Peaceville Three, then you’ll be up for this. The cello, which is present in the intro, but also throughout the rest of the album, adds of course that haunting layer for which it was intended. The sorrowful, mournful chords and structure, with that bell accentuating the down beat, brings on some almost unexpected growled vocals. The chorus, which is a call and response featuring gorgeous female vocals, and male growls is borderline flawless.

When the vocals kick in on the second track, “Of Creeping Moss and Crumbled Stone,” that heavy riff gives me some strong Temple of Void vibes when they go hard and just slam those balls on the table. Once again, Soren Mourne’s female vocals carry a haunting hook, and it already seems like this band, despite it being their debut, knows how to craft a hell of a death doom song stronger than most of their competitors.

If you’ve made it this far, my only complaint is that it’s difficult to pick a standout track. Not because there aren’t any, but quite the opposite. In “A World Beyond Shadow,” I love the vocal trade off. Soren’s haunting female vocals in the verses with that crunchy guitar tone, as well as Etienne’s growls make it hard not to say this is the best track. Of course there’s an “OUGH” in there, too, so I’m a sucker for that. I also enjoy the faster section near the end. This could be a song of the year candidate. Damn it, I said a standout was difficult.

To close this masterpiece (yeah, I said it), is “The Path,” which is the longest track at slightly over 12 minutes (which is probably 11 minutes longer than my longest “performance”). This track does sum up the band. It’s not very heavy until around 4 minutes in when the riff stomps on your face, and the growls come in. I certainly wish the pace of the track was a little more furious, but I see what they were trying to do, and showcasing that cello at the end is a good choice.

I think I made it clear how much I am digging this debut and I can’t even begin to explain how it feels seminal. Out of all the great examples of the style from last year, including Candlemass, Mother of Graves, and Dream Unending, I have to say Tribunal eclipses them all. Don’t sleep on it like I did, as this is sure to be on many year-end lists.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 16th, 2023

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