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Tribulation - "The Children Of The Night" (CD)

Tribulation - "The Children Of The Night" CD cover image

"The Children Of The Night" track listing:

1. Strange Gateways Beckon
2. Melancholia
3. In The Dreams Of The Dead (streaming here)
4. Winds
5. Själaflykt
6. The Motherhood Of God
7. Strains Of Horror
8. Holy Libations
9. Cauda Pavonis
10. Music From The Other

Reviewed by on June 2, 2015

"Frankly, this might be the best Tribulation album yet, and its hard to imagine the band will be able to top this one."

From 2009 to 2015, Tribulation has been on one hell of an evolutionary trip from “The Horror” to “The Formulas of Death” and now going even further with “The Children of the Night.” Just as previous album “The Formulas of Death” witnessed a dramatic shift in tone and style towards the progressive, so to does “The Children of The Night” revel in being a totally different beast from its predecessor, smoothly marrying together classic rock with extreme metal.

If “The Formulas of Death” blew your socks off with its meshing of prog and death metal, “The Children of the Night” will nuke you into oblivion with its consistently psychedelic guitar tones and absolute balance between extreme and melodic. The album conjures a maelstrom of heavy riffs and harsh vocals to surround the audience, but it all swirls by in a vacuum of hazy, jazzy soundscapes that are completely unexpected.

“Holy Libations” is a track that really shows off the classic rock-meets-black metal vibe, and in a way that's meshed better than what you might hear from the usual black 'n roll suspects. The smoky guitar riffs on standout track “Strains Of Horror” also exhibit clear influence of rock from decades gone by. Although the music overall can't be directly compared to the Swedes, that hazy backing melodic guitar work on tracks like “In The Dreams of the Dead” and the previously mentioned “Strains of Horror” do bring to mind Opeth's “Blackwater Park.”

With the music ending up so much more melodic than the growling lyrical delivery would let on, it almost leads one to wonder if perhaps its time for Tribulation to move past harsh vocals and try for something more dynamic. Fifth track “Själaflykt,” for instance, doesn't even bring the vocals out at all and nothing is lost in the compelling instrumentation. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the vocal work however, as it provides the extreme base necessary to keep Tribulation firmly on the side of metal.

The mysterious juxtaposition of black/death metal with old school rock is spot on throughout the album, and there's plenty of twists present as well, like the horror movie interlude “Cauda Pavonis.” Frankly, this might be the best Tribulation album yet, and its hard to imagine the band will be able to top this one. If experience is any indicator though, whatever Tribulation has in store next will probably be completely unlike anything the band has done in the past.

Highs: Extreme metal matched with classic rock and hazy psychedelia - and all with no loss in quality on any of the three fronts.

Lows: Oddly enough, this is an album that occasionally feels like it doesn't need harsh vocals.

Bottom line: Tribulation continues to surprise and evolve with an album that sees no distinction between extreme metal and psychedelic rock.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)