Tribulation - Children of the Night
Century Media
Death metal
10 songs (56:27)
Release year: 2015
Official Website, Century Media
Reviewed by Charles
Amazing that it’s taken me so long to review the new Tribulation album, but even more amazing that nobody else did it first- their previous album being what it was. For those not following the band, Tribulation progressed from promising but derivative old school Swedish death metal on 2009’s The Horror, before smashing through their rusty cage on The Formulas of Death; a massively ambitious album featuring longer and more complex songs, incorporating influences from progressive rock, gothic atmosphere and fragments of horror soundtracks. It was almost certainly my favourite metal album of the 2010s, until Morbus Chron’s Sweven showed up- coincidentally, another young, old-school-turned-prog death metal act from Sweden.

Anyhow, the band trailed this (and indeed the cover art seems to hint at it) as sort of the ‘light’ counterpart’ to that ‘dark’ predecessor. It is somewhat shorter, and the tracks are more obviously melodically-inclined. Comparisons like Dark Tranquility or Still Life-era Opeth often spring to mind. These are not parallels that really applied at all to Formulas…, but there is definitely a likeness in the way that death metal guitars and vocals are welded into very powerful melodic ideas (e.g. the marvellous guitar break in Strange Gateways Beckon has a Moonlapse Vertigo-like grandeur to it). Indeed there are many tracks here- the first three in a row, for a start- that could function very effectively as singles, given the lovely and highly polished balancing between insistent melodic hooks, tasteful organ highlights, and lovely lead guitar lines. The latter in particular are never show-offy but always have this quite sophisticated melodic construction to them- see Melancholia for the best example.

Some of the best moments are on the more brooding, proggy tracks, which quite explicitly draw on horror soundtracks for inspiration and hence seem less of a change in relation to the last album. Most obviously Strains of Horror, which revels happily in Goblin-inspired atmosphere, but which inevitably builds into a highly effective prog-death climax which once again channels Opeth; this time something from their later albums- the same kind of gently euphoric lead soloing we might find on Burden and the like.

As you might get from repeated references such as these, we are not dealing here with something that exudes experimentation and ambition, as Formulas of Death did. It feels more polished and focused, and more content to luxuriate in the Scandinavian melodic/progressive death metal traditions. But their execution is what sets them apart. Yes, it is melodeath, really, but it is certainly the classiest, top-of-the-range thing you could hope to find in the melodeath shop.

Killing Songs :
Strange Gateways Beckon, Melancholia, Strains of Horror
Charles quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Tribulation that we have reviewed:
Tribulation - Down Below reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
Tribulation - Formulas of Death reviewed by Charles and quoted 94 / 100
Tribulation - The Horror reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
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