Tribulation - The Horror (Pulverised/AmpHead)

A classic death metal sound; ideal for headbanging to yet with more depth and complexity to offer than limiting speed-guitar and brutal drums. Songs of horror, with touches of haunting piano. 'The Horror' is an impressive debut album from Swedish band Tribulation.

Tribulation’s debut album The Horror is high-quality, old-school death metal. The Swedish band has been compared to Slayer and Morbid Angel and I have to agree there are definate similarities, mainly borne from the strong, powerful rhythms, which are not extremely fast but ideal for headbanging, and the growl of vocalist Johannes Anderson.

The growling vocals and fast pace give the music a raw, high energy sound. In contrast, brilliant guitar solos interject singing melodies that perfectly offset the brutality of the vocals, rhythm and bass guitars combined. The percussion is mostly brilliant and, complemented by piano interludes, creates a captivating atmosphere - whether slow and haunting or fast and energetic. Mostly fast and powerful, the half hour that is The Horror delivers great variety; each song tells its own story. To tell these stories, the tone within a song will flow from hard and heavy to movingly melodic: a classic death metal sound with more depth than just pure thrash.

Anderson also plays bass in addition to his growling vocals of death and all things horror, and together with guitarists Jonathan Hultén and Adam Zaars, the trio combine their guitars screaming, singing or simply brutal, into a tightly interwoven sound. Set against the percussion of relentless and talented drummer Jakob Johansson, this is a very enjoyable production. It is polished though still retaining that raw power that decent metal should exude.

The songs are horror themed, of death and hell, vampyres and crypts. The lyrics aren’t particularly profound or unique but are well suited to the death metal genre. I hesitate to pick a favourite track as I think this release, only a short offering in itself, should be considered as a whole: to be listened to from start to finish. Finishing with the sound of rain and ‘the Horror’ uttered as if with a man’s last breath, a tribute to Joseph Conrad’s A Heart of Darkness, this album is a nice tribute to the genre of horror: literature, film and of course music.

For those of you who like your vinyl, you'll be happy to note that, a vinyl copy is also being produced. A good addition to any horror and death metal fan’s collection.

Tribulation's The Horror is out now on Pulverised/AmpHead.