CD Review: “The Aftermath of Lies” by Tribulance

Twenty-two years since its sole album, Trials and Tribulations, Arizona metal act Tribulance return with The Aftermath of Lies. The chugging riffs and soaring vocals are equal parts Pantera and Judas Priest, and that is not a bad thing. The American metal scene is currently saturated with tech death metal and bad doom metal groups. In that regard Tribulance’s vintage sound is somewhat refreshing. Sure, we have it before but nothing is original under the sun. The quartet gets straight to business on “Oblivious” which opens with pounding drums and a descending riff. The band transitions between a bumpy groove and thrash. Vocalist Mike Vidal’s lofty voice is Halfordesque and is certainly a highlight on this track. “Conflict” is a down and gritty hardcore track with punchy guitar riffs that sound like mallets hitting concrete. The title track continues in the same vein with its mid-tempo and swarming guitar riff. The only soft spot is the guitar soloing as Sal Flores just throws notes together and ends it with half hearted guitar tapping. Still, the band shoots for groove over virtuosity and it works. Album closer “Walk The Talk” is the heaviest track on Aftermath. It is a relentless thrasher with dynamic riffing and an aggressive attitude.

The Aftermath of Lies has a Nineties sound with its groove laden tracks and “street” attitude. It is not as confrontational as A Vulgar Display of Power or Burn My Eyes, but those records are a clear influence. It sounds like the angry younger brother emulating his older siblings and does a fairly decent job. There is little variety on the album. However, the clean vocals and decent guitar work keep things interesting for 39 minutes. The album’s brevity is a plus as Tribulance makes its point and gets out. The production is good considering the members produced it themselves. The guitar sound is thick but not overdone while Vidal’s vocals are very clear in the mix.

The Aftermath of Lies is worth a listen for fans of groove metal. It is a fun record that will keep your head bobbing. Tribulance would certainly do well to tour on this album as it will get a pit started. Tribulance proves you cannot keep the old school down.

Check out the band’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TRIBULANCE-1432876726954942/

CD Review: Down – IV Part 2

 

CD Review: Down – IV Part 2

 

downalbum2014ivpart2Review by David Feltman

 

Maybe it’s just side project fatigue. Phil Anselmo has a new record label and an amazing new solo act. Jimmy Bower has a new Eyehategod album (the first in four years) nearing its release date. And though by no means greenhorns, newly joined members Bobby Landgraf of Honky and Patrick Bruders of Outlaw Order, Crowbar and Goatwhore have definitely changed the dynamic of the band. Pepper Keenan is the only original member giving Down his full attention. Whatever the reason or the context, Down IV Part 2 is just as just as loose and lazy as its predecessor.

 

The second half to 2012’s Purple EP is chock-a-block with classic riffs and devilish solo work, but the sound is bright and tinny. All the content for a good album (or half an album) is present and all of these songs are beastly when played live opening night in Birmingham. But the EP is largely maligned by faults in production and editing. Songs that start off heavy quickly loose steam and deliciously sleazy riffs are derailed by Anselmo’s phoned-in wails and grunts. IV Part 2 is deprived of the bottom end “oomph” you’d expect from a super group of southern metal gods. It’s neither as tightly composed as NOLA nor as explosive as the solo work with The Illegals.

 

Like II, many of the songs on Part 2 are borderline classic/hard rock rather than true metal, but that’s by design. Tracks like “Conjure” and “Bacchanalia” both capture the spirit of Sabbath worship that informs IV as a whole. These songs are nothing short of sexy, even if both tracks fall apart at the end. It’s evident Down is attempting to pay homage to the doom-addled forefathers of the southern metal sound, but the band is at its best when it focuses on its own sound. While IV Part 2 is a decent album, it’s ultimately more satisfying to go back and listen to those classic bands Down is emulating (Black Sabbath, Trouble, St. Vitus, Witchfinder General, Pentagram…) rather than to enjoy the tribute Down is offering.