Release Date: Jan 26, 2018
Record label: Century Media
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Tribulation is an interesting case of a band that began in a rather solid manner but evolved into something different and eventually more interesting. Much like a few select ‘90s acts – Paradise Lost, The Gathering and Anathema come to my mind – their first couple of albums raised some eyebrows but a shift in sound arguably resulted in something better. Of course, Tribulation’s first couple of albums weren’t as influential or genre-defining (or even genre-bending) as those by the aforementioned outfits, but there is an apparent quality or a feeling in Down Below that can be compared only to the one I felt as a kid by certain ‘90s bands.
With Swedish metal band Tribulation, conversation often orbits around genre and how to classify them. Whether you subscribe to their classification as a death or black metal band, there is something undeniably unique about Tribulation and their brand of metal — whatever that may be. The confusion stems from an abrupt transition between their sophomore release, The Formulas of Death, and their third, The Children of the Night. Tribulation abandoned their patented death metal sound for one decidedly less heavy, but far more interesting.
Three years ago, Tribulation needed listeners to know it could still sound hard. In the space of just three albums, the corpsepaint-cloaked Swedes had moved from a debut of dead-ahead death metal to an imaginative flirtation with the genre’s more progressive fringes, and, finally, to 2015’s The Children of the Night, a proudly theatrical record that cut the band’s devilish menace with playful psychedelics and arena-sized hooks. That album remains one of the decade’s decisive metal triumphs, its occult anthems every bit as ominous as accessible.