Swedish Intuition Part II– Adam Zaars of Tribulation

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For Part II of our interview with Adam Zaars of Tribulation, Ghost Cult’s Armen Haczmerian touched on a few more topics surrounding the new release, The Children of the Night (Century Media). It will be released in a few different formats. Century Media has also prepared a special box release with extras such as… a pendant with cord. But jokes aside, the band has added a couple of extra tracks to that release.

There will be two bonus songs on the CD. One of them is ‘Laudanum Dreams’, we had released on our last 7″ we were selling on our last tour in America. The other one is a cover of The Cure’s ‘One Hundred Years’. We like this song and recording it went really well. There are also two demo songs on a 7 inch EP, which is also included in the box release. Also, we might publish another cover we recorded in the future. I can’t reveal anything now, you will find out soon (laughs).”

Signing to one of the biggest players in heavy metal market, Century Media, which is another shift from band’s recent stance on big labels. But Adam offers a firm clarification.

Century Media has been great so far. To make things clear – we wouldn’t have signed a deal with any label that didn’t put us in full control when it comes to song writing. The reason we signed was purely commercial – to get a better promotion… and so far it seems to be working! We don’t regret not signing to a bigger label before releasing The Formulas of Death. But we’ve always known we’re something else… shape-shifters, I guess”, Adam chooses his words carefully but with confidence. “I think it was the right time for us to show everyone what Tribulation is really about. It was great to work with Invictus and Ajna Offensive, but we can’t stay in one place for too long. So when we got a real chance to show everyone what Tribulation is, we made the decision.”

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Tribulation hit the road again in April, before going on European tour with Melechesh and Keep of Kalesin in May. Adam speaks of the band’s touring plans for the next few months.

We have not many festival dates confirmed as yet, but we’re playing at Tons of Rock in Norway in June. We will be at Temples Festival in Bristol in May, and Hellfest in France a month later as well. We are not planning a UK tour at the moment, but we play at London’s Incineration Fest, and Temples so at least we have two dates in the UK now (laughs).”

Speaking of touring, there were huge controversies on Tribulation’s recent Polish tour with Behemoth, who were the headliner. One show in Poznan was cancelled, and all the supporting bands played in a different (and smaller) club.

Well, it’s quite bizarre, I’d say. Especially for us, coming from a very secular country like Sweden. It would never happen over here! It was a huge shame, that local government was persuaded by religious fanatics, and managed to get the show cancelled. Those groups of catholics were protesting outside venues on every show. But that was fine! It actually helped the tour (laughs). However, it’s ok to speak your mind up, but if you try censoring, it just turns really ugly.”

Tribulation are destined for success, as their music gather new auditorium, and their style expands further beyond the frames of death metal. But while we can be sure the band will be constantly evolving, Adam does not rule out a return to more vicious and primal variety. Perhaps teaming up with Tobias Forge again, and doing another long-awaited Repugnant record would be an idea?

Of course! I still listen to the extreme music, so I’m still into it. Tribulation is a journey, it’s something else now, and also at the moment I’m quite busy with the band. But in the future, why not?”

ARMEN HACZMERIAN

Swedish Intuition – Adam Zaars of Tribulation

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Sweden – one of the strongholds of metal music. Year after year bands from that part of Europe storm the scene, breaking through to the top of the heavy metal charts worldwide. One of the most recent examples is Tribulation. Ten years after their inception, the band takes the global stage with signing a recording deal with Century Media, and the upcoming release of their eagerly anticipated third LP, The Children of the Night. Tribulation have confirmed their aspirations by going on American tour with two of the biggest extreme bands to roam the stages around the world today – Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth in February and March.

It was fantastic tour to be on.” says Adam Zaars, part of the guitar force of Tribulation. “Touring with two of the biggest bands in extreme metal nowadays was a pleasure, and the people showed up early for our performances, which was amazing.”

And there is nothing surprising about fans’ reaction. Tribulation’s reputation as excellent performers is growing.

We started 5.30PM in some days, and they were there to watch our shows! That was also probably the easiest tour we have been on so far. Both headlining bands are huge and extremely professional. But they are also great people, and they took good care of us (laughs). We shared our bus with other Swedish band, Aeon, so we had a really good time.” adds Adam.

The new record of the Swedish quartet is a massive statement and a demonstration of musical and technical abilities. It is also a perfect example how right influences can make your music unique.

So who are “The Children of the Night”?

It describes the band but also everybody who listens to the album. But most of it it’s a description of our personalities that make Tribulation.”

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The new music is even more melodic and atmospheric than The Formulas of Death. And there is something that bonds Tribulation with other Swedish bands like Dissection, Tiamat, Opeth, Morbus Chron, or Ghost B.C.

I guess what links our music to Dissection and all those bands you’ve mentioned is Swedish folk music. It’s played a big role in our lives. It’s something we grew up with. It’s in our blood.”

One of the highlights of the new album is epic ‘Winds’ – its construction, melodies, Gothic theatrical atmosphere resembles of that of Cradle of Filth from late ’90’s. Are Tribulation secret worshippers of the controversial Suffolk band?

No, you’re not correct (laughs). Actually we’ve never listened to them… But maybe you are right, I don’t really know as I never listened to their music, but this is the first time someone has found this similarity (laughs).”

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The Children of the Night is a logical consequence of Tribulation’s musical development through the years. Some bands want to remain in certain formula, the other want completely new approach every time they enter the studio. Adam is clear on this matter.

We didn’t really sit down and plan anything. I actually thought the album will turn out quite differently – I thought it was going to be a lot longer, more spacey and ambient (laughs) but it turned out to be something else. We try to never think about the end product. We try to rely on our intuition. And this is what we’ve always done, I guess.”

The new album is very well produced, and an ear will catch that a lot more time was given for putting everything the right place. Adam voiced his disappointment with studio time in the past, but this time he is happier about the comfort of putting everything together in the studio.

We spent 4 weeks recording it. We have wanted four more weeks to be honest. But sometimes you can only get limited time. But we feel we managed to do it well anyway. I mean, sometimes you work better when you’re under pressure. But time spent in studio was for us really inspiring. In fact, we moved around. We had three main studios: first one for the drums, second one for guitars, bass and vocals, and the third one for all the other additional instruments. It was very satisfying, actually.”

That may sound like a lot of hassle, and be potentially distracting. But having been on a budget, that was the most optimal decision the band had to make to achieve the best possible sound quality. Mr. Zaars goes into more detail.

It was all pulled together by Ola Ersfjord, our producer. It was purely economic solution. We wanted to record the drums in a proper room, but it turned out our budget was too tight to do the whole work there! So we moved to Nicke Andersson’s new studio, located in his basement. It was like a playground almost for us (laughs). Overall it was a great experience, because every studio was different, and we’re always looking forward to something new”.

ARMEN HACZMERIAN

Xibalba – Tierra y Libertad

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Metalcore is one of the more divisive tags in the world of heavy music; labelling bands like The Devil WearsPrada or August Burns Red with this term causes huge controversy within the metal and hardcore communities. But there are still a few bands out there who want to show the true meaning of this word. Californian ensemble Xibalba are a great example how mixing metal and hardcore can produce devastating results.

Xibalba’s previous two albums, Madre Mia Gracia Por Los Dias and Hasta La Muerte (both Southern Lord) had shown great potential, with the band picking up right inspirations from both doom and death metal worlds and adding a great deal of heaviness to hardcore grooves. However their monolithic density was a tad over-used and at times became slightly monotonous.

Although the mix is not as condensed as on the previous LP’s, make no mistake Tierra y Libertad (Southern Lord) takes no prisoners – it’s a crushing conglomerate of death, sludge metal and hardcore and a massive step forward for Xibalba. Those super-heavy riffs have been retained but with a more creative use of dynamics.

Xibalba continues to create their own style, richly drawing on the ferocity and brutality found in the works of Morbid Angel, Asphyx and on the early Machine Head albums. Mid-paced tempos are as crushing as on any Incantation or Crowbar album. Tierra y Libertad concludes with almost 13-minutes ‘El Vacio’, a sludge/doom-metal orgy with a touch of Neurosis – a perfect ending for this behemoth of an album.

Recorded with Taylor Young of Nails and Twitching Tongues, the man also responsible for the sound on their last album, the production is rich and thick – proof positive, that you don’t change a winning formula. Tierra y Libertad is an album that will redefine the perception of modern Metalcore: a ferocious dose of venom and bile which will shatter barriers between doom, sludge and hardcore which will gain favour with fans of both scenes.

 

8.0/10

Xibalba on Facebook

 

ARMEN HACZMERIAN

Godflesh: Live At Sound Control, Manchester UK

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Those who have ever witnessed Godflesh performing live in the past, could not have been more delighted after the announcement of upcoming UK tour in August. The release of well-received A World Lit Only by Fire, one of the most anticipated returns in alternative music, whetted fans appetites even further.

When I entered Sound Control in Manchester, I am greeted with a pleasing view of crowd, consisting of metal heads, industrial and core fans, shoulder to shoulder gathered in great anticipation.


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Clouds of vapour embrace the equipment on stage, and here they are – two men who influenced bands like Faith No More or Korn, but have forever remained in the music underground.

And it is Godflesh at their best – G.C. Green operates his bass with industrial tool precision, and the legend himself, Justin Broadrick, shreds his guitar in uncompromising manner, filling the room with unmistakable vicious and razor-sharp riffs.

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A laptop connected to stage equipment plays ruthless beats that can only means one – a hell of a performance. Around 200 other people rhythmically headbang in approval.

First half of the gig contains purely of new material. And the performance is even better than on the album! The greatest difference make Justin’s vocals. He apologises for throat infection that cause him problems to perform clean vocal parts, but the audience does not mind at all – vocals are much more harsh and brutal than on studio recordings. A delightful and unexpected occurrence.

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After performing six songs from the latest album, fans become more animated after hearing familiar notes of ‘Christbait Rising’, ‘Streetcleaner’ or ‘Crush My Soul’.

The gig finishes with encore, long-demanded ‘Like Rats’, on which the audience responds with wild pogo dance. To wrap up Godlfesh great performance, Justin Broadrick give improvised display of guitar cacophony. Combining with creative stage lighting this turns into a spectacular finale.

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Mr. Broadrick nods and discretely exits the stage. A monster in average Joe skin.

But satisfied fans, slowly leaving the club, are left with fantastic memories of one of the most non-average performances in Manchester this year.

Godflesh are back, and they are better that ever.

 

Godflesh is too cool for Facebook

WORDS: ARMEN HACZMERIAN

PHOTOS: KIRSTEN HEL