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Tribulation - The Children of the Night


by Matt Hensch

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Tribulation has come a long way since the days of "The Horror." The acid surge of slaughtering death metal transformed on "The Formulas of Death" to a progressive death metal template, which the band later dropped on "The Children of the Night" for a rock-based blueprint protruding from Tribulation's death metal seeds. While the changes have been drastic, Tribulation has maintained a sense of individuality, establishing itself more as a concept than a particular sound. What "The Children of the Night" lacks in intensity it makes up for in a horror-themed brand of subtlety, lightly glazed over the band's death metal roots and the more experimental elements of "The Formulas of Death" hiding in its cracks and fissures.

Tribulation proved early on they weren't easy to trip up-taking on death/thrash metal in its truest form on "The Horror" proved fruitful while some have yet to even make a dent. The band's creative skill and knack for writing excellent music are the cogs on which "The Children of the Night" gains momentum, despite showing a different trajectory. The production of the album reveals something more passive and careful; the drum sound and the heaviness of the guitars have been dialed back a bit. The songs, likewise, are structured like rock tunes, not so eager to ejaculate constant bedlam. Clean guitar lines and rocking riffs have replaced the blazing death metal aesthetic of yesteryears. There are no blast beats, no Slayer-esque solos, no recipes for annihilation.

But "The Children of the Night" merely twists the symmetry of the Tribulation dynamic into something subtle and atmospheric. The band seems more adventurous than ever in this reserved state of mind, ironically. "Strange Gateways Beckon" props up soft guitar lines between its heavy, crawling rock riffs, while "In the Dreams of the Dead" and the rocking "Melancholia" flirt passively with psychedelic influences lingering in its backdrop. The melodies and lead guitar aesthetic, especially in this style, are profound to the record's addictive sound and its mystery. These points come to a head on the closing "Music from the Other," a spine-chilling, shadowy opus of Tribulation becoming more than a specific sound.

The vocals are still harsh, unmistakably the same voice heaving over "The Horror" and "The Formulas of Death." The important thing to realize is that while Tribulation's roots are still present in lingering forms, the rock-based template brings a new energy to a paradigm that had proved itself ahead of the pack. Tribulation's efforts prior to "The Children of the Night" were outstanding, and while it did take a while for the conditions of this evolutionary curve to make sense, the results, when fully revealed, were worth the sweat. The group's ability to expand creatively is augmented by superb musical performances and memorable tracks, which drip with the dark genius of Tribulation. It's important to take "The Children of the Night" for what it is, not what Tribulation was.

Tribulation - The Children of the Night
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