Tribulation
Down Below


4.0
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
January 29th, 2018 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Down Below, Tribulation seem to have finally perfected their current sound.

Tribulation is an interesting case of a band that began in a rather solid manner but evolved into something different and eventually more interesting. Much like a few select ‘90s acts – Paradise Lost, The Gathering and Anathema come to my mind – their first couple of albums raised some eyebrows but a shift in sound arguably resulted in something better. Of course, Tribulation’s first couple of albums weren’t as influential or genre-defining (or even genre-bending) as those by the aforementioned outfits, but there is an apparent quality or a feeling in Down Below that can be compared only to the one I felt as a kid by certain ‘90s bands.

Yes, it is easy to associate these guys with vampires but there is an underlying quality that makes them more like Bram Stoker’s Dracula or The Raven than Twilight. The gothic element feels sincere and deep, not banal. There is an emphasis on the darkness of the night and the feelings it can evoke to a human being rather than superficial romance. However, the aesthetics consist only half of the charm as they are complimented perfectly by – dare I say – pop-ish melodies and a focus on songwriting. Down Below reeks of gothic atmosphere but cannot be characterized as gothic metal in the sense that Paradise Lost defined the sound. The band’s black and death metal elements combined with their approach towards melodies and their aesthetics might make their music equally enjoyable to fans of Cradle of Filth, Fields of the Nephilim and Ghost.

Album highlight (and overture of a kind) “The Lament” feels like a statement of where Tribulation were heading with their previous release. Melancholic, melodic but very well-structured and with a strong sense of melody, the entire album feels like a more refined version of The Children of the Night. There is a sense of urgency and clear direction throughout the LP which feels rather cinematic, an element that seems very important to the Swedish outfit. What is more, “Nightbound” and “Subterranea” are two representative samples of how these guys complement their ideas by using their very fitting harsh/whispering vocals as an instrument and combine them with clever guitar fills and leads. Stating that the guitarwork in “Cries from the Underworld” is quite influenced by more traditional metal (Mercyful Fate, for example) wouldn’t be a significant reach and is another reason for the appeal of this record.

Structure-wise, another smart decision by the Scandinavians is that they allow their songs to breathe by creating simple bridges. In fact, most songs are mostly simple affairs as they are based on one idea around which each track revolves. That is not to say that the songwriting is simplistic, but the mainstream, for extreme metal, nature of their songs combined with the consistent approach towards songwriting might be a deal breaker for some listeners.

It remains to be seen whether Down Below will have significant replay value but everything sounds so meticulously crafted that each listen results in a different highlight. Everything that Tribulation seem to have lost in aggression, they have gained in haunting atmosphere and hooks. Granted, their more mainstream approach might not be for everyone but those who appreciate song-based songwriting are in for one hell of a ride.



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user ratings (184)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The sword in the darkness...

Lord Pork (4.5)
Trudging onto darker pathways....


Comments:Add a Comment 
BlackwaterPork
January 29th 2018


4173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent job mate, top notch review

manosg
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2018


11149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wanted to review this one earlier but real life got in the way. Now I can finally enjoy reading Pork and Chamb's reviews.



edit: Hah, you're fast Pork.

Digging: Carriage - Visions

BlackwaterPork
January 29th 2018


4173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's what she said hah ha ha... ha



I'm a disappointment

brainmelter
January 29th 2018


5676 Comments


ayy, want to hear this. last one was fun

Digging: Banana Head - Phones the Public

DoofusWainwright
January 29th 2018


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Posh band name, not bad album. Previous one was slightly better.

Hellscythe
January 29th 2018


2825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they took the melody and gothic rock influences even further which is exactly what i hoped they would do so this is their best for me

EvoHavok
January 29th 2018


7573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Tribulation where heading" - were

"allow their songs to breath" - breathe



Sweet read, manos! Album is stellar and makes me more hyped for the gig I'm going to in March.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2018


11149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Evo! Will Tribulation be the headliners?

EvoHavok
January 29th 2018


7573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No, they're opening for Insomnium.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2018


23903 Comments


that's an interesting pairing

manosg
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2018


11149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never checked Insomnium tbh. Are they any good?

BlackwaterPork
January 29th 2018


4173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Insomnium are really good, check above the weeping world and since the day it all came down

EvoHavok
January 29th 2018


7573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@TheSpirit

Definitely. Not sure how much their main fanbases coalesce, but it should be fun.



@manos

Sure, one of the best melodeath bands. Try their last album or their third.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2018


11149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys, will do. They seem to be quite popular on here.

bigguytoo9
January 29th 2018


450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty awesome album. These guys are really good live too, caught em a couple times.

emester
January 29th 2018


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Listening now and as expected, its a solid effort. Will say though that Strange Gateways Beckon is a tremendously better opener than The Lament

Digging: Manilla Road - Crystal Logic

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2018


2546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Seeing the band as support to Arch Enemy in a couple of weeks. Really can't wait, I've heard their live performance is pretty awesome.

Digging: Finnr's Cane - Elegy

emester
January 29th 2018


8249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their live shows are spectacular. The showmanship is insanely good.

Hawks
January 29th 2018


58663 Comments


Pumped to hear this one. m/

Digging: Eucharist - A Velvet Creation

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2018


55975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn, glad I checked this

Digging: Dad Thighs - Easy Listening



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