Tribunal Interview

Hailing from Vancouver, Tribunal is a mesmerizing new duo playing a fascinating combo of Gothic and Doom Metal. At the end of January they officially released their debut album, and we had a lovely chat about it.

Hi, this is Rick! Who am I talking to, and what do you play in the band?

I’m Etienne Flinn, and I play guitar and perform harsh vocals.

Can you tell me more about the history of Tribunal? Were you in previous bands before?

We first met in the fall of 2017 when we both moved to Vancouver, and bonded over our mutual interests in metal. We had both had previous musical projects that fizzled out without leaving much of a mark, and Soren [Mourne, cellist, bassist and violinist] eventually convinced me to pull my gear out of storage and try jamming some doom with her. The bones of Initiation rumbled into place at our first jam session and Tribunal has had a momentum of its own ever since. 

The Weight Of Remembrance is not only 20 Buck Spin’s first release of 2023 but your debut album as well. What musical path led you to this album? Who would you say are your main influences, and why did you decide to play this intriguing Gothic/Doom mix?

The sound of this record arises naturally from our mix of interests. Soren loves traditional/epic/occult doom while I tend to listen more to gothic death-doom bands, and so when we started writing music together the styles blended naturally. Draconian, Swallow the Sun, Insomnium, and My Dying Bride are probably my most significant influences for this record.  

Canada is proving to be teeming with exciting young bands – Skull Fist is the first that comes to mind, but they’re followed by many. Would you find the country’s metal scene to be thriving? Was it hard to gain a following?

The Canadian scene is certainly exciting, here in Vancouver we’ve had Archspire and Unleash the Archers hit it big recently and there are many cool bands in the underground. There are some really cool bands from the sludgier side of doom such as Heron, and we borrowed our live guitarist Jessica from an exciting new melodeath band called Kayas.

That said, it can be a challenge given the significant distances between major cities. It takes 10 hours to drive to the nearest major cities from Vancouver, and this has made expanding our reach challenging without looking into American visas. However, we did get a strong local response from our earliest shows which has been great to have.

You shot a music video for Without Answer: did you enjoy the experience of filming a video? Why did you choose that song, and do you want to release other videos for songs from the album?

Shooting the video was quite enjoyable, and we are incredibly pleased with the experience of working with Erik Gustafson Cinematography. I think the video captured the aesthetic we seek with our music very well. 

We choose Without Answer as our second single and music video as it highlights many of the key aspects of our band, with a strong mix of clean and harsh vocals, a powerful chorus, and plenty of cello. I don’t think we intend to release any more videos for this record, though we did enjoy the experience of shooting this video enough that we would be open to doing more if it made sense to. 

Do you have any plans of embarking on a tour? Any venues you’d like to play at, bands you’d like to share the stage with?

We are making plans to tour in western Canada in the near future, though visas and careers will limit our ability to extend our reach into other countries at this point. That said, we are keen to play live wherever we can. 

We’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with Swallow the Sun at Vancouver’s legendary Rickshaw Theatre, where I’ve seen so many of my favorite bands. While we would love to open for Draconian, Candlemass, or My Dying Bride if they travel this direction, for more regional acts I would love to have the chance to play with Un or Mizmor. 

Many thanks to Soren and Etienne for this interview! The heartfelt The Weight Of Remembrance was released on January 20th and you can listen to it here on Bandcamp. Don’t forget to follow Tribunal on Instagram and Facebook!