Album Review: Tribulation – Down Below 9 (Gothic Metal)

  • Tribulation
  • Down Below
  • Gothic Metal/Death Rock
  • Sweden
  • 2018
  • 9/10


I fell in love with this record within the first couple of tracks. It appeals to an older gothic sensibility that I enjoyed a lot as a teenager in the early 00’s. Down Below has a black and death metal influence, it’s like a more grounded Cradle of Filth and catchier, perhaps closer to such acts as Amorphis or Paradise Lost. The opening track should convince most listeners in no time that they are in for a good show no matter what their preconceptions of these bands are. It has a strong presentation and a defined sound.

There’s a lot of guitar hooks and memorable riffs on this album that use a higher variety of notes thanks in part to the addition of some piano. It’s a sound that really suits coming out of Sweden, it has a mystical element to it and a good amount of cheese. Both important ingredients in any gothic metal band – particularly one of this high quality. I’m especially digging the guitar solos that hearken back to old school rock and heavy metal. I want to stress that when I use the term ‘gothic metal’ I’m not referring to operatic or symphonic gothic metal, you know the shitty bands I could name here, this is a death vocal driven piece of melancholia.

The album is well constructed, often calling back to earlier riffs from the album for a sort of reprise that works nicely. It keeps the album feeling like a whole isolated experience from beginning to end, a proper performance. I could easily imagine these guys doing a death metal musical.

It’s a familiar sound and it’s done with a lot of expertise and crunch to the sound. I could recommend it to people from all parts of the metal community. It’s a serious piece of music but also a lot of fun at the same time. It’s similar to how I feel like about a lot of Devin Townsend’s releases. I’m going to enjoy going through Tribulation’s discography and getting to know them a bit better.



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