Starting out as yet another death metal band from Sweden, in recent years, TRIBULATION have truly become a sensation, infusing Gothic, black, and death metal with a pinch of psychedelia. Their previous record, “Down Below” (2018), had a certain ethereal beauty surrounding it, focusing on elegant, but gloomy atmospheres. There’s something incredibly fascinating about their sound, making TRIBULATION truly one of the most exciting metal acts of their generation. The Swedes are now back with their fifth release, “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound,” out on January 29th, 2021, via Century Media Records.
Softly, note-by-note, an organ introduces the opening track, “In Remembrance.” The by now trademark TRIBULATION atmosphere is immediately set within the first seconds and a grim picture paints the soundscape surrounding the listener. Though incredibly dark, the song is surprisingly catchy, including a hooky chorus and an incredible guitar solo; a powerful opener! Previously released as a single, “Hour of the Wolf” follows with rather catchy guitar melodies, giving you instantly that “damn, this shit is good”-feeling.
“Leviathans” is a bit of an odd bite on the album, as the track feels a little bit lighter and is a bit faster, but carries the same piece of identity which makes all of these tracks, in whatever form, work perfectly. It’s tracks like these that make this album incredibly diverse and brighten up the dark atmospheres that it is loaded with as a whole. The song has an interesting mid-section, including a spoken-word monologue that really builds up tension perfectly before the song reprises.
Those of you who read my reviews know that I always love it when bands re-invent their sound with a more progressive edge in some songs. “Dirge Of A Dying Soul” is a perfect example of that and it might just be my favorite track on the album. The track has a neoclassical-inspired guitar intro, reminiscent of J.S. Bach‘s “Bourée in E Minor,” the powerful statement intro fades softly into a calmer, mellow piece, but with thundering drums and heavy riffs, it soon gains more power. Due to the subtle neoclassical atmospheres and beautiful melodies interwoven in this song, the track definitely stands out on the album.
“Lethe,” on the other hand, is a beautiful piano intermezzo. The song, in its simplicity, is one of the most enchanting fragments of the album and those who are willing to embrace it fully might feel chilled as they immerse completely in the song; a goosebumps-inducing track that serves as a beautiful intro to the next track, “Daughter of the Djinn.” The juxtaposition between the magical intermezzo and what is probably the heaviest track on the album is a great interplay on the flow of the album.
The broody “Inanna” is a good beginning of the end; with only three tracks remaining, TRIBULATION starts off slowly, to then continue with the incredible “Funeral Pyre.” Heavy and thrashy riffs, the spooky atmosphere in the midsection, and plenty of gorgeous atmospheric elements are some of the elements that make this song an outstanding success and perhaps again one of the many highlights that may ultimately be found. The arc of drama is maintained with “The Wilderniss,” a track that somehow combines all the elements of success this album showcases. While I would have perhaps expected a more doomy track to end the album, “The Wilderniss” does an excelling job of giving you that lingering feeling of wanting more and more, which is something that a perfect closing track needs.
I have listened to “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound” quite a few times now and with every spin, I discover more elements that intrigue me and grasp my attention. More and more, this album is growing on me and even though the year hasn’t quite started off yet, this might just be one of those releases that won’t let me go for the rest of the year and thus might end up in my end–of-the-year lists. The record contains perhaps rawer guitar sounds and often slower tempos, but that trademark TRIBULATION sound that many others have fallen in love with is there and it has matured even more with this release, making for their most diverse, consistent, and probably best studio effort to date.
- In Remembrance
- Hour of the Wolf
- Dirge of a Dying Soul
- Daughter of the Djinn
- Funeral Pyre
- The Wilderness
Johannes Andersson – vocals, bass
Adam Zaars – guitars
Jonathan Hultén – guitars
Oscar Leander – drums
Century Media Records