Review by Paul Castles
There was a period in the 80s whenever a horror flick proved gold-dust at the box office the movie moguls would pretty much repeat the exercise, and just add a ‘2’ and then a ‘3’ and so on. Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Halloween 3 – you get the idea. It would have been just as easy for Swedish ghoul hounds Tribulation to come up with The Horror ‘2’ to build on the success of their widely acclaimed debut release. The Swede’s seminal debut was a twin-horned demon that blended elements of black and death metal to produce a heaving concoction dripping with blood and guts. With song titles such as ‘Curse of Resurrection’ and ‘Seduced by the Smell of Rotten’, The Horror was everything a gore-fiend could want, an occultist’s wet dream of everything sick and evil.
With The Formulas of Death, Tribulation have shaken off the shackles to show a more considered side to their distorted vision of the world and, in all honesty, they sound all the better for it. This is slower, more thought-provoking, and at times even coming across as a Scandinavian prog rock experiment with vocals used sparingly. Calling the first track ‘Vagina Dentata’ demands you sit up and take notice although anyone expecting another manic Hammer Horror inspired sicko explosion will be disappointed, but then won over, by the creative instrumental opener. Tribulation are almost setting the scene with the first of the eleven tracks by saying ‘this time it’s different’. And what follows certainly is. On the stunning slow-burner ‘Supsiria’, Tribulation take you on a mesmerising atmospheric journey into the abyss. Numbers such as ‘Wanderer in the Darkness’ and ‘Spectres’ offer a whole new vibrancy, depth and dexterity although the latter still bristles with a few death metal barks from Johannes Andersson, as does the mammoth ‘When the Sky is Black with Devils’ which awakens with precise clean guitar before switching to a thumping death metal riff.
What you must give The Formulas of Death is time, let it permeate your pores and penetrate your skin. This baby won’t knock you out in the first round. But give it time and you’ll be hanging to the ropes, gasping for air and begging your corner man to throw in the towel. Tribulation have spread their wings and The Formulas of Death is the satisfying result.
8 out of 10
- Vagina Dentata
- Wanderer In The Outer Darkness
- Through The Velvet Black
- When The Sky Is Black With Devils
- Ultra Silvam