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Tribulation - The Formulas of Death CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.93 | 8 ratings

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4 stars "The Formulas of Death" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Tribulation. The album was released through Invictus Productions/The Ajna Offensive in March 2013. Itīs been a few years since the release of "The Horror (2009)", and thereīs been one lineup change as drummer Jakob Johansson has been replaced by Jakob Ljungberg.

However judging by the sound of "The Formulas of Death" the longer recording break probably had little to do with lineup changes and more to do with time spend with the development of the bandīs sound. Tribulation were founded under the Hazard monicker in 2001 but changed their name to Tribulation in 2004. They initially played a fast-paced and brutal death/thrash metal style, which is also heard on the "Putrid Rebirth" EP from 2009. They tweaked their sound towards a more old school type of death metal on their debut full-length studio album "The Horror (2009)" (still with nods towards more aggressive death/thrash though), but has changed their sound again on "The Formulas of Death". This time around the listener is treated to a progresive and psychadelic tinged death metal that is quite unusual sounding.

The material on the 11 track, 75:48 minutes long album is generally pretty adventurous with both long structures and innovative ideas. Thereīs a retro 70s feel to some of the proceedings, but itīs only an element of the bandīs sound. The organic sounding production further enhances that feeling. This is still old school death metal in many ways though, and at times also rather brutal, but seldom for long before a laid back psychadelic section kicks in, or a tempo change or break leads to something else. The tracks are still pretty consistent though, and nothing feels completely out of place or forced. Itīs music that takes a bit of getting used to though, and to my ears the growling vocals (which are actually higher pitced and aggressive rather than deep and growling) are slightly monotone and could easily have prospered from more variation (and a higher place in the mix).

Upon conclusion "The Formulas of Death" is a very bold move by Tribulation, which could have sunk their career by alienating their fans, but as far as I understand itīs an album which has received almost universal praise. And itīs obvious why. The songwriting is simply on a higher level than on most contemporary releases on the scene and paired with strong musicianship, and a very well sounding production, "The Formulas of Death" ultimately comes off as a very high quality release. There are a few issues like the ones mentioned above and the too long playing time is also a slight issue, but other than that itīs a great release for fans of innovative/progressive old school death metal with a psychadelic twist and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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