TRIBULATION — Down Below (review)

TRIBULATION — Down Below album cover Album · 2018 · Gothic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"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the successor to "The Children of the Night" from 2015 and features one lineup change as drummer Jakob Ljungberg has been replaced by Oscar Leander.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.
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UMUR wrote:
10 months ago
I was a bit underwhelmed to be honest. A simpler rehash of the predecessor to my ears. It´s still pretty good of course.
Nightfly wrote:
10 months ago
Love this album, might even be my album of the year.

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