Released: 2000, Century Media Records
Let's face it, this band isn't going to return to their brutal past nor do they seem set to top their earlier glories. Their last CD, Projector, was to my ears 1/2 waste product and 1/2 decent. This time around they have succeeded is weeding out most of the crap elements that plagued Projector and have kept the more metal elements. The vocals on Haven are nearly 99% done in the heavier death styled voicing leaving the monotonous droning vocals nowhere to be found! That said, this CD does take a few listens to appreciate. Although this band has been lumped in with the Gothenburg / Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene, they are nowhere near as brutal as their peers, opting to be a little more experimental and in some ways artsy fartsy.
On first listen to this CD, the opening track "The Wonders At Your Feet" really grabbed me. The other songs took a few listens to get into. The opening track starts out with a freaky sounding keyboard thing and then the vocals rumble in...yes, this sounds more like the Dark Tranquility I remember! The second track, "Not Built To Last", is a little more varied and has more slower/clean parts but for the most part is pretty cool. "Indifferent Suns" is another cool track but again is mid-paced. The track "Feat of Burden" is another mid-paced track that's little more on the technical side, but nowhere near the technicality I've heard from their older stuff. "Ego Drama" is one of the better songs on Haven which has a few heavier parts, even though the piano is still rattling away in the song (a problem in a few other places on this CD). The track "Rundown" has some nice double kicks, this one is up there with the CD opener being the two best tracks on the CD. The track "Emptier Still" is the worst on the CD sounding like one of the boring songs off of Projector. It's slow, dragging, and is the only song on here that features the irritating and droning clean vocals.
Listening to this CD I become impatient waiting for some serious thrashing, something brutal or some speed. After all, the vocals here are awesome and brutal so where is the intense music to back it up? Most songs on this CD have the same tempo making it seem like one big song. Seems like these guys have headed the way of Amorphis and Sentenced by focusing more on slower "catchier" kinds of songs. Dark Tranquillity along with At The Gates helped pioneer the Swedish melodic death metal style, yet what they are playing now wouldn't fit into this category. If you are new to melodic death metal, start with some In Flames, Children of Bodom, Soilwork, Arch Enemy, Gardenian, etc. before checking out NEW Dark Tranquillity... but by all means delve into Dark Tranquillity's darker, heavier, more interesting past. For more info on the band check out their official page at http://www.darktranquillity.com