Review by Vladimir on May 30, 2023.
Darkness and death are always lurking around every corner, even as we speak. Today I will be covering a new release by one of the most interesting and experimental bands within the Swedish metal scene, Tribulation. Tribulation is one of those bands that took me a while to get into after a few attempts, because their music was very hard for me to understand. They are very unique in the sense that their songwriting is very simplistic yet so progressive and complex with a mystical aura around it. Their style of horror-themed gothic/black/heavy metal with rock ‘n roll influence helped the band shape and define their signature sound which has been prominent for over a decade after they shifted from death metal. The subject of today’s review will be their latest EP Hamartia released on April 7th, via Century Media Records.
Hamartia is another example of Tribulation continuing to push their traditional sound made of rock ‘n roll guitar riffs with harmonizing guitar leads and harsh vocals by Johannes Andersson, while the drums often play in mid-tempo rhythm with occasional moments of reverse drum beats. On top of that, we also have very beautiful heavy metal like guitar solos and guitar leads which dominate on the second track 'Axis Mundi'. The third track 'Hemoclysm' is a bit more progressive in terms of songwriting when compared to the previous ones, focusing more on tender guitar work and soloing during instrumental sections which are very complex like they’re influenced by Rush or Blue Öyster Cult. Speaking of Blue Öyster Cult, the final track on this EP is the cover of their song 'Vengeance (The Pact)', which is surprisingly well done in Tribulation’s style and fits so well with the other songs on this EP. One thing that I always found very questionable about the EP is why does the woman portrayed on the cover art look a lot like Lindsay Schoolcraft (Antiqva, Coldbound, The Astroplex, ex-Cradle of Filth). I am not sure if this is just something that I came across or if anyone else felt the same way when they observed the art closely. That isn’t to say that the album cover is bad by any means, it’s just that this small detail made my mind boggle, while also making me wonder if this was done on purpose or if it was just a coincidence. Production-wise, the EP takes the usual route of Tribulation’s previous releases with the very clean guitar and drum sound, without applying too much distortion to the guitars.
Hamartia is an overall enjoyable and promising release which will definitely open new doors for a potential sixth Tribulation album in the near future. The band is obviously not attempting to push their songwriting out of their limits and their style of music very much remains inside their comfort zone. It is very easy for people to miss out on this EP if they’re only interested in full-length releases, so I would highly recommend that you check this one out before we get another album from Tribulation.
Rating: 8.6 out of 10907