The Children of the Night
A few years ago, these Swedes played a rather volatile sort of death metal and people really seemed to embrace it. Problem is these guys weren’t ready to sit still and play that same kind of death metal for the rest of their life. As The Formulas of Death showed new elements of black metal, melody and prog, some of the old school death metal guys began to jump ship. But that’s perfectly fine with these guys, as they’ve mutated even further into that black metal element with The Children Of The Night, which seems to mix progressive landscapes with a familiar mid-era Satyricon sound, which culminates into a rather thought provoking album about Dracula. This record seems less tied to the horror film versions of Dracula, and makes me think more of the philosophical Dracula of the mid-era Castlevania series, where such bits of wisdom like “What is a man, but a miserable pile of memories?” soon take stage. There are even some moments of atmosphere sprinkled onto the release, which seems to stem from Adam Zaars original idea of creating a rather lengthy atmospheric record. That idea was of course shot down, but portions of it still remain here within the album and it’s almost Goblin quality soundscapes that seem to pervade throughout. Each performance feels rife with effort, showing not once instance of slouch from the quartet and I can’t find any major issues or breaks in the atmosphere that feel out of place. These guys really took their time on the recording, and the final product displays that quite nicely. Sometimes they can really go into the proggy landscapes, making me think of The Beatles of black metal in that sense, but there’s nothing at all wrong with playful leads and whirring keyboards if they add to the overall atmosphere of the piece, like you might find on a Sigh album. I’m actually quite reminded of Sigh a little here, but Tribulation hasn’t reached that level of experimentation quite yet and do seem to exercise restraint. As I said, there’s nothing here that even attempts to break the atmosphere and even the thick guitar solos seem completely necessary for a work that can switch from black rock to progressive death metal in an instant. Even pianos make an appearance, as well as drum marches and airy instrumentals (Cauda Pavonis) that sound like they were inspired by Tim Burton. Truly there is a great deal of different sounds and styles being employed on this album, yet it’s something that I’m coming to expect from Tribulation after the release of their previous recording. But once again, none of these interjections manage to break the formula. All in all, if you loved the last record, then I absolutely cannot see why you wouldn’t like this one either. Tribulation never seems to make the same album twice, but that proves to be a good thing and shows their penchant for non-conformity in the musical spectrum. So many bands want to sound the same as others, but Tribulation’s Children Of The Night pioneers a class of its own and is undoubtedly one of my favorite records of the year. So sit down with a tall glass of blood, red Kool-Aid or maybe even a Bloody Mary and give this fiendishly brilliant album a spin. It’s the kind of disc that you can really sink your teeth into. (Eric May)
Purchase The Children of the Night here.