With Wacken XXX looming up to stomp its big metal footprint on Germany again this summer, we’re taking a look at a bunch of the bands who are hitting its iconic stages for the first time. Today we feature some words from Adam, guitarist with Sweden’s Tribulation.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
When we started the band 15 years ago we just wanted a name that sounded cool and sombre, basically. We couldn’t use just anything of course, it had to have some kind of meaning that fit well with the band, so we started looking through lyrics of other bands and things like that. Eventually I found the word Tribulation in the Morbid Angel song “Visions From the Dark Side”. We didn’t quite know the full meaning of the word back then, with all the biblical connotations and such, but it sounded grim enough and had to do with both getting through hardships and, hopefully, coming out of them stronger as well as having to do with the other worldly.
Describe your music. Who are your musical influences?
I would advise you to listen to it, that’s the best way to find out! We’ve had a long creative journey since we started the band and our first album was what many would call “Old School Death Metal” with loads of horror influences. The horror influences are still there, as are the “death metal vocals” but the music has changed a bit over the years. It’s become something of a heavy metal/rock/goth/extreme metal hybrid. It feels awful to just write that description, and I hope there’s more to our music than that, but there you go. Perennial influences: Italian horror, Iron Maiden, Morbid Angel, Popol Vuh, dark art of varied kinds. Then we also have loads of temporary influences and they can be anything at all. I can get more inspired from the texture on some kind of fabric than from an entire LP of some great band, it depends on what’s going on.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We usually stay on the other side of this reality, delving into symbolism, religion, mythology and literature, as well as popular culture. We write about method and theory as well as practise. Not everything in the band is “dark”, but it’s difficult for something that isn’t to qualify. The word dark in this context is really quite difficult to describe as it’s got to do with the feeling of the music together with the lyrics, but spiritually antinomian would be one way of describing it. The over all experience and the place that the music along with the lyrics take you to is the most important thing, there’s no message.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Theatrical and intense, dreamy and etheric. Hopefully! We’ve always felt that the live show has been equally as important as the music and have always been inspired by big live shows, like shows with Kiss and Iron Maiden. That’s what we’re aiming for, but with a more sinister vibe. But as with everything else with do, it takes on a life of its own and I think we’re carving out our own niche there as we speak. I have no idea how many shows we’ve played, probably around 500.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Things that cannot be mentioned in an interview! Anything can happen during a show of course, but we try to keep it as controlled as possible within the frame of this intensity. Controlled chaos. We’ve always been a band that discourages “end of tour” pranks and things like that as a Tribulation show is not a joke, not in any way. It can be joyful and ecstatic but never humorous, at least not intentionally…!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We’re still touring on our latest album Down Below that we released via Century Media in January 2018. We will start writing a new album this summer, but before that comes out we might have something else for you!
Other than Wacken, what are your plans for 2019?
We just started the festival summer a few weeks ago and will continue with that all summer. Then. We’ll see, we have plans in the making!
What are you most looking forward to at Wacken this year?
Our show of course! I haven’t been to Wacken in over 10 years, so it’ll be cool to see how it’s changed!