TRIBULATION - The Horror (BLOOD HARVEST - LP 2009)
“The Horror” is the debut album from Swedish zombies called Tribulation and I must say that ever since I’ve heard the “Putrid Rebirth” EP I was expecting this album to come. I remember the day when the vinyl have arrived my home, it was few years ago. When I looked at the cover I was like “WOW!!!!!! Just look at that!”. Yeah, “The Horror” has one of the best artworks I’ve ever seen in my life, it is awesome. The whole vinyl looks brilliant, as it’s a nice gatefold, with huge band drawing inside plus an eight page booklet with some additional artwork (I love the Nosferatu ones most!) plus the lyrics, etc. Yeah, it is amazing, so just by judging the book by its cover, this one gets an immediate 100 out of 100. Music wise those Swedes also do not disappoint, maybe I found their previous recording slightly better and more savage, but this one is also damn brilliant and stands on the left hand side next to Repugnant’s “Epitome of Darkness” masterpiece with pride.
Musically Tribulation has developed a little bit since their EP days, I think. I have an impression they’re more into thrash metal now than before. It’s still the blend of death and thrash of corpse, but that thrash metal influence is even clearer now (maybe due to better production?) and more in the traditional vein of this genre. While the EP had a totally obscure and raw kind of death / thrash, “The Horror” presents it dropping off the Morbid Angel influences into more of the cults of old Kreator, Onslaught, Pestilence (debut LP) and Possessed, adding the influence from Swedish classics like Merciless, Grotesque and Nihilist. The riffing is just relentless and cruel, with many brilliant and slashing parts and the tempo, which hardly ever slows down and thus the side A goes by incredibly quickly. “Crypt of Thanatophilia” is pure thrash death metal classic and absolutely killer song, with devastating riffs and extremely great vocals. And when the band catches my attention from the first part, it doesn’t let it go even for a second, the rest of the album is equally great. With “Curse of Resurrection” I almost ejaculate in ecstasy, such great this track is, I especially love the melodic playing in the second part of it. The music becomes truly infectious, almost possessing with the horror atmosphere that comes from within the every sound and voice, the artwork and the killer and so well written lyrics (“Hear them calling the children of the night. The curse will last until the end of time. Enduring it for centuries through darkness and pale death time is an abyss profound as a thousand nights…”, “The fog on the graveyard lies thick on ground. The undead are moaning a terrible sound. Eerie surrenders the fiends of the night, corpses will strike with malevolent might...”).
“Sacrilegious Darkness” definitely belongs to the best tracks from the album, at first it will hit you with neckbreaking speed, but later it even develops into one doomy riff. “Spawn of the Jackal” is maybe better, with the satanic lyrics and amazing melodies in few parts it brings some of the most Swedish sounding bits of the whole LP. Sometimes I have a feeling like I just played some unknown Dissection tunes, really, from their early “The Somberlain” times, such is the atmosphere and the style of this track (maybe more straight forward and less epic than Dissection, but still it’s in the same vein, I think). And when “Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh” starts with a wonderful doomy riff in the good old Autopsy vein, I’m just like: “fuck, are these guys going to bring all the best old school metal ingredients into one album”? Hmm, no, “Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh” only starts slow and creepy, soon it speeds up into Tribulation’s trademark thrashing death metal, what maybe disappoints me a bit, as I would love maybe to hear one slower and totally darker track, like Death Breath or Maim do sometimes. Anyway, “Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh” also is one of the highlights, so who cares? Great track and again awesome eerie atmosphere! And finally “Graveyard Ghouls” also brings some serious damage to my surrounding, mainly with some more of the traditional Swedish death metal influences, which I love a lot and think that Tribulation, next to Repugnant, could be the best of all Nihilist’s heirs. Arggghhh!!!!!!! I just have been massacred, rest in pieces!
Standout tracks: “Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh”, “Crypt of Thanatophilia”, “Sacrilegious Darkness”, “Spawn of the Jackal”, “Curse of Resurrection”, “Graveyard Ghouls” (Shit, that’s almost the entire album!)
Final rate: 97/100