Story by Jonathan Sasser / Contributing Writer
Death metal has an interesting reputation to those who don’t regularly listen to it. The growling vocals and the heavy metal sounds could turn people away from an album that has those in spades, yet if you take the time to listen to it, you could find something to enjoy. This is true for Tribulation’s new album “Down Below.”
Tribulation is a Swedish death metal band and their new album embraces the traditional sounds of death metal to great effect. In songs such as “Purgatorio,” the piano and lead guitar pair up to give off the eerie atmosphere that is the core of this album while in “Nightbound,” they couple up to bring about an energetic and exciting melody, like careening down the highway in a sports car. Tribulation definitely put their instruments to good use to give off both of these feelings during the duration of the album.
The main factor that bars access to music such as death metal is the vocals. In traditional death metal, the singer growls and howls like a demon. For some, this would be just what they’re looking for, but to the public, it is a huge turn-off. The band’s lead singer, Johannes Andersson, doesn’t get to levels of demonic as some bands get to, but the growls are there, and he is very great in his singing. Ultimately, it is up to you, the listener, on whether or not you can weather this storm.
The lyrics are this album’s failing, however. They are almost a caricature of what death metal songs are about, with the singer crying out about “death” or “darkness” every few lines. There is no apparent deeper meaning to these lyrics, nothing that tells a little story or draws imagery into the listener’s head. This album’s lyrics aren’t an example of the more complex and complete death metal, they are merely a stereotype.
The music is fast and exciting and the singer delivers great vocals, however the lyrics are severely lacking in imagination and inspiration, drawing heavily upon only the surface level of what death metal lyrics could be. This album is great to listen to at a shallow level, but it’ll be hard to get any deeper than that.
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