Album Review: The Weight of Remembrance by Tribunal (20 Buck Spin)

Vancouver’s gothic doom metal band, Tribunal, will release their debut album titled The Weight Of Remembrance on the 20th of January via 20 Buck Spin.

The Vancouver duo may yet be unknown to the wider world, but this debut album, The Weight Of Remembrance, is poised to immediately change that. Tribunal features classically trained cellist, bassist, vocalist Soren Mourne and guitarist, vocalist Etienne Flinn. The Weight of Remembrance features a host of additional musicians too in Julia Geaman on drums, Magdalena Wienski -with additional drums on ‘Apathy’s Keep’, Claine Lamb with piano on Remembrance and Rory Say with additional vocals. All of this combine to create a masterpiece of a release and a debut that will take your breath away and shows mastery of atmosphere building and song composition most seasoned bands can’t even dream of achieving.

The sound is instantly familiar with nods to the 80s and 90s but never sounds retro or like mere homage. Rather “The Weight of Remembrance” evokes the feeling of a painstakingly composed orchestral movement fit for a crumbling cathedral overgrown with moss.

The Weight of Remembrance by Tribunal band

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With 7 tracks on offer and a decent run time of around 48 minutes The Weight of Remembrance gets underway starting with Initiation.

A song that slowly lulls you in with a sombre, orchestral start. Some backing choirs, church bells chiming, a brooding bass line and cellos. It’s quite a hypnotic sound and feels very ominous. Intensity grows with a crescendo of guitars and drums joining the heavily layered start. Powerful black metal growls join the mix, having a real impact as they are roared out over that same slow, creeping instrumentation. Echoing cleans join in, with a bit of a back and forth between them and the growls – I didn’t see that coming. The heavy foundation of music continues to captivate as lead guitars bring higher tones to the mix with a melodic solo that fits the song beautifully, keeping that morose tone even in it’s lighter notes. What a wonderfully dark and exciting way to start this album off.

Of Creeping Moss and Crumbled Stone keeps the heavy gothic tone to things in a dark and intricately composed song. Doom like in it’s patient build up and bone shuddering depth, with blackened death metal vocals and an overhanging funeral feel within a short minute or two you feel so hypnotised by what you are listening to. It is so well composed, so interesting to listen to. Whether through the chugging riffage, the orchestral tinges, the deep gutturals and then sudden enlightening cleans. I felt fully invested in what Tribunal were doing, completely and utterly lost within the almost suffocating sounds.

The Weight of Remembrance is one hell of a debut just two tracks in and it doesn’t drop in quality at all with Apathy’s Keep. Another massive track with a deep and pretty catchy rhythm even in it’s slowish pace. The cleans are almost angelic, with the added echo and backing which makes them feel even darker when overlaid on such dark and murky music. I love the chug to the riffs, the sudden screams of anguish from the guitars, the drums. It is so smooth to listen to yet simultaneously feels absolutely crushing through it’s weighted atmosphere. Remembrance follows and cleverly breaks things up with a short instrumental. It is still gorgeous and dark to listen to with some nice atmospheric sounds and a stunning piano melody.

A World Beyond Shadow may be my favourite track so far. It has that same gothic, doom style to it’s intro with it’s complex layers and intelligent composition but just adds a bit more of everything. The cleans soar higher, the heavier vocals have a wicked flow to them, the crunch of drums and bass seems even more intense. The drums in particular pick up a really nice speed top them in the death metal vocal passages. That heaviness then breaks into those cleans in such a way as the hairs on your arms stand on end and I adore that closing guitar melody as well. This is so good.

Without Answer lays the cellos on thick in the intro. They combine so beautifully with the heavier chunky riff and dark guttural vocals. Continuing on to be a very complex and layered track it also has the most gorgeous guitar solo, and one that fits the song so well. Dripping in darkness, oozing quality, each track so far has absolutely captivated and hit me with such intense feeling. The orchestral outro to this song being one of so many moments that just hits so perfectly. And so we reach the end of this amazing album with the mammoth 12 minute long, The Path.

There have been times when I loved an album and then saw a really long ending track and would be worried about the length. Not here though, I have full confidence this is going to be amazing based on the quality of The Weight of Remembrance so far. The Path continues that patient intro with wonderfully combined layers of instrumentation that builds and builds and sucks you in fully. Those wonderful cleans take over and then, as the drums pick up pace, the heavier vocals come in as we get a back and forth between the two vocal styles. Musically, this song is absolutely heart wrenching. The emotions I am feeling through this track, and this album, are intense. Imagine being so intelligently composed that I felt close to tears on many occasions.

Plenty of chunky riffage, lead guitar melody, booming drums all have a part to play amidst the stunning gothic atmosphere. The Path passes in what feels like seconds as all sense of time and space seemed to be drained out of me. Wow.

Tribunal and The Weight of Remembrance needs to be put up on some sort of pedestal or tower so we can all gaze upon it and give it the adulation it so deserves. This is a masterpiece, I really mean that. Wonderfully composed, oozing atmosphere and dark, morose beauty. Every note feels perfectly placed, it is a work of art with perfect brushstrokes. I can honestly say that I had to stop almost every track at a point, sometimes multiple points, to just listen back to a moment while I exclaimed out loud to those around me things like “oh wow”, “that’s amazing”, “unbelievable” and “you have to hear this”.

That line holds true as well. You have to hear this. The Weight of Remembrance may well be the very best album 2023 has to offer, as a debut, from a band that surely have a huge future ahead of them.

Grab this absolute master piece of an album from 20 Buck Spin, here or on the labels Bandcamp, here.

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  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

The Weight of Remembrance by Tribunal (20 Buck Spin)
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