Reviewed: February 2018
Released: 2018, Century Media
Reviewer: Owen Thompson
Some bands just outstay their welcome. Unfortunately this is the case with Sweden’s Tribulation. They have been around since 2005 and have amassed an impressive body of work in that time (debut album “The Horror” is a particular delight), but alas the well appears to have run dry. Here are a band bereft of ideas and sunk by a sterile production job. The press release for the album speaks of evolution and maturity. It also says that they recorded in the same studio as the likes of ABBA and Europe which appears to have had a negative effect by proxy.
The album begins with “The Lament”, an exercise in lightweight frivolity. It limps and yaps like a sad toothless old terrier, and never hits any kind of mark. Maybe Joey Tempest was unavailable for a guest spot on the day it was recorded. “Nightbound” is in no way an improvement. In fact it had me wondering if it was merely a reprise of the opener. “Lady Death” is a tiresome tangle of toss, which although short still manages to seem like it lasts a fortnight. “Subterrenea” seems like it might offer a little surcease with its intricate piano intro, but is soon ruined by a melange of mawkish melodies.
“Purgatorio” is something of a relief; an interesting and slightly chilling instrumental, it provides something worth listening to at last. An off-kilter and nightmarish treat. Alas it is only a stay of execution. The album soon returns to yawnsville. “Cries From The Underworld” sounds like a five year old bashing away on his first guitar, and is as bland and uninspiring as can be. The aptly titled “Lacrimosa” is no improvement; it almost bored me to tears. The only appropriate way to describe “The World” is to say that it is like U2 dry humping Amon Amarth whilst Paradise Lost sits wanking in the corner. I’ll leave it at that. Album closer “Here Be Dragons” is the predictable album closing “epic”. It seems that the band were going for whimsical, powerful and mysterious, but they ended up with wet, castrated and vapid.
A once fine band have contrived to craft a charmless mess. The melodies are beyond hackneyed, and the once powerful and visceral vocals are now little more than an a wistful, asthmatic wheeze. The paucity of passion on show here make the listening experience akin to a dental extraction sans anasthetic. It says it all really that the most interesting bit of the album was the interlude in the middle, because it sounded nothing like the rest of it. My favourite part of the album was the silence that followed the last track.