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The Horror
March 2009
Released: 2008, Pulverised Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

The Swedes attack from every direction nowadays… at least as far as the country´s high quality metal scene is concerned. Now feel free to add Tribulation from Arvika on this large map as well (not to be confused with Tribulation from Surahammar, Sweden).

This furious and unquestionably talented foursome´s blend of death and black metal shows off a really deadly mixture from both genres, surely sending the blood boiling in your circulation system in sheer excitement from the very first chords of “Crypts of Thanatophilia”. I mean, Tribulation´s attempt to find a balance between dark sounding, heavy and fast death metal and keyboard-free, melodic black metal couldn´t possibly sound more successful and impressive than it is offered on the band´s debut album THE HORROR. I even have enough courage to say that Tribulation brings us the very best elements of this so-called ´blackened death metal´ genre on their brilliantly executed debut record, reminding me strongly of such respected forces from the vast Swedish extreme metal scene as Satanic Slaughter, Dissection and especially Necrophobic. A viciously moving maelstrom of down-tuned, Christ-nailing riffs, wicked arm-cutting solos, insane drumming, splendidly done tempos and passages - and like a true, last lethal strike into its victim´s skull, Johannes´ demonic vocal outbursts, are what make this album such a highly enjoyable ride, through the hotly burning fields of the netherworld and back. Also, as good as THE HORROR is as just a debut album of theirs, I think there are surely even finer moments to be expected from these four fine Swedish lads. THE HORROR is only a grand opening from them…

The staff of Singaporean-based Pulverised Records can also consider themselves a bunch of lucky bastards for signing this great finding Tribulation for their roster. Undoubtedly we´ll hear a lot of more from this band in the future. Wanna bet my worn-out leather underpants for that? No, you don´t, I guess. ;o)
Track Listing

01. Into the Jaws of Hell
02. Crypt of Thanatophilia
03. Curse of Resurrection
04. Beyond the Horror
05. The Vampyre
06. Sacrilegious Darkness
07. Spawn of the Jackal
08. Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh
09. Graveyard Ghouls


Johannes Andersson - Vocals and bass
Jonathan Hultén - Guitar
Adam Zaars - Guitar
Jakob Johansson - Drums

Other reviews

» The Horror
by Luxi Lahtinen

» The Horror
by Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus

» The Formulas of Death
by UK Team

Next review: » Tribulation - The Horror
Previous review: » Tribulation - The Formulas of Death

The Horror
June 2009
Released: 2009, Pulverised Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus

Has Swedish death metal become a cliché? Should a metal listener expect only to hear copies and sterile permutations on the familiar themes of bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Amon Amarth, and Opeth? Is there anything Scandinavian worth listening to anymore that hasn’t been beaten into the ground? I can’t answer a single one of those questions – but I do know is that the debut album of Sweden’s thrashy death metal act Tribulation is an absolute scorcher that every metalhead worth his salt needs to buy.

THE HORROR sounds little like any the Swedish “trademark” previously mentioned, and they don’t seem to care a lick. Tribulation is mostly interested in launching one penetratingly sharp riff after another atop of thrashy double bass and grinding blastbeats. Like thrash metal is supposed to be, this is pretty fast stuff, but the band doesn’t try to push speed limits like common underground black metal acts feel boringly compelled to do. No, Tribulation is a much better band than the average group of long-haired, Northern alcoholics.

Beginning on sixteen seconds of a brief, but marvelously creepy piano intro, THE HORROR gets off to a rollicking start with the mesmerizing “Crypt of Thanatophila.” Judging by the song titles, it is easy to assume that vocalist J. Andersson enjoys screaming about zombies and other standard-bearing metal lyrical subjects – but there’s no such thing as too many metal albums featuring the walking dead. Each new song unleashes an impressive host of necrotic, pulverizing riffs that inspire neck-breaking headbanging.

Killer riffs aside, Tribulation knows how to write a compellingly dark song with haunting dynamics (the touches of piano found at some transitions are particularly effective,) some unsettlingly mellow clean passages, and just enough theatricality to set them apart from less interesting bands – take particular note of the borderline-catchy chorus on “The Vampyre” and the technical leanings of “Graveyard Ghouls”. The violently shifting riffs and progressively evil grooves on “Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh” take THE HORROR into stratospheric levels of intensity that most death metal bands can’t touch. I can’t stress enough how much solid, intelligent songwriting makes an album exponentially more awesome, and Tribulation have taken that to heart.

Technically speaking, vocalist J. Andersson has a solid death/black shriek reminiscent of early Alexi Laiho, but his manic delivery sets his voice apart (and thankfully he chooses not to double track his vocals – he’s vicious enough not to need it!) However its guitarists J. Hulten and A. Zaars that are truly responsible for the skullshattering musical impact of THE HORROR – their riffs and occasionally dueling guitar solos make up the majority of the metal muscle found within.

I cannot recommend Tribulation’s THE HORROR enough to anyone who thought Scandinavian metal was dead. Or to anyone who likes metal. Or to anyone who thinks they can handle the superbly crafted metal butchery found in this monstrously ruthless debut CD from a band that deserves to be heard on a wider level.
Track Listing

1.Into the Jaws of Hell
2.Crypt of Thanatophilia
3.Curse of Resurrection
4.Beyond the Horror
5.The Vampyre
6.Sacrilegious Darkness
7.Spawn of the Jackal
8.Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh
9.Graveyard Ghouls


J. Andersson – Voice and Depth
J. Johansson – Pulse
J. Hulten – Red Death
A. Zaars – Black Death

Other reviews

» The Horror
by Luxi Lahtinen

» The Horror
by Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus

» The Formulas of Death
by UK Team

Next review: » Tribune - Elder Lore/The Dark Arts
Previous review: » Tribulation - The Formulas of Death

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