Our brilliant new writer Martin has been saying it for years now – but one cannot underline the truthfulness of his words too strongly: 20 Buck Spin might be the best label for EVERYTHING heavy at the moment! They have hellishly awesome Death, Doom, Black and all-genres-metal bands and they have one who can make you forget that you hated Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and all the other Symphonic shit bands who use good female vocals to make people forget how useless their music really is. Enter: Tribunal from Vancouver and their record The Weight of Remembrance!
Everything about this release screams ”Gothic! Gothic! Gothic!” - just look at the classic artwork, listen to the bells that toll at the record’s entrance, the strings that you find in so many tracks (e.g. close to the end of ”Apathy’s Keep”) or any of the many other elements that might force one to call this Gothic Metal. Moreover, isn’t Funeral Doom not simply Gothic Metal with a further emphasis on the moderate to slow speed of it? Some people might say so, but then again it is very much more dominated by a sparse and (often) brittle guitar tone.
Tribunal’s The Weight of Remembrance is not brittle at all – as it is often accompanied by either synths or strings (or both) it sparkles much more – take note of the subtle synth passages beneath the guitar on a track like ”A World Beyond Shadow” and you will hear that. A guitar line that finds support by the keys which then, at the end of it, even get a short moment of solo attention. Therefore this is clearly more Gothic in the sense of the word, it is more One Second than it is Shades of God, but it is also nothing like Obsidian or The Plague Within, not to mention Bloodbath at all. Some might choose The Otolith (or its predecessor SubRosa) as comparisons and it is quite a good one, even though one might rather consider Asphodel Wine, if one wants to connect it to a SubRosa-follow up side-project.
The sad character of the songs on this record is buried deep within the song structures, seeps through every note and every melody. There is a slow burning flame in songs like ”The Path (the final and longest track on Tribunal’s debut album) – a fire that is “in-extinguishable” as it seems for sometimes it is strengthened by some perfect uptempo drumming – close to slower blastbeats if you will! These little “attacks” keep the fires aflame and make for some really good and also necessary shifts, we all know how boring music can be if it sticks to one pace all the time without any changes. Soren’s vocals also show that she has listened to much more than “just” a fair share of classical Doom and Gothic records in her lifetime, and please do not think that her musical companion Etienne only gives you the usual growls; no he also delivers some vocal lines that enhance the whole thing brilliantly. But please do not expect neither clean vocals nor Black Metal screams from the guitarrero! Her vocals are really good, strong, clear, passionate and leading, but never looking for any unwanted grandezza as was/is the case with those bands mentioned in the first paragraph, there is no symphonic bullshittery on this record.
The duo does not have a steady drummer and will need one for their live performances, but the sound skeleton, made up of guitars, cello and duo-vocals are already so good that one cannot but even come up with a comparison that is unjust to any band: My Dying Bride. No, Soren and Etienne are not cloning the sound of the masters but they surely are following their footsteps – and they do so pretty, pretty well. I really hope they will cross the Atlantic for some shows later this year – I would love to see a candle-lit stage filled with the sounds and songs on The Weight of Remembrance. 20 Buck Spin again, laid-down ladies and gentle-deaths, 20 Buck Spin!