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Dark Tranquillity
February 2005
Released: 2005, Century Media
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

In 2004 Dark Tranquillity released the compilation EXPOSURES – IN RETROSPECT AND DENIAL and as a preview of the album they released the EP LOST TO APATHY. Now it’s time for their long awaited new studio album to follow up DAMAGE DONE from ‘02.

As most of you know, this Swedish Gothenburg based band started back in ‘89 with the release of their first demo. During ‘91 and ‘92 they released a few demos before their first album came out ‘93 called SKYDANCER. They have been a part of the Gothenburg metal scene for 16 years and have released 7 albums. Dark Tranquillity is one of the bands that put the famous Gothenburg sound on the metal map. The bio says this about the new album: “To show character – a rather old fashioned expression, but it fits perfectly for one of the most modern metal bands of our times”.

The band plays melodic death metal that they have strived to refine through the years…especially after the keyboard player Martin Brändström joined in ‘99 for the album PROJECTOR. HAVEN (‘02) was the album that really placed the band in focus and that album along with endlessly touring gained the band new fans.

For the first time in their career, they have chosen to release a single EP “LOST TO APATHY” and that EP was an excellent preview of what we could expect from “CHARACTER”. If you want to read about the EP it’s reviewed in On the EP there’s also a mix of “THE ENDLESS FEED” which is a track from the album. According the bio, the band had a really hard time to pick an EP single since each song from the album was equally strong. And they are right, all of the 11 songs are equally strong and it’s really hard to pick any favorites amongst them.

CHARACTER was recorded in Gothenburg in the famous Studio Fredman and two other studios - The Room and Rouge Music. As expected, the music is heavy, fast, aggressive, and amongst all this there’s also room for melodic passages that they inject into all this brutality.

Mikael, the singer, sounds as angry as always. He almost spits out the lyrics, singing which such conviction that you really believe. Martin and Niklas share on brilliant guitar play with sharp duels between them. Michael and Anders in the rhythm section really know what to do. All of the members have equally big parts in the mix, also Martin on keyboards, Mikael really uses all of his vocal abilities that’s possible to add more strength to the music.

There’s nothing remotely negative to say about the album, Dark Tranquillity holds a steady grip of their fans and none of you are going to be disappointed with CHARACTER. I’m sure this album is going to climb the charts worldwide, when this is review is online the album will already be released in Scandinavia and Europe.

This is Swedish melodic death metal at its best, don’t miss them when they are headed out on the road through Europe during February/March with headliner Kreator. It’s a terrific album and even the cover, made by guitar player Niklas Sundin looks great. One thing is certain, CHARACTER has exactly that – character. This is a grand opening for ‘05 by Century Media with the release of both Dark Tranquillity and the new edition to the CM family, Firewind.
Track Listing

The new build
Through smudged lenses
Out of nothing
The endless feed
Lost to apathy
Mind matters
One thought
Dry run
Am I 1?
Senses tied
My negation


Mikael Stanne – lead vocals
Martin Henriksson – guitar
Niklas Sundin – guitar
Michael Nicklasson – bass
Anders Jivarp – drums
Martin Brändström – electronics

Next review: » Dark Tranquillity - Character
Previous review: » Dark Tranquillity - Character

Dark Tranquillity
March 2005
Released: 2005, Century Media
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: El Cid

*Gasp* “OMG!!!” “OH NOES!!!” “BBQ!!!” “Cid is doing yet another Dark Tranquillity album review!” “I’m sure he’ll give it a perfect score”

You bunch of wankers! Perfect score?? NAY!!! I have a surprise for you!! … Ok, fine I don’t, CHARACTER is hands down the best album of 2005 so far.

Quick rundown of Dark Tranquillity’s history: They are along with At the gates, Eucharist and In Flames, the founding fathers of the Gothenburg sound. As the years go by, Dark Tranquillity remain truthful to their roots and musical principles while at the same time, polishing their sound into THE GALLERY and THE MIND’S I until they were finally ready to redefine their sound for the new millennium. In 1999, with Martin Brändström’s keyboard as an integral part of the band and their new sound, out comes PROJECTOR, a transitional album into the new Dark Tranquillity. Following the coming of HAVEN and then DAMAGE DONE, the band finally decides to put out 2 very overdue (yeah I know, my opinion) releases in the form of LIVE DAMAGE (a DVD in which finally we can get live sample of the band with a decent production) and EXPOSURES IN RETROSPECT AND DENIAL (in which we find the lost gems from the demo days for which some of us paid a load of green when the only CD containing them was a greek special release that didn’t have the band’s approval and LIVE DAMAGE recording on the second CD of the package.).

Now, CHARACTER is yet another step forward in the direction the band has chosen to take. The guitar work as always is top notch, as Niklas Sündin’s slick brand of playing ties everything together along with Ander Jivarp’s driving drum rhythm. The music itself is as I stated, a progression in the same direction the band has maintained since PROJECTOR, the “electronic” sections are there, the keyboard melodies are there, the intense soloing and guitar duels are there, the impeccable drumming is there and of course… Mikael Stanne is there to lead the band’s delivery out of the raspy growl that has been trademark for many a year.

CHARACTER was recorded between 3 studios, Fredman, Rouge Music and The Room (???) and there is little to say about the production here, it fits. Like a glove. The album cover is yet again a Niklas Sündin original ( yet again demonstrating that the band oversees every aspect of their releases trying to make them as personal as they possibly can.

I think there is very little I can say about Dark Tranquillity that I haven’t already said in one of my previous reviews to get you into them, but if all else fails, go see them live! There’s this random and unknown thrash act that has agreed to take them on tour through the Americas (hopefully they’ll have a stop over in my little tiny town). Oh yeah, the little thrash act goes by the name of Kreator and their tour is to promote their new album ENEMY OF GOD, no big deal. :p

Next review: » Dark Tranquillity - Construct
Previous review: » Dark Tranquillity - Character

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