Tribulation – The Children of the Night ALBUM REVIEW

This is certainly not the album I was expecting this to be, at least based on what information I had on this. The place I got this album at had it tagged Heavy Metal/Black Metal/Thrash. And seeing the very dark, gothic cover, I figured this would be much more black metal than anything else, with some heavy riffs and thrash stuff thrown in. And when I heard the ominous, lo-fi organ intro I figured that would indeed be the case. And then the rest of the album started and it was nothing like I thought it would be, as you can see by the tags I gave it. I tried to think of a single word to describe the music, and it was pretty tricky. My first thought was maybe groovy, but that didn’t really work at all. Riffy doesn’t really work, as this isn’t really riff based as much as it is solo and melody based. So then I figured “how about rockin’?”. Yeah, that sounds good, this album is rockin’. As appose to the common practice of imposing rhythm on the listener through chugging low chords, this band does it the old fashioned way, through clean strumming of rhythm chords where you can actually tell what chord it is, and then changing that chord based on the chord progression. You know, how bass is down in pretty much any other genre besides extreme metal. I honestly think the rhythm guitar is the best part about this LP, in that it really creates a driving, moving forward aspect of the music that isn’t necessarily something you headbang to, but something that gets you into the song and makes you say to yourself “yeah, alright!”. Unlike a lot of albums I’ve reviewed, this never sounds like it’s in stasis, it’s always going somewhere. The second best aspect would be the solos, which are refreshingly old school without sounding like it doesn’t belong in this day and age.

If there is one thing that really brings down this album however, it’s the vocals. It’s not that they’re bad, just REALLY out of place. I was immensely confused when I first heard growls next to the extremely clean absolutely everything else. Now, I don’t necessarily think that rough vocals with very clean production can’t be executed well (though I’ve never heard this marriage in a way I thought was done right), but here I don’t think there’s a single moment in the album where I don’t think that clean vocals would sound better. Then there’s also the length. At 57 minutes and 10 tracks, including 2 instrumentals (which are actually pretty fantastic if I do say so), it feels like the album overstays its welcome. While the last track on the album is the longest track, it is definitely a big change from the rest of the album, in that it’s very rough and much more black metal based than any of the other tracks (in fact it’s the only black metal based track on the album). The second instrumental, while certainly nice sounding and all, feels very unnecessary, especially after a very strong 8th track that seemed to tie the album together well. Really, taking out the last two tracks altogether wouldn’t inflict any harm at all, probably even improving it.

I’m starting to realize more and more how awesome heavy metal can sound if done right. Metal that is riff and melody based always tickles my classically trained bone(r) without any of the wankery that can come from such things. Mixed in with a gothic ideal that isn’t done as a cringeworthy corsetfest and you have a compelling album that breaks the mold of Swedish death metal into something cleaner, yet with just enough edge to stay interesting.


8/10

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