Metal Blade Records/Century Media
Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
Tribulation continues their journey from death metal to death rock with their fifth full-length release Where the Gloom Becomes Sound. It’s a progression they began with 2015s excellent The Children of the Night. On that record, they seamlessly incorporated a healthy dose of gothic drama and pulled it off pretty much perfectly.
It was certainly a bit of a surprise as their debut album, 2009s The Horror, was a fantastic death metal record and 2013s The Formulas of Death proved Tribulation was more than capable of expanding on that sound by utilizing more expansive arrangements and a stronger sense of melody than the debut. Looking back now there are hints in that album of what was to come. Though they probably could have just as easily kept writing in this more aggressive style they instead slowed the tempos down, focused even more on melodies, and did something other bands in the death metal scene have tried in the past but most have not been able to pull off. They changed their sound without losing that certain something that can take intrigue for the fans to a maximum. With this change, the vocals remained a reminder of their past while still working well with the aforementioned The Children of the Night and its follow-up, 2018s Swedish Grammy-winning Down Below. Pretty much any song from these last two albums wouldn’t sound out of place on a mixtape with Bauhaus or Fields of the Nephilim.
Where the Gloom Becomes Sound very much continues in this vein. All the hallmarks of the band’s sound remain very much intact: beautiful melodies, bombastic drums, gruff vocals, and horror movie atmosphere. Not to mention plenty of hooks in the songs that will encourage repeat listens. While founding guitarist Jonathan Hultén recently surprised many by announcing his departure from the group, he did stick around long enough to perform on this album and compose seven of the ten songs here. Album opener “In Remembrance” creeps in slowly but soon picks up to a propulsive beat and a recurring guitar melody that really complements vocalist Johannes Andersson. “Leviathans” and “Elementals” both share a guitar motif at different tempos and a sound that really defines the band at this point. “Lethe” is a perfect centre point to the album, a melancholic piano piece which made me think of their fellow Swedes Dissection and their song “No Dreams Breed in Breathless Sleep”. There is something about a song like this that just pulls you further into the album and ties everything together so that it is no longer just a collection of tracks.
Overall the album continues Tribulation’s strong sense of grandeur with extremely strong compositions throughout. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. Hultén was such a huge part of the band not only as a songwriter but also in a live setting, his presence onstage truly elevated their performances. Until then, we have Where the Gloom Becomes Sound, an album that just gets better with repeat listens. Highly recommended.
Pre-order Where the Gloom Becomes Sound by Tribulation HERE