I’ve seen Tribulation play twice now — once on tour with Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth, and once just recently with Deafheaven. Both times, the crowd seemed neutral at best. At the Deafheaven show, I joined one or two solitary headbangers in the middle of a hipster mob that stared perplexed as Tribulation wove their awesome atmosphere. Why are these audiences so disengaged? Maybe it’s the bookings. Maybe it’s because Tribulation is not easily defined — see this great interview in Pitchfork on the genre-transcending attitude of the group.
I found echoes of Watain and Mercyful Fate in Tribulation’s music, but this is not a standard black metal band. The melodies on display in their third studio album, The Children of the Night, take twists and turns that are unexpected and brightly original — a display of rare talent in a sea of formulaic genre music. Tribulation proves that there is more to say in the realm of atmospheric metal after all. That’s no small feat. With an album of this quality, I’m amazed and frankly pissed that their concerts aren’t packed.
Check out this track from the album, Melancholia, and the infectious riff that kicks in around the 0:26 mark for an example:
Of course, check out the whole album if you can. If you’re not sold quite yet, more info can be found in this Pitchfork review.
Watain broke ground with Sworn to the Dark in 2007, reviving a genre that was beginning to go dormant — Tribulation carries that torch onward and discovers new territory in the process. A dose of optimism for metal fans everywhere. Support this band!