2015 was a big year for Tribulation, and The Children of the Night (Century Media) quickly garnered them a lot of media attention for delicately weaving together Classic Rock, Prog and psychedelia, to create a haunting, depraved tale that was as much in common with Hawkwind as it did Mercyful Fate. They elevated their musical ambitions from 2013’s The Formulas of Death (Invictus), with its suffocating combination of Death and Black metal, and produced a record that not only exposed them to a much broader audience but set expectations at an all-time high. Three years later Tribulation has brought us Down Below (Century Media), continuing their evolution from morbid death-rattlers to fully fledged Occult Rock-stars. Continue reading
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.”
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?”
Having started off like so many Swedish death metal bands by worshipping at the putrid altar of Entombed on debut album The Horror (Pulverised), Arvika upstarts Tribulation clearly weren’t content to merely rehash the work of the elders, as demonstrated by sophomore record The Formulas of Death (Invictus), a lengthy concept piece that won them many admirers despite not straying too far from established templates. All that has changed now with third effort The Children of the Night (Century Media), which save for snarled vocals and horror themed lyrics, is a classic heavy metal record, far more interested in melody and catchy songs than aggression and violence.
Aided by a lo-fi, vintage production which isn’t a million miles away from the kind of vibe Opeth have been cultivating on their past two albums, the music on The Children of the Night rarely gets above mid-paced; those who came here expecting blastbeats and tremolo picking will be sorely disappointed. Instead we get some fantastic guitar interplay between Adam Zaars and JonathanHulten that dart and weave amidst each other like a pair of bats dancing at twilight.
A lot of influence appears to have been taken from both Watain’s Lawless Darkness (Century Media), and last year’s final In Solitude record Sister (Metal Blade), especially on the vaguely groovy gothisms of ‘In the Dreams of the Dead’, while the sinister melodies and big stomping riffs of ‘Winds’ is like Iron Maiden if Steve Harris was forced to watch repeated showings of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
There’s also a strong yet subtle Sisters of Mercy feel to the album, noticeably on the achingly hip ‘The Motherhood of God’ with its irresistibly danceable rhythms and morose, melodic verses. The songwriting throughout the record is full of surprises, from the catchy chugging riffs of opener ‘Strange Gateways Beckon’ to the mysterious doomy refrains of closing track ‘The Motherhood of God.’ One gripe is that the record is ten minutes too long and where instrumentals should be used to build atmosphere, the two tracks here go nowhere and should have been culled. That said, The Children of the Night is a brave record from an exceedingly talented set of musicians who are just that more subtle when it comes to what style of darkness works best.