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I nearly always listen to an album promo before reading the accompanying press blurb, for the simple reason that I don't like my listening expectations to be primed by some ostentatious eulogy that's been embellished with all sorts of over-inflated assertions aimed at selling a product. I prefer to cast my own judgement based purely on the music alone, and then take to reading any concomitant text to give it some sort of context. My approach with Tribulation's 'The Children of the Night' was no different, the Swedish band's third album. With 2009's 'The Horror' and 2013's 'The Formulas of Death' completely passing me by, their music's new to me, even though I've been aware of the band for a while - just never got around to ever checking 'em out. Well, first impressions were positive upon an initial listen to 'The Children of the Night'. Hearing discernible elements of Dissection, Iron Maiden, Misfits and Type O Negative throughout the ten songs that constitute this release, I was surprised to learn that, when I eventually did take a glance at the press sheet, these are four out of the five bands mentioned in the first paragraph in terms of what to expect with Tribulation's third full length effort. However, I think that's less of a reflection on my astute listening judgement, and more a reification of just how emphatic some of these influences manifest within their songs.

Take the Dissection inspiration, for example. Bassist/frontman Johannes Andersson's vocals are Jon Nödtveidt through and through, with his raspy death delivery. They're even recorded/produced in a similar manner with a healthy dose of reverb that adds that extra little sinister dimension to their sound. Guitar-wise, the combined playing of Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hultén also brings to mind Dissection, both in production and how they've been layered in the production/mix. And Dissection again, in places, composition-wise - although think more 'Where Dead Angel's Lie' than 'Night's Blood' - Tribulation's metal aesthetic is a more atmospherically laidback one than an all-out, blast-beat led attack. Maiden inspiration manifests through sporadically introduced passages of twin guitar harmonies and some of the doomier elements strike of Type O. Horror soundtracks also feature as an inspiration in their sonic palette - rather blatantly on the atmospherically dark instrumental piece 'Cauda Pavonis', and more subtly throughout particular other compositions, which works wonderfully in articulating the evidently melancholic and foreboding atmospheres they're trying to convey. However, it's not all darkness and despair, as take the ironically named 'Melancholia' , which is perhaps the least melancholic track on the album, adhering as it does to a more up tempo, melodically optimistic vibe and a more Misfits-horror-punk-metal attitude (and Maiden-esque climax).

I've talked a lot about influences thus far, although that would be kind of misleading as to the overall aesthetic Tribulation have forged in their music. For while their inspirations are audibly perceptible, their blend has engendered a very fresh sounding album. And I literally can't pinpoint why Tribulation are able to transmute so much retro substance into an original sounding whole but, somehow, they've succeeded. Perhaps it's simply a matter of my own listening proclivities. I mean, I rate 'Storm of the Light's Bane' as amongst the best metal records ever recorded, and Tribulation have captured its spirit and essence, to a large degree, on 'The Children of the Night'... so perhaps its simply reignited a lost era of a long-lost sound for me. It's almost as if Dissection had continued and this is how their music would have progressed. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, 'The Children of the Night' is a darkly atmospheric gem. It's certainly no tribulation listening to this quite wondrous album.
Century Media
Review by Mark Holmes
20th April 2015
1) Strange Gateways Beckon
2) Melancholia
3) In the Dreams of the Dead
4) Winds
5) Sja¨laflykt
6) The Motherhood of God
7) Strains of Horror
8) Holy Libations
9) Cauda Pavonis
10) Music from the Other
"...a darkly atmospheric gem. It's certainly no tribulation listening to this quite wondrous album."