Sunday, 24 May 2015
Album Review; Tribulation - The Children Of The Night
1. Strange Gateways Beckon
3. In The Dreams Of The Dead
6. The Motherhood Of God
7. Strains Of Horror
8. Holy Libations
9. Cauda Pavonis
10. Music From The Other
I face a problem when I approach Tribulation's new release, and that problem may take some explaining. You see, everywhere you look (at least, if you're only paying attention to the press) you will see waves upon waves of Occult Rock bands, Psychedelic Doom Metal Bands, Sludge Doom Metal bands, Death Doom Metal bands, Blackened Doom Metal bands, Doom Rock bands...etc. It's unescapable at the moment, and the bizarre thing for me is that there are a handful of these bands that stand out from this ridiculous, 70s-dressed crowd. For all the talk of the uncertainty in metal's future, everybody is constantly looking backwards.
Now, Tribulation stood originally as a sort of Death Metal band, and have what appears to be a respectably received back-catalogue of two albums. 2013's 'The Formulas of Death' saw the band make a slight sideways step out of the extreme territories that they inhabited, in lieu of scattered classic rock, progressive and blues influences. The album was, as stated, well received, though no doubt some fans turned tail instantly. However much people demonise those who they perceive as 'closed-minded' when it comes to a band's musical evolution, the issue has started to become rather apparent.
New record 'The Children Of The Night' has been instantly hit with utmost critical acclaim, and fair play to Tribulation for it. As it happens, it is a very well written record, the music flows very well, even if the vocals sometimes stick out from the much lighter music like a sore thumb. Take any track from the record; 'Winds' for example; musically, it comes from that same stomping ground of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, there are elements of The Doors in some of the melodies, but all transfused with the Dissection-like Swedish Extreme Metal aesthetic. The band cites post-Blaze Bailey Iron Maiden as a big influence, and the unafraid attitude that the compositional figureheads have taken in structuring these songs clearly shows through every track.
However, the issues come through between the cracks. Listen to that production quality and tell me they aren't trying to hark back to the 70s. Y'know; like Electric Wizard, Blood Ceremony, Saturnalia Temple, Jess And The Ancient Ones...and all the other occult based, doom laden bands coming out of the woodwork. A bizarrely well timed move on behalf of Tribulation, is it not? Let us be honest, this could easily whiff of contrivance; this band has slowed everything right down. Search for a blastbeat all you want, you wont find it. You would have before, on 'The Horror'.
However, look for ethereally subtle clean guitars and you'll overflow with them, look for reverb-doused drums and 70s-type guitar riffs, they are in every song. Again, look to every band citing the occult as a spiritual guide for their recorded and live so-called 'rituals' and you will find the same ingredients. The thing that you might not find in a lot of the other bands is originality and staying power. Do Tribulation differ on this album? Only time will tell, but I would be lying if I said this album was not well crafted and enjoyable. What I will remain unsure of is how honest it truly is, so this may stand as something of a 'guilty pleasure' for me. (And I do despise that phrase).
I will close this half-review, half state-of-the-union-address by simply urging people to remain open to all walks of metal. Mikael Akerfeldt and many others may have you believe that the likes of Death Metal, Black Metal or other Extreme Metal subgenres are all but out of ideas and quality, but if you take your own time to look around, instead of waiting for the press to drop bands on your laps, you will find a vast wealth of new bands with an axe to grind. By all means, stay open to this vast tsunami of Occult/Doom Metal/Rock that's not yet subsided. My own personal taste puts me off slightly, but I still maintain open ears in case there is a band to my liking that gets through the net of modern-day cheese. Tribulation may just be that band, I'll let you know after seeing them at Hellfest. For now, myself and 'The Children Of The Night' will maintain an uneasy friendship.