Sweden’s Tribulation embrace the black metal style with an almost delightful punk enthusiasm. Their music has all the earmarks of modern blackened metal but there is a certain “old school” quality about them, a nod to the dark past from whence they came, that mellows the harsh edge many attribute to the genre. Instead, what you get is a smooth, almost velveteen evil that is as seductive as a vampire’s gaze.
The band is going to bring their sound as the opener on the upcoming 2016 Decibel Magazine Tour, which will see them share the stage with High on Fire, Skeletonwitch, and one of the biggest names in the black metal world, Abbath!
To celebrate this upcoming tour, we spoke with guitarist Adam Zaars about their latest album The Children of the Night, the tour, and their fascination with the occult and horror. Head on down for this exclusive interview!
Talk to me about the upcoming Decibel Tour. It’s one helluva lineup, one that appeals to several different metal genre fans. What are you expecting? What’s it like knowing you’re going to be touring with the legendary Abbath?
We’re looking forward to going back to the US again, it’s always a pleasure playing there. For some reason it works there for us, we like it there. This time around it’s a bit different than the previous tour we did with Deafheaven since it’s four bands now instead of just the very convenient two, but I’m sure this is going to be cool anyway, we’ve done it before. All of the bands are pretty much new to us so we don’t really know what to expect to be honest. It seems like a very wide line up style wise which is always nice, so we’re expecting a lot of different kinds of people to come! The more the merrier…
‘The Children of the Night’ received incredibly high acclaim from several big name publications. What do you feel this kind of support brings the band?
It of course helps us in some way, but in the end it’s all up to the music and it’s up to us to deliver that music to people live. Albums are of great importance, but we very much see Tribulation as a live band, a full experience, a place to let go of the mundane world and your mundane self. It’s all up to us basically, and the fans, not journalists. Better distribution and better press is never really a bad thing of course and it helps bring any band to new people, but so does touring. That said, of course it’s nice for us to get great reviews in so many different places and in magazines and webzines that are so different in style, it shows that we can reach a wide array of people with our music.
I watched your video for “Strange Gateways Beckon”, which looked to me like it had a strong influence from Ingmar Bergman. There’s obviously a love for the darker side of art with your music and visuals. What draws you to that?
I’m pretty sure Gustav Öhman Spjuth who directed it is influenced by Ingmar Bergman, and we also wanted it to have that old Swedish feel to it. Darkness gives things an edge that is otherwise missing, and it’s what makes Tribulation…Tribulation. It’s always felt like home to us, so I’m not sure what draws us to it, it’s just there and it’s always been there. It’s what makes something otherwise dead interesting I would say. What we are doing, since we’re already immersed in it, is that we’re mining the gold that is hidden inside of it and bring that to the surface. That’s what we’re presenting to the world, because there’s a depth and a width to our music I would say, it’s not only the darkest of dark, there are also glimpses of light.
I know that Tribulation has some strong influences from the occult and supernatural mythology. Can you tell me about that and what kind of impact it has on your songwriting and general musical approach?
That’s a personal interest finding its way in to the art that we make. It would be strange if it didn’t affect it, and it sure does. I think we all (in the band) have different answers to this question, but to me it’s a matter of a lifestyle choice and world view that is always present even when I don’t compose music, so it’s not that Tribulation is the final outcome of a spiritual life, it’s a part of it, it’s the art of it. To me music in itself is a very spiritual and psychedelic thing because it makes you think, it makes you feel, it makes you travel to different universes and it can completely change your day or even your entire life. It’s activity that creates changes, and so is spirituality. Also when I compose music I always make a thing about making the foundation of the songs, be it a melody or a drum beat, come from some place unknown to me. A long walk is usually the best thing for that for me, eventually I find myself humming a melody and that then makes it into the songs. It’s an unconscious thing, and it’s been a very good formula so far. “Occult”, in a way I guess. The lyrics also always have a spiritual theme.
Metal and horror have long been bedfellows. Do you find inspiration in the horror genre and, if so, what about it intrigues you? What do you takeaway from it?
We take atmosphere and aesthetics (which in itself creates an atmosphere) from it. And it’s not really horror in general, it’s quite specific and I guess anyone can tell really. I mean, we don’t really have zombies all around anymore, and even when we did in the past that wasn’t really the big thing. Ever since the beginning of the band we wanted the music to have the same feeling we get when watching Nosferatu (both of them actually), it’s a very bone chilling atmosphere, deadly and poisonous in way, yet it’s very , very beautiful at the same time. It’s “necromantic” I guess. The music and what the music actually transfers to people is always in motion and it reaches outside of that feeling at times, but that’s still the core of it. Another thing we have taken from horror movies is inspiration from the soundtracks, most notably music by Fabio Frizzi and Goblin. Atmosphere again. I also personally have an interest in a lot of other horror and b-movies, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with Tribulation.
Decibel Magazine Tour Dates:
Thursday, March 17 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Friday, March 18 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend
Saturday, March 19 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Sunday, March 20 – Ybor City, FL – The Ritz Ybor
Tuesday, March 22 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Live!
Wednesday, March 23 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
Friday, March 25 – Scottsdale, AZ – Live Wire
Saturday, March 26 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
Sunday, March 27 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
Monday, March 28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater DTLA
Tuesday, March 29 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
Thursday, March 31 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
Friday, April 1 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Saturday, April 2 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
Tuesday, April 5 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
Wednesday, April 6 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
Thursday, April 7 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
Friday, April 8 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Saturday, April 9 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
Sunday, April 10 – Toronto, ON – The Opera House
Tuesday, April 12 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
Thursday, April 14 – Boston, MA – Royale
Friday, April 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer