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TRIBULATION - Down Below cover
4.08 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2018

Filed under Gothic Metal


1. The Lament (5:39)
2. Nightbound (5:29)
3. Lady Death (3:24)
4. Subterranea (5:24)
5. Purgatorio (3:40)
6. Cries from the Underworld (5:11)
7. Lacrimosa (6:31)
8. The World (3:55)
9. Here Be Dragons (7:27)

Total Time 46:40

Bonus track on mediabook edition
10. Come, Become, to Be (3:41)

Bonus tracks on box set (CD + 2 x 12" Vinyl)
1. Come, Become, to Be (3:42)
2. Devilock (1:31)
3. Death Comes Ripping (2:15)
4. Skärselden (3:56)


- Johannes Andersson / Bass, Vocals
- Oscar Leander / Drums
- Jonathan Hultén / Guitars, Piano
- Adam Zaars / Guitars

Guest Musicians
- Anna Von Hausswolff / vocals
- Martin Ehrencrona / additional instruments

About this release

Century Media Records, January 26th, 2018

Thanks to Nightfly for the addition and UMUR, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Down Below" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Tribulation. The album was released through Century Media Records in January 2018. It´s the successor to "The Children of the Night" from 2015 and features one lineup change as drummer Jakob Ljungberg has been replaced by Oscar Leander. Since forming in 2001 (originally under the Hazard monicker), Tribulation have been through quite the stylistic development, playing aggressive death/thrash metal act on the "Putrid Rebirth (2006)" EP, changing their sound to a more old school death metal oriented one on their debut full-length studio album "The Horror (2009)", and then morphing into a rather adventurous progressive and psychadelic tinged death metal act on their sophomore studio album "The Formulas of Death (2013)". "The Children of the Night (2015)" saw the band once again change course to a slightly more simple and atmospheric (gothic tinged) heavy metal style with raw vocals...

...and maybe a bit surprisingly they´ve pretty much stuck to that style on "Down Below". On the other hand a band have to settle at some point, when they feel they´ve found a musical identity, and that´s probably what has happened with Tribulation on "Down Below".

It´s obvious too why they have opted to release a relatively similar sounding album to "The Children of the Night (2015)", because that release gave them something of an underground breakthrough and once you´ve tasted success, it´s not something you give up easily. Tribulation are also very good at writing music in this style and perform their music with great skill and conviction too, so those who enjoyed "The Children of the Night (2015)", will pretty surely find appeal in "Down Below" too.

"Down Below" features a dark and organic toned sound production which suits the material well. Regarding the 9 tracks on the 46:40 minutes long album most are pretty regular vers/chorus structured compositions, typically with a dark and heavy vers and a slighly more melodic/atmospheric and uplifting/epic chorus (not light though). It´s when the band break free of their formula and do something a bit different (like the closing minutes of "Here Be Dragons"), that they are most interesting though, and upon conclusion "Down Below" does have a tendency to sound a little too safe and predictable. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved though.
With 2015’s Children Of The Night Swedes Tribulation had made the move they’d hinted at on The Formulas Of Death into more accessible territory. From early days where they were a blackened death metal band they had diversified their sound considerably to include gothic, traditional and prog metal. The result was a brilliant album of some of the catchiest metal, without resorting to any form of compromise, that I’d heard that year.

The single Lady Death, released late last year, suggested the band would be following a similar path on Down Below. That has proved to be the case but if anything they’ve streamlined the sound more and gone for a simpler and more direct approach, at least for much of the time, immediately apparent from the simple 4/4 drum pattern laid down by new drummer Oscar Leander which comes in on opener The Lament. The strong melodies that were such an integral part of COTN remain intact – we’re talking musically here as vocalist Johannes Andersson still sings with his black/death rasp which is perhaps the only barrier from Tribulation reaching a mainstream rock audience such is the accessibility of these songs. Once again the lead guitar work of Jonathan Hultén and Adam Zaars is fantastic – as I remember saying in my review of COTH they’re more old school with an emphasis on well-chosen notes taking precedence over a blur of notes. The same can be said for guitar work in general with no shortage strong riffs interspersed with arpeggios and licks, the overall feel often having a melancholic vibe no better demonstrated on the instrumental Purgatorio . If anything the second half of the album gets even better, the songs becoming a bit more expansive with more twists and turns - listen to Lacrimosa and album closer Here Be Dragons, the latter in particular with its slow build which is a brilliant way to close the album. The icing on the cake is the top notch production – organic and powerful with a rock solid drum sound.

In terms of style and feel Down Below can be considered Children Of The Night part 2. I wouldn’t say it’s better but if you loved that album as much as I do then this has got to be essential listening for you. So early in the year we’ve had excellent albums from Watain, Hamferð and Sinistro and Tribulation can join that list. At this rate I’ll have my top 10 of 2018 by March!

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