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Before the transformation - 90%

Felix 1666, March 24th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Pulverised Records (Super jewel case)

Tribulation is a band that transforms itself much faster than I can think. This results in the fact that their second work gave me an ambivalent feeling and I was not interested in their following efforts, because the way ahead was already charted. But their debut left an enormous impact, at least in my living room. Due to the great potential of the band, it still baffles me that the Swedish horde released its first work on a label from Singapore. Did nobody in their homeland - or at least in Europe - realize their great abilities? Okay, my boss does not realize my great skills as well, but this review does not deal with that physically fat yet mentally thin guy. (I mean my boss, not me.)

Aptly titled, "The Horror" spreads a nightmarish aura. All tracks are totally reckless and many combine furious and morbid elements, but the raging sections definitely prevail. The songs cannot be easily categorized. It's a mix of all relevant extreme sub genres, black, death and thrash metal - in this order. The high level of energy has the highest priority and ensures the homogeneity of the debut. The listener faces the eye of the storm as soon as the opener breaks loose. Its solos border on insanity and King and Hanneman (R.I.P.) would love them if they could listen to them. But the solos are just one building block, it happens a lot during the tracks. They are equipped with the right amount of breaks without being progressive. On the other hand, the tempo changes, the slicing guitars and the omnipresent force guarantee an exciting listening experience. Tribulation do not only concentrate on high velocity, but they have integrated hyper-fast sections in each and every song. This leads to nine high class eruptions which profit from a brilliant sound. The voluminous guitars pave the way, but they do not sideline the hateful voice or the thundering drums. No doubt, listeners who are not used to consume metal, will describe this mix with words like apocalyptic, hellish and brutal.

Speaking of brutality, we may not forget that these dudes originate from Sweden. This means that their DNA is a very specific one and they are not able to present brutality for the sake of itself. They also have great technical skills and therefore they play very tightly, precisely and powerfully. And, even better, the group does not run out of ideas. Quite the contrary, the longer "The Horror" lasts, the better its songs become. The outbreak on the eighth position, "Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh" starts with flattening guitars, but a high speed eruption is following immediately. Great riffs and hammering drums characterise this relatively long outbreak of hate, but there is also a contrasting section that holds some gloomy keyboard. All different parts go hand in hand and its spooky outro seems to be an excerpt of a feast of vampires in an old castle. (Please send me an e-mail if vivid imagination needs to be treated.)

The closer convinces with a fantastic structure, too. It delivers an example for those songs where, all of a sudden, a pretty melodic guitar line leaves the orgy of brutality behind and adds an unexpected ingredient. No doubt, Tribulation used a great recipe when penning this diabolic work and it remains a pity that they threw their successful formula away after finishing it. I guess they belong to these overly ambitious musicians who always feel the need to say that they hate to record the same album twice. But who has ever asked me whether I agree with that attitude? I wish "The Horror" would have a very similar brother, but its kinship rather consists of dubious creatures.

Seduced by the Smell of Rotten Flesh - 96%

dismember_marcin, March 24th, 2012

“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!)

Best Death Metal Album of the Decade? - 100%

__Ziltoid__, February 1st, 2011

Surprise! More Swedish death metal! Well, sort of. Tribulation released one of the finest records of 2009 with their full-length debut, The Horror, however it’s much more than just 90s Swedeath worship. Instead, this feels like a hybrid of styles, seemingly drawing heavy influence from the Swedish death metal scene, while also taking some influence from the Floridian death metal scene and the German thrash metal scene. While the Swedeath is certainly the dominant force on this album, the combined influence of the other two lead to this sounding incredibly familiar, yet also quite unique. All of that, combined with perfect execution lead to this album being one of the best death metal albums of the past decade.

If the album title wasn’t enough, the 16 second intro makes it perfectly clear that this is a horror-themed album. By that, I mean the cheesy kind of horror from all those movies back in the day. Well, once that’s over with, ‘Crypt of Thanatophilia’ starts things off really well, being one of the riff-iest songs on this album. This song is literally all over the place (in the best possible way), with seamless transitions from one aggressive part to another. In addition, this song introduces us to the fact that Tribulation are not at all afraid to implement simple, groove-laden riffs into the picture. While that’s normally a scary proposition, Tribulation pull it off very well, not abusing said riffs and instead letting them fit in their particular moment and then quickly moving on.

‘Beyond the Horror’ has one of the thrashiest riffs on this album, and it’s here where the thrash influence is at its most obvious. I tend to not be a fan of thrash mainly because it feels like a more restrained death metal, but here, the thrash riffs work wonders, especially with the high-pitched death metal vocal style implemented.

Since I’ve covered the Swedish and German parts of this album’s sound, I guess I might as well mention the parts that sound like Floridian death metal. One of my personal favorite Floridian moments on this album is the really simple riff at the 1:50 mark in ‘Sacreligious Darkness.’ Holy fuck, that thing is catchy as fuck, and the accompanying cymbal rhythm compliments it wonderfully!

The album closes on a particularly Swedish note, with ‘Graveyard Ghouls’ sounding about as Swedish as it gets. This might just be the most ferocious song here, with blistering blastbeats and fucking heavy riffs. The slow section in the middle just screams of building up tension, and of course we’re treated to one of the catchiest riffs on the album right after. At this point, the Floridian influence comes in for one last time, and with one final intense scream, this album is sadly over as the music fades out.

Despite the fact that there’s not really any black metal influence here, I feel like I must make a comparison to Necrophobic. Like Necrophobic, Tribulation have created a very catchy death metal album that is full of clear and melodic lead guitar melodies, while also boasting one of the most genuine vocal performances I’ve heard in a long time. If anything, the vocal performance is what reminds me most of Necrophobic. It’s very similar, except less restrained. Thus, it seems a bit more fierce, but is less controlled, and thus less clear as to what is being said.

The Horror is easily one of the best modern death metal albums, while also being one of the most varied I’ve heard in quite awhile in terms of influences. These influences are seamlessly incorporated into Tribulation’s sound, making for an album that any respectable fan of death metal should enjoy. If you like Swedish death metal, this will appeal to you. If you like Floridian death metal, this should be something that you might like despite overall being more intense than any Floridian band. If you like German thrash, but not death metal, try this as a transitional album. Simply put, this is an excellent, top-tier death metal album that easily competes with the best of the death metal greats.

Written for

Isn't Horror Swedish For Excellent? - 92%

GuntherTheUndying, March 22nd, 2010

Music is an infinite pit of magic. Sometimes it feels emotional. Other instances it can appear enraging. And on occasion, your face is sprayed with so much violence and chaos it seems incendiary gunk that melts your goddamn face into a mess of burned flesh while the sickening scent of phosphorus hovers about would equate the musical madness perfectly. Tribulation, a young and promising death metal band from Sweden, takes that idea to heart unlike others attempting such destruction. Their formula is like napalm that burns and churns, yet it’s a clear fact that something so violent has never been so fun. Do you and your kids enjoy good, hardy tales of horror and murder while enshrouded in gore and undead madness? If so, Tribulation is for you!

And you know what makes this record so great? It’s rather simple actually: it’s just fun, beefy death metal. No experimental shenanigans or anything like that; just a four-man guillotine machine. I quickly noticed right off the bat that the riffs are no laughing matter. Filled with old-school thrash touches and tremolo picking so devastating your ancestors will sway in their graves, I promise you’ll get everyone in seeable range to go nuts. It’s not only that though, because Tribulation’s guitar attack is wonderfully crafted within the radius of brutality and instrumental responsibility perfectly, so it’s a clear observation a few gentlemen passed Death Metal Riffing 101 with flying colors. The lead work is also absolute insanity captured on plastic, with such swelling chaos that if you don’t have your jaw on the floor after experiencing the technical insanity and the utter shredding corruption, then you should probably leave the hall.

As for everything else, “The Horror” continues to inherit the genetic abomination that could make a hemophiliac run dry in seconds. Johannes Andersson’s growls are dark, horrifying, and fantastic when discussing the pattern his voice takes throughout Tribulation’s damning voyage. The drums are likewise a riveting force behind Tribulation’s attack, releasing an unrelenting montage of turbo-charged footwork layered over perhaps the best sounding snare I’ve ever heard and symbol usage and audio features that shriek of Sweden in 1990. Overall though, the quartet forges a nifty sample of what death metal is supposed to be: something like “The Vampyre” marches through with burst-fire gallops, intense riffing, and so much audio velocity your neck will dislocate, and technically personifies Tribulation’s sonic artillery beyond words. To do such a thing takes a special band, and Tribulation is indeed fresh air compared to a lot of other death metal groups that couldn’t nail the sound if Alex Webster provided a tutorial.

Everything about this record is superb. The riffs are furious and well-crafted, Johannes Andersson’s growls appear fresh and lively, the percussion is devastating, the solos absolutely magnificent, and it obviously delivers an overall sound that can split your skull. So aside from the obvious fellatio venting from my clear love of “The Horror,” I can verify that Tribulation is a great band, and this is a fantastic record. If you find sanctuary within the quarters of such harnessing, blasphemous tribes from the immortal tongues of bands like Possessed, Grotesque, Kreator, or Death, then I can’t stress enough how essential “The Horror” will fit in your collection. In conclusion, Tribulation is a man among little boys when compared to today’s majority opinion, and they thankfully rekindle the burning reputation of golden death metal once again. They know what they’re doing, folks!

This review was written for:

Tribulation - The Horror - 100%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 21st, 2009

The second half of this decade has brought about renaissances of both the thrash, and to a lesser extent, death metal scenes, and in the process yielded some excellent releases in both. Of course there are always the albums which frankly suffer the life of a coaster post-review but you've gotta have the crap ones to enjoy the good ones right?

Well Tribulation, a four-piece from trusty old Sweden have by god not only released a 'good' one, they've only gone and blown the bloody doors off with a death metal album that is dare I say, nigh on perfect. Arguably more successfully than any other DM band that wallow in the glory of the old masters, Tribulation have on their debut "The Horror" managed a rendition of brutal old-school Swedish and American death metal with an identity of their own, a startling production job squaring DM crust against visceral power and adequate referencing of their old Gods to keep the purists happy. With Enforcer guitarist Adam Zaars in the ranks, "The Horror" is a mastery at all things old Kreator, Possessed and Morbid Angel, with more than a nod to Entombed and Incantation too. It's far from ancient-worship though; "The Horror" bares elements of the likes of Angel Corpse, Dead Congregation and Kaamos in an album with all the key elements of attention-grabbing, catchy riffs, melodically inclined lead riffs and stinking brutality.

If "Beyond The Horror" was a cut from a 1988 album it would be hailed as a classic by now, both sickeningly attention-grabbing and catchy like all the best DM used to be. "Seduced By The Smell Of Rotten Flesh" and "Graveyard Ghouls" are Incantation-heavy, schooled by Slayer yet frozen melodically in the name of Dissection in their lead riffs which angle out without warning before re-aligning to join the onslaught of brutality that is the spine of the song. Wonderfully produced with just the right level of crust and clarity to (hopefully) appeal to all generations, "The Horror" is near perfect at home and I can only imagine a hoot in the live setting. Carefully maneuvering itself around the dual landmines of plagiarism and recognition, the tomes inside this release show a band well-versed in extreme metal's classic bands though only the most miserable of bastards could say "The Horror" is too reminiscent of any one band that it should be written off as a mere clone.

I'm always wary of praising brand new albums to the sky as they are untested against the passages of time that is the undoing of many before them but I genuinely can't find a fault in "The Horror" and suggest, nay implore, anyone with a passion for any band I've referenced in this review to buy "The Horror". In my mental arguments of why this shouldn't get the maximum I couldn't deduce a single quantifiable reason. Of course others may disagree but I believe this has everything a great Death Metal album should without ever resorting to parody or becoming tired after 32 minutes of utilising the past with a view to moving forwards. What a record.

Originally written for

The horror - 95%

Najakelia, October 12th, 2009

Once again, a swedish death metal band born on a fertile ground. Although TRIBULATION has been around since 2000/2001, their previous works didn't receive an unanimous agreement. Only swedish death metal fanatics came forward, so to speak .The others could have said : " well... nothing really bad, but nothing which really deserve recognition and attention. Let's wait what happens next". “The Horror” is thus their first full length album to see the light of day.
What have we there? - Pure swedish death metal in the vein of KAAMOS/REPUGNANT or even the young NECROVATION following the same path!
If those names don't appeal to you, don't waste your time, change course!

The introduction is a piece of piano sounding like an old school morbid movie's soundtrack from the 70's, it doesn’t do much for the quality metal that follows according to me. The first real track is thus "Crypt Of Thanatophilia" and it becomes manifest piano is now a distant memory. Only low-tuned guitars and non-stop blast beating reign. Musically speaking itself, it's once again a mixture between black and death metal. Really not obvious to say if we deal with blackened death metal or the opposite, but who cares ? What sets TRIBULATION apart from all the other death metal bands are also their heavy thrash influences especially in solos composed sometimes upon the pentatonnic scale which create a jazzy atmosphere. A brillant combination that shows that the musicians how to bring their own 'touch' since that's not something very popular.

"Curse Of Resurrection" is one of my favourite tracks due to a second half absolutely insane.A significant slowdown that keeps the door open for a simple but damn effective solo!"Beyond The Horror" is more or less in the same vein even if it extends with a malefic and atmospheric clean guitars part.

"The Vampyre" is actually the first track i had heard before buying this opus (online on their myspace).Pure swedish compositions... i'm running out of words on this one.( the same for "Sacrilegious Darkness")

"Seduced By The Smell Of Rotten Flesh" is also one of their best ones. it begins very slowly with an intense rythmic escorted by a simple lead tune. Here we touch slightly the ends with some light keyboard works before shifting into the final song.

"Graveyard Ghouls" contains maybe the best riff of the whole album starting at 03:02 (damn, listen to it honestly)

To finish, even if the album looks a bit short, it contains awesome parts and it is definitely a brillant first full-lenght!

Filthy, rotten, thrashing madness. - 85%

Empyreal, May 26th, 2009

This kind of thing isn't very hard to get wrong, what with the formula being about as simple as catchy, snarky riffs layered over with a biting bass, pounding drums, nails-on-a-chalkboard vocals and a production that accentuates the whole thing as the metal-spiked killing machine that it is, and Tribulation are one of those that manage to ace it easily. These young Swedish guys are clearly enthusiastic about what they're doing and they obviously know their roots - this debut album, titled The Horror takes influence from bands like Possessed, Kreator and early Death to create a maelstorm of bubbling, boiling, thrashing Death Metal that is hard to dislike if you like this kind of metal at all.

Sure, the songs are sort of samey, and sure, the album is pretty short, but who the fuck cares about that? Tribulation know their modus operandi here - bash out killer tracks of ass-kicking Death Metal for thirty minutes straight, rinse and repeat. See the doctor for further instructions - and they go after it like a pack of rabid wolves after a slab of meat. The album starts off with a misleading piano intro, but once "Crypt of Thanatophilia," with its raging riffery, kicks up, you'll be sold faster than a kid buying his first car. The band varies things up a little with slower passages in songs like "Curse of Resurrection" and "Beyond the Horror," and even applies some liberal horror-movie-esque synth passages here and there for extra effect. This album is just ace, and if I were you, I would definitely buy this. Even though I already have the promo.

Originally written for

Chaotic yet controlled bursts of infernal energy - 95%

autothrall, April 28th, 2009

Fuck you, Sweden. Where were you hiding this one?

Tribulation are a four-piece death metal band rooted heavily in the chaotic, early German thrash. Think Kreator upgraded with that classic, thick Swedish death guitar tone and then prepare to have your ass kicked all the way back to Hell. After a few demos and an EP, they release this devastating first full-length. They've opened up my new year with bang because this is one of the best debuts I've heard in the death metal genre in some time.

Chaotic yet controlled bursts of infectious, infernal energy will drive these 9 tracks deep into your soul. Pianos grace a creepy horror intro called "Into the Jaws of Hell" before the band levels you with "Crypt of Thanatophilia", a beast of blazing death metal riffing with a structure not unlike something you'd find on Terrible Certainly. Not only is the rhythm section rock solid but they can rip off into the crazy evil solo style made legend by bands such as a Slayer or Pestilence. "Curse of Resurrection" begins with another Kreator-like power volley, fast as fuck and entirely unforgiving. "Beyond the Horror" starts with an intense thrash hook before grinding out the complete fucking evil. "The Vampyre" just blows your veins out with its descending melodies and fist pumping death/thrash mayhem. "Spawn of the Jackal" starts a little slower with some thrash/doom riffs but picks right up. The other songs are likewise intense, the closer "Graveyard Ghouls" is furious.

The album sounds stunning. The guitars are like meat hooks, sinking themselves directly into the flesh and then pulling you in multiple directions at once. The vocals are a good blend of the death and thrash styles, not as snarly as Mille but otherwise similar. The band is extremely consistent, this is one of those fast and fairly short albums like a 'Reign in Blood' or 'Extreme Aggression'. Get in. Get out. Fuck and fight. Take no prisoners. Leave no evidence.

We're unlikely to hear many more debut albums this year of the quality Tribulation offers, if you are a fan of Swedish death metal, classic German thrash, or really... ANY extreme metal, this is essential to check out. They may not offer much in the way of originality, but the intensity is hard to match.

Fuck you Sweden, for doing it to us again.