Tribulation @ Gebr Nobel, Leiden, 28 January 2016

The Swedish Tribulation is a bit of an odd band. Starting out as a more or less typical Swedish death metal band on their debut album, they moved in a far more progressive direction with their second album. Long songs, with a firm basis in death metal but with lots of lead guitar work going on. And with their latest album they continued in that same style, but with more compact songs. Last tour I caught them in the Little Devil bar in Tilburg, this time they played in a much larger venue in Leiden.

The opening band is another Swedish band, called Vampire. Thrashy death metal is what they play. I must say they had a lot of energy on stage, especially the drummer and vocalist. The drummer plays a very minimalistic drumkit, but kept his drumming interesting nevertheless. The lead guitar is quite solid, with some interesting melodies and leads. But they lack in the riff department. Most of the riffing is quite mundane.

The second band is Grave Pleasures. One would expect a kind of death-n-roll band, but this was closer to gothic rock. Formerly called beastmilk (I can see why they changed their name). Not really my kind of music, although some of the guitar work is decent. The drummer is rather annoying. The vocals are dull and trying to reach some high notes and failing terribly is just lousy.

Then finally Tribulation. I had heard them called zombie drags. Well at least one of the guitarists has a definite feminine appearance combined with dusty corpsepaint that they apply, makes that sound quite fair. The ballet-like moves of said guitarist make it all the more uncanny. And one doesn’t see hollow-body electric guitars much in metal. The drums, bass and vocals are quite solid, but must of the fireworks come from the guitars and they get all the room they need. And they are all over the place with leads and riffs, still keeping it all together as a very solid song. And unlike last time they go back to their death metal roots with a couple of songs off the debut. These songs however sound a bit too slick and could use a grainier distortion. The rest of the set is divided evenly between the last two albums. Quite a good, albeit weird gig from a bit of an oddball death metal act that transcends their style without compromising.

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