“Where the Gloom Becomes Sound”

By Dr. Abner Mality

This is the first time I’ve checked in with TRIBULATION in a while. Wow, I remember when these guys were filthy death metal and on Pulverised Records. No trace of that band remains here. The album title is a fairly good indicator of what you will find within. This is not head-crushing or neck breaking metal, but something more ethereal and haunting, while still retaining a metal edge. If GHOST is too poppy for you, TRIBULATION might be a good alternative that will let you keep your cred.

“Haunting” is indeed the best word for the dark melodicism here. This is neither black nor doom metal, but faint wisps of both can be detected. “Gothic” is another appropriate word, but in a different sense than “evening gown” metal like NIGHTWISH or WITHIN TEMPTATION. It conjures up images of abandoned ruins and empty cathedrals haunted by forlorn specters. And wow, is it hooky! “The Hour of the Wolf” is an almost perfect dark metal song, with “Elementals” and “Inanna” not far behind. The vocals are gruff and harsh, the most overt connection to TRIBULATION’s extreme metal past. The lead guitar has a mournful, almost languid sound as it glides over the riffs.

I get the impression that TRIBULATION doesn’t really care much about metal anymore, but are keeping some aspects of it to please long time fans. The result is a kind of elegant gloom that fills your mind like fog. Among metal bands that are more melodic than heavy, this sound is one of my favorites.