Hot on the heels of their first foray into a black n’ roll style of metal, Tribulation come out of the gate swinging in 2018 with Down Below, the successor to critical darling Children of the Night. Gone are the days of death metal for this band, in its stead are riffs and a dark atmosphere shows the band rocking while amply embracing the dark side.
Opening with their lead single “The Lament” establishes the bedrock of the album with a horror-esque rhythm section and soaring leads. Johannes Andersson’s gruff vocal approach comes off as though he is a member of the undead coming to greet you and act as Virgil to your Dante.
“Nightbound” imbues hints of Thin Lizzy’s guitar riffs among the chilling atmosphere. You can almost see a connection between what In Solitude were doing upon their exit with early Ghost and finally Andersson’s powerful Abbath-like bark. Tribulation excel by throwing small wrinkles into their songs as well. “Cries From the Underworld” is a master class in subtlety with shifts and tempo changes; with the main riff greeting you at each pass.
Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hulten keep the tracks flowing; with the omnipresence of Andersson’s fat bass, this may seem like a tall task, which is met with aplomb. Newcomer drummer Oscar Leander is not to be outdone as he does plenty at the battery to add an extra layer of spice to this vile concoction of dark and brooding metal meets rock.
Tribulation have crafted an exceptional album that follows a great one in its own right. They have carved themselves a niche that is tough to duplicate; much like Cloak’s To Venomous Depths did in 2017. They have garnered enough praise at this point to expect plenty of the typical derision that is afforded a band of their ilk and I’m sure that is just fine on their end. Either way you slice it, Down Below is poised to be among the year’s best, bar none.
(released January 26, 2018 on Century Media Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Watch Tribulation – “The Lament” Video