TRIBULATION – Out Of The Shadows Into The Night

April 27, 2016, 2 years ago

Nick Balazs

feature black death heavy metal tribulation

TRIBULATION – Out Of The Shadows Into The Night

Swedish act Tribulation caused many headlines and hype with their newest album, The Children Of The Night, released in April 2015 through Century Media Records. The record is a combination of styles that journalists and reviewers can’t seem to get a grasp of, as they’ve been called thrash metal and doom metal though their style fits closer with death metal. All these different genre tags doesn’t bother guitarist and songwriter Adam Zaars.

“We’re everything, it doesn’t really matter. We’re Tribulation and we come from death metal I’d say in the beginning. What we’re doing now, I’m not sure,” states the guitarist.

One tag that did come his way was gothic metal, which he doesn’t agree with. “We’re a gothic type of metal, but I would never say we’re Goth metal,” says Zaars.

Tribulation has certainly come a long way since the rabid, pure death metal of 2009 debut The Horror. Their second album, 2013’s The Formulas Of Death, showed they weren’t one trick ponies and introduced progressive and psychedelic elements to their sound and now they’ve come to refine it with this newest platter, which I think can safely be called “progressive death/black metal.”

So what is Zaar’s response to the criticism that Tribulation turned their back on death metal and is now “indie rock with growls?”

“That’s a first one for me,” Zaars says with a chuckle. “I get it to some extent. Some people really, really like the first album and of course they want to hear that live and hear more from that.” 

The Swede is against the notion that the band is trying for more commercial appeal to gain a wider audience and that they’ve should have stuck with pure, unadulterated death metal. “If we’re doing that we would be writing music to satisfy other people,” Zaars matter-of-factly says. “I’m not sure we are satisfying ourselves with the music we’re doing now, but we’re at least trying to make honest art and if people say we’re selling out because of this ‘indie rock’ sound then I don’t agree with them because I think we’d be selling out more if we we’re doing what was expected of us,” concludes Zaars.

Zaars thinks it’s important to keep doing new things and bringing new elements to push the metal genre forward and he’s not one to sit back to do the same type of music. “I think I just get bored with our own music,” Zaars says.

That’s quite the statement to make about his own band, but Zaars made sure to get his point across.

“I mean I’m not bored of our songs, but when I write a new song, I don’t want it to really sound like; I want people to know that it’s us, but I don’t want to do the same ideas over and over again. I’m tired of predictable things I think,” he says.

Tribulation has clearly set out on their own path and with The Children Of The Night, Zaars had confidence making a long album in this digital age and also had this blossoming feeling that the album would gain a much positive reaction.

Zaars was not surprised to the high praise the album received saying, “We were expecting it and I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but we were on a clear, distinct path and certain things have to happen and this is just one of them. It’s really cool people like it and was something we were working on for a long time and something we really put our souls into; so when others like it, that’s really all you can ask for.”

The Formulas Of Death pushed the 75 minute mark while The Children Of The Night hovered at around an hour, but it wasn’t a bold move for them to make. Zaars points out, “People said the same thing with our second album, that it was a ‘bold, bold move’; it’s not a bold move for us because we’re not doing this to sell a lot of albums. We’re obviously in the wrong business if we want to sell albums so might as well do it the way you want to do it.”

Tribulation are just a long line of high quality heavy metal/hard rock coming out of Sweden. There’s Sabaton, Opeth, H.E.A.T., Portrait, Enforcer, RAM, Ghost, Treat, and countless others. What’s in the water in that nation? Zaars doesn’t have an idea where that comes from. He says, “People usually say because we get money from the government to rehearse and stuff, but I don’t know. I think someone should seriously do an essay on this and find out.”

(Photo by: Nick Balazs)

Maybe I found my next assignment, but closing in a bit more, Tribulation comes from the town Arvika along with Enforcer, which as of 2010 holds a population less than 15,000 and Zaars is proud how they have made it out of that small town and speaks to what inspired him. “When we were growing up, we had this festival, a big festival every year in the summer which was originally industrial and synth oriented. Every year for one week, our small city would be invaded by a lot of really cool and alternative people and I imagine that inspired us because it gave us a glimpse into something else,” reflects the guitarist.

The festival is called the Arvika Festival, which has been around since 1992, and is the biggest annual event in the area. International artists like Rammstein, Ministry, Franz Ferdinand, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and Korn have performed there.

Zaars also credits his friends and wanting to make heavy metal music. He says, “We we’re just a bunch of friends basically because there were others, not just Enforcer and Tribulation. We we’re playing with a lot of different people and I think it helped motivate us.”

Tribulation recently finished up the Decibel Magazine Tour with supporting Skeletonwitch, High On Fire, and headlining act Abbath. They are now on another run supporting Ghost as I had a theory debunked when I told Zaars that I was confident at least one of the Tribulation members was were in the Grammy award winning band and he flatly told me that I was wrong. These shows will be Tribulations biggest in the US so far and sees the pairing as a “perfect match” with their theatrical shows and is pleasantly surprised by how audiences have reacted to them.

“We played shows with them in Sweden and Norway and people really seemed to like though we are a lot more extreme than they are,” he states. “I would expect Ghost fans to like just regular heavy metal/hard rock, but so far they seem to like what we’re doing as well.”

Last, but not least, is it too early to talk about new music?

“A little too soon, but we’re starting to develop some ideas, but what we have now can also change, but it’s happening at least.”

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