If the phrase It takes one to know one has any merit, then Tribulation should be able to spot a vampire. The Swedish black’n’goth band struck oil with their sweeping 2015 album The Children Of The Night, and have since become one of the most important contemporary bands for any metal fan who likes their music spooky but wants it to retain its edge. Now, the band are preparing to release their fifth full-length record and Metal Blade debut When the Gloom Becomes Sound, which promises to be both their most far-reaching and creepy-crawly release to date.
It’s long been our suspicion that rock and metal is secretly inhabited by the undead, and we figured if anyone would know who they were, it would be Tribulation. Thankfully, guitarist Adam Zaars took a moment to give us the inside scoop on which mainstays of heavy music were probably traveling around with a coffin full of their native soil. Here are the six bloodsuckers Adam warned us about…
“The obvious choice would have been Gene [Simmons], The Demon and The God of Thunder, the spitter of blood. But no. Even though Gene had all the gloom and gore that I so desperately craved, my attention was always drawn to The Spaceman, who seemed to me an immortal… something. Did I think in specifically vampirical terms? No, I didn’t. But if there ever was an intergalactic vampire, visible in all his splendor to the people of Earth, it must have been The Spaceman. He has to live off of something other than all that fine booze.”
Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel)
“That same quality that made Ace Frehley shimmer with an immortal glow can also be found in my imaginary construction of Mr. Azagthoth, but with a considerably darker hue. There are few people whose mere image inspired me as much as photos of Trey when I was in my teens. Just have a look at those photos of him drinking his own blood and spewing out curses over the crown in those early days and you’ll see what I mean. They are easier to come by these days. Does he sleep in a coffin? Does he live in a Floridian swamp castle? Does he have access to grimoires penned by demons? I don’t know about the books, but the rest seemed not to be the case – but in my mind he still did.”
Jinx Dawson (Coven)
“The immortal spark, that distinctive sign of the heroes of old, can also come in female form, obviously. This brings me to Jinx Dawson — who might actually sleep in a coffin — of Coven, another one of those possessors of arcane knowledge who even supposedly comes from a lineage of witchery. It all seems a bit more substantial and less of a teenage boy’s imaginary feeding into an established but fluid egregore, even though the myth is still strong in this one. On top of that, she even seems to have acquired not only the heroine’s immortality, but also that of a more physical nature. The old alchemists would be envious, it’s quite the feat. Hails to you, Jinx!
Per “Dead” Ohlin (Mayhem)
“As we know from the lore, even vampires can perish, and with Dead, we’re back in the land of myth, dreams and expectations, and a fantastical but potent world that has influenced Tribulation to a great extent. To paraphrase the man himself: he was a mortal, but was he a human? It was a tragic fate, but I hope he finally came to his beloved Transylvania, to the land beyond the forest.”
“This is me feeding the fire that is the myth of Aleister Crowley, but since I imagine this myth had an impact on Mr. Page, it seems only reasonable. Having owned the Boleskine House where The Beast 666 himself performed the infamous practices of Abramelin the Mage — but never finished if I’m not mistaken — he in my mind qualifies to this list of vampires. Not only that, but he was also a possessor of that immortal quality that only the rockstars of old seemed be able to own and make full use of, before the disenchanting forces of the Internet more or less completely ruined the magick. Enigmatic, stylish and dark he fits well with the aristocratic vampire ideals that Bram Stoker constructed and disseminated.”
Steve Sylvester (Death SS)
“I once, at the dawn of time, shared a taxi with Steve Sylvester, among other members of Death SS, from Berlin to the south of Germany, and everything I could think about was that we were bound to crash if I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. They thought, by the way, that I was a volunteer from the festival we were heading to and not a member of another band playing, but that misunderstanding was solved when they asked me to buy water and something to eat for them at a gas station. I did not! If you ever find yourself in Italy in a metal context you might want to think twice about even saying the name of ‘the band,’ the cursed one, or you might start worrying about crashing a car or getting into some other kind of accident. Some people think it’s nonsense of course, but others take it very seriously. We never did crash as I did keep my mouth shut, and Mr. Sylvester turned out to be a really nice guy, him being a vampire and all.”
Tribulation’s When the Gloom Becomes Sound drops January 29th via Metal Blade Records, and is available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin