Receiving the Evcharist: Tribulation and Mango Jungle

Receiving the Evcharist 2018

Good tunes just deserve good beer.  It is the way of the world, and we here at Nine Circles LLC are not ones to disturb the natural order of things.  Receiving the Evcharist is our (somewhat) weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations.  Drink from the cup of heresy.  This week’s offerings: Tribulation’s Hamartia and Boulevard Brewing Company’s Mango Jungle.

The Tunes: Tribulation’s Hamartia

Tribulation are back and hot on the heels of Where the Gloom Becomes Sound, including the epic eighteen-plus minute “The Dhampir” as a standalone single.  Where the Gloom Becomes Sound was a huge turning point for the band, as it marked the exit of longtime guitarist and songwriter Jonathan Hultén.  People of lesser faith might have wondered if Tribulation were going to see a drop in quality on the heels of this change, but I am here to tell you with unwavering certainty that Hamartia slaps just as hard as anything in the band’s varied catalog.  Leaning much more heavily into the black n’ roll that has defined the band recently, Hamartia showcases the prowess of new guitarist Joseph Tholl (who happens to be a childhood friend of the band, in case you were wondering if he would fit in), and the guitar pyrotechnics are just as stunning as they always have been.  The individual touch of Tholl is present especially in the funky riffs and solos in “Axis Mundi,” but overall Hamartia kinda…just sounds like Tribulation.  And trust me, that’s a great thing.  Tribulation never quite make the same album twice, and there is enough of a progression towards gloomier, doomier and more rock-oriented aesthetics on Hamartia to differentiate it substantially from Where the Gloom Becomes Sound, but their overall brand is maintained in a way that is going to satisfy longtime listeners.  I’ve been a fan of Tribulation for a long time, and while I had my doubts, this EP proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no stopping the Swedish foursome.  And hey, you even get an honest-to-god Blue Öyster Cult cover, as a treat.  According to guitarist Adam Zaars, the next thing on the docket is recording another full-length, and if it sounds anything like Hamartia, color me *very* excited.

The Booze: Boulevard Brewing Company’s Mango Jungle

Last week, Angela and I had one of the most awesome weeks ever, on a West Coast Vacation where we not only got to visit my brother, but we also got to meet Hera and Colin in person for the first time!  We had such a good time…and then we came home and life immediately took a huge, steaming dump on us, so you know what?  I want a beer that makes me feel like I’m back on vacation.  Mango Jungle does exactly that.  I’ve never heard of an “uncharted ale” before, but that is what this beer is billed as.  However, it barely even tastes like beer when I drink it.  To quote the immortal genius of Dr. Steve Brule, “THIS TASTES LIKE JUICE.”  Seriously, this is like carbonated mango juice, smooth, sweet and bursting with, well, lots of tropical mango flavor, with just the slightest hint of hop bitterness in the finish, but goddamn if that isn’t crisp, refreshing and dangerously crushable.  The only complaint I have is that it says on the can it’s supposed to be a sour, but I don’t get sour at all from this.  A little bit of a mislabeling, perhaps, but goddamn if this isn’t hitting the spot right now.

Let’s hope one more beer fixes everything, because a lot needs fixing right now.  If not, I guess I’ll just keep on trying.  Cheers, and be good to each other.

— Ian

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