Moving away from their death metal roots has been brave decision for Swedish quartet Tribulation – but with new album The Children Of The Night, their songwriting flair has been pushed right to the fore – with stunning results.
Richard Holmes caught up with guitarist Adam Zaars to talk about the band’s evolution… and the never-ending onslaught of Swedish metal.
RUSHONROCK: The Children Of The Night seems to ‘flow’ as an album very well, rather than just being a collection of tracks. Is that something you are very conscious of and in the digital age, do you think that is something of a lost art?
ADAM ZAARS: It was conscious to some extent. We didn’t have the track list laid down from the start but we knew which song to finish the album with and then Jonathan (Hultén, guitars) consciously wrote the opening track. Then we spent a lot of time arranging the order of the tracks. It’s very important of course. The individual tracks are also important but we’re making an album! Sure, it might be a lost art but the ‘hit songs’ phenomenon isn’t really new.
RUSHONROCK: Does it annoy you that people label as a death metal band, when your music has moved away from the traditional style of that genre?
AZ: Not at all. I don’t really see the need to label us as anything in particular. I just saw us described as ‘transcendental dark rock’ – that fits pretty well I guess! I read something new like that every day. People can say anything they want about us really, I don’t really care.
RUSHONROCK: How do you feel the band has moved on, in songwriting terms, from your first album, The Horror, to where you are now? And how have you grown as musicians in that time?
AZ: You continuously grow as both a songwriter and musician, it’s just something that happens. You notice new things that you haven’t thought about before when it comes to songwriting, but even then it’s just something that happens to us. Improving as a musician is inevitable when you play live and rehearse as much as we do. The writing process differed in that we were in a completely different stage and state this time around. We were all in the same city and we all met each other every week. That wasn’t the case on our previous album (The Formulas of Death), which I ended up writing the majority of the material for. The new one was more of a band effort. Jonathan wrote five songs and I wrote five songs and we worked on most of them with the entire band present. It turned out really well I think and we’ll definitely stick to that way of doing things.
RUSHONROCK: You recorded The Children Of The Night across many different studios – why was this and what kind of impact did it have?
AZ: At first it was a financial question. We knew where we wanted to record the drums but we couldn’t afford to stay there throughout the entire recording. Our producer, Ola Ersfjord, made it all work. We recorded the guitars, the bass and the vocals in Nicke Andersson’s (Entombed, The Hellacopters) basement in his new studio, Honk Palace. It was great! Then after that we needed a studio with a lot of different instruments since we used so many additional instruments on the album and so we went into Studio Cobra to do that. That was the most inspiring part for me. It all worked out really well I think, we always had something to look forward to and we never got sick of the room and so on. I think it was a great way of doing it!
RUSHONROCK: Bar music, what other influences have had an impact on Tribulation?
AZ: Anything and everything. The case with inspiration to me is that it is often just an impression of something that gets me going – an image, a sound, a sentence. But of course, in-depth analysis of something works too, say Iron Maiden or something. But it can really be anything… and I never know what and when!
RUSHONROCK: Which songs on The Children Of The Night mean the most to you?
AZ: The one that’s closest to me is The Motherhood of God. It was created in a burst of inspiration. For most people that might be a couple of hours but for me it was a couple of days, and when you compare that to a year or longer that it usually takes for me to write something it’s very fast. Melancholia is another song that became a favourite after a while. It was one of the songs we struggled with the longest and it seemed like we would never finish it, but in the end it became one of the best I think.
RUSHONROCK: What do you think it is about Sweden that still makes the country such a major producer of quality metal and extreme metal bands?
AZ: I have no idea… we seem to have more musicians than fans actually! Some speculate that it’s because the state helps with paying for rehearsal rooms – it might be. I really don’t have a good answer on that one, I think someone should write an essay on the subject!
RUSHONROCK: What are your long term ambitions for Tribulation?
AZ: We want to be able to give people the real Tribulation show, and hopefully in the future we can afford that! When we can we’ll do a great tour I’m sure.
The Children Of The Night is out now on Century Media.