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Tribunal - The Weight Of Remembrance Award winner

Tribunal
The Weight Of Remembrance
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 16 January 2023, 9:38 AM

TRIBUNAL is a two person Gothic doom band based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  “The Weight Of Remembrance,” is their debut EP. I’ll go ahead and start the review with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but:  “The Weight Of Remembrance,” is a gorgeously dark and stunning album.  I can’t believe it is a debut; the band sounds wise beyond their established years.  I almost feel guilty reviewing this album because doom is my favorite genre overall and Gothic doom in particular was the style that got me into it initially.  How could I not like this?  How could any doom fan not like this?

Listening to this album brought me back to the times when I was first discovering bands like MY DYING BRIDE, TRISTANTIA, PARAMECIUM, DRACONIAN, and THEATRE OF TRAGEDY.  “The Weight Of Remembrance,” fits right at home with the early records of these bands and finds that sweet spot between merging ethereal Gothic elements with hard hitting extreme metal while still being melodic enough to add in a refreshing refinement to the atmosphere.  So I hope I have established at this point that the album isn’t just me being blinded by the dangers of nostalgia.  I think this album will be a good starting point for people who aren’t used to doom and want to explore the genre.   This is 20 Buck Spin’s first release of the year so TRIBUNAL are well poised to spearhead what already seems to be another strong year ahead for doom metal.

There are a few nitpicky issues about the album that I must bring up.  These two things may or may not bother others but I am a reviewer and must be honest by covering all the bases.  At times, the production comes off a little flat.  I’m not saying a somber and melancholic album like this should pop with all the fancy bells and whistles but the overall sound/mix could be a little more exciting.  The interlude, “Remembrance,” doesn’t do much for me.  It seems to be a track that would have been better served as an intro.  As it stands in the middle of the album, it kills the flow especially since it doesn’t really segue in or out of the tracks it is sandwiched in between.

With those two things said, I am so otherwise impressed with the album that I will go through each track with a small description.  I don’t want to give away too much—this is one of those albums that really needs to be discovered with a good pair of headphones and I don’t want my humble words to take away from that. “Initiation,” begins the journey with thumping bass and a classical approach to the music. It builds and flows appropriately, letting the heavy yet melodic guitars make their presence known in a natural way.  The extreme vocals are a raspy blackened death growl that is just perfect for the style. The clean vocals are perfect as well, proving the “beauty and the beast” vocal style may be tried and true but always welcomed.   The lead guitar meshes with the riffs and bass, all three creating that classic Gothic doom sound.  The drums are engaging and hard hitting, giving a performance that boosts the slower paced stylings.

Of Creeping Moss and Crumbled Stone,” is immediately tragic and mysterious.  The heavy guitars crash down like thunder, with cello and lead guitar accenting these darkened skies. The chorus is catchy as hell but not overused so each time hearing is enjoyable.  This song has a more atmospheric approach, the spaces in between the notes just as important as the music itself. The quiet tones of “Apathy’s Keep,” are emotional and even more so when mixed with the blanket of doom riffs that soon follows. This song is more riff based with thick slabs of metal making a path through these Gothic woods.  Soren’s gentle but also powerful vocal delivery guides the song to a more aggressive point around the the 4:20 mark, signified by a harrowing scream from Etienne.  As the guitars get more aggressive they also get more melodic in places, Etienne showcasing his ability to play what needs to be played and choosing the right moments to show a heavier side or throw some bleak light into the proceedings.

Other than the already mentioned interlude track, “A World Beyond Shadow” is the shortest song on the album and I think would be most digestible to non-doom fans.  It doesn’t take long to get going, heavy with chunky riffs, and has a good balance between the two vocal styles.  During the last couple of minutes, the drumming takes on much of the intensity, holding down that important foundation while letting the melodic vocals and guitars shine. The final two tracks, “Without Answer,” and the long epic “The Path,” are the two best songs on the album.  “Without Answer,” is vicious at times, what with Etienne’s vocal delivery but Soren hammers in that Gothic melancholy with apparent ease.  Her cello makes the song sound very regal and organic.  Around the halfway mark, the song ramps up the riffs to a pummeling level before cooling off for a slick guitar solo.

The Path,” is over twelve minutes long and finishes the album with a grandiose performance.  The first couple minutes are beautiful, a Gothic serenity of sorts. The band really gave it it their all with this song, an extreme focus that results in a flow that makes Every player gets time to show their abilities but the song writing is the hero here.  This is definitely a doom anthem. Ultimately, TRIBUNAL’s “The Weight Of Remembrance,” is indeed a heavy burden but one listeners will love to carry upon themselves.  This album starts doom off with a bang for 2023 and raises an already high bar for the genre.  This album has immense staying power and will survive the year to find itself on many “Best of 2023” lists.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Initiation
2. Of Creeping Moss and Crumbled Stone
3. Apathy's Keep 06:51
4. Remembrance
5. A World Beyond Shadow
6. Without Answer 06:14
7. The Path
Lineup:
Soren Mourne - Bass/Cello/Vocals
Etienne Flinn - Guitar/Vocals
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin
     


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