TRIBULATION – The Children of the Night
Sweden’s progressive death/black metal Tribulation are carving out an impressive army of followers in all parts of the globe- and with good reason. Their songwriting diversity and occult-oriented themes bring to mind all of the chills and fear that captivate heavy metal audiences in the first place. "The Children of the Night" as their third album continues the formula or evil vocals over the top of stunning guitar layers and tempos that straddle early Swedish melodic death/black themes with Mercyful Fate-oriented textures.
Not everything within these 10 songs is over the top in terms of musicianship – many sections of "In the Dreams of the Dead" for instance possess a logical flow and down-tuned swing as the off-time rhythm section delivers a lot of Maiden-esque punch to the proceedings. Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hultén as guitarists weave a masterful, haunting sonic landscape to these arrangements – sometimes devil’s triumvirate-like in the progressions to "Winds" and then quieter, and more introspective in others for the opening sequence of "The Motherhood of God". Bassist Johannes Andersson has that crisp growl voice down to a science, keeping Tribulation on underground credibility.
Even the production and tones present promote a vibe from 30 years ago – when analog and real-time recording mattered, not digitally manipulating the product to perfection. Organs and the slow, progressive cymbal/bass work against whispered verses make "Strains of Horror" an early favorite – something I could imagine Bathory and Mercyful Fate fans locking horns to as they hoist skulls to the sky. "The Children of the Night" delivers another Tribulation treasure trove to add to their already inspiring discography – and sure to delight when delivered on tour in the coming years.