Swedish corpse-paint enthusiasts Tribulation's latest album, last January's Down Below, is one of the best of the year, a captivating mélange of metallic forms with some swirling psychedelia and romantic death-rock thrown in for good measure. Guitarist Adam Zaars (pictured above, far left) and the band certainly made their mark on 2018, and 2018 made an impression on him, too. We asked him to share some the highlights from his year. Below is what he offered up — "in no specific order, except for No. 1!"
The highlight of the year for me as I've been in a state of perpetual lamentation and grief since I regrettably missed them on The Book of Souls World Tour. Couldn't have asked for a better show and better company as I got the tickets and the whole trip as an (early) birthday present from my friends and most notably my girlfriend and travel companion Susanna. Hvala!
All of a sudden it happened, a new Funeral Mist album, just like that. After first listening to Devilry and Salvation and finally Maranatha, I've been in awe of the musical art that is Funeral Mist for well over 10 years now and the new Hekatomb is ... great! I still need to work on and digest this one, but yes, it's good. "Cockatrice," holy hell!
Thielska Galleriet at the Royal Djurgården in Stockholm was hosting the exhibition "Tyra Kleen: Artist, Vagabond, Adventurer" this summer. The incredible artist's travels took her from Sweden, around Europe, to the U.S. and all the way to India and, eventually, Bali and now we can finally admire her creativity. After her final demise in 1951, she admirably wanted her art to be sealed and locked away for 50 years, and that's what happened. I salute her!
It's not every day you're treated to VIP tickets to a Guns N' Roses show, but this was one of those days. Johannes and I were joined by both our partners. What a show, what a night! Thank you, Del James!
There are a bunch of new and interesting podcasts in Sweden at the moment that tackle political and philosophical questions and subjects in a (mostly) level-headed way, and I'll mention this one here since the hosts, Alexander Bard and Aron Flam, decided to have it in English. Yes, there's some Swenglish, yes, the grammar is at times quite off, but it's not always that easy for us Norsemen (and women!). I certainly don't agree with everything these gentlemen say, far from it, but it's invigorating to hear people discuss and talk about a wide range of topics without screaming at each other for once. Bard does kind of scream a little, but still. Listen, digest, absorb or reject.
Thanks to my friend Into this was my second time seeing the legendary Swedish punk icon Thåström this year (and ever!) and what a treat to do it in my small hometown of Arvika. I've seen bands like Slayer and Sisters of Mercy in Arvika before, but it's still a surreal feeling.
Rob Coffinshaker returns with his new outfit Underground Fire, and what a return! This mingles Destroyer-era (or possibly solo album–era) KISS with classic rock, early heavy-metal magic and it's all shrouded in the very familiar darkness that always emanates from his creations. I'm looking forward to a full-length album!
Sad, melancholic, beautiful and uplifting at the same time this record has been spinning a lot in my apartment. The best from Monsieur de la Cour so far, as far as I'm concerned, good job!
Did I get blown away? Was it as good as everybody said it was going to be? No, not even close. I was reminded of and left with a question that Erik Danielsson got in the old fanzine Dauthus' Appendix (hello Timo!) having just released Casus Luciferi: "So much is audible, seems to leave little to the subconscious. Instant stabs, but will the wounds be deep?" Then why do I bring it up here? Well, it was still pretty good for being 2018. The dancing/torture scene was incredible. I still kind of support remakes because there are many ways to portray a story. And you have got to hand it to Mr. Guadagnino for even trying to remake Argento's old masterpiece.
We still have serious occult authors and Craig is one of them. This book gives you a glimpse of the goings on within the inner cells of the cult and is a fascinating read. Strange, weird and mysterious! I'm looking forward to his upcoming book Tantric Physics II.