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Released: 1999, Century Media
There seems to be a lot of dissention amongst fans concerning Dark Tranquillity's new album - and for good reason. Fans of the more brutal side of DT are obviously pissed off with the fact that a greater percentage of this CD is made up of mellow elements. Then again there are fans who think this is a natural progression and love the more mellow non-metal elements typically calling the those who can't follow "close-minded". Well I fit somewhere in the middle. I like the heavier songs on "Projector" the best and I can even swallow SOME of the mellower songs. I do however fear for DT's future. Where they might take this on future albums could be scary for their "puritan" fans.
One thing is very clear with DT, this is melodic death metal with a lot of variation...maybe too much variation for some. The opening song is a microcosm of what this band is all about in 1999..melodic death metal, brutal abrasive vocals, clean vocals, melodic guitars and piano. They manage to take all this and deliver it in one coherent whole on most songs. Some people have claimed that DT have sold-out. Well I still don't think this will ever make the top 40! The clean vocals and mellowness of songs like "Auctioned", "Day To End" and "Nether Novas" are way too mellow for me! They have to be the worst songs on this entire CD...yuck. I'll be skipping past them when I listen to this from now on. It's not that I have a problem with clean vocals (I think Bruce Dickinson is a vocal god), it's that the clean vocals on these songs aren't even good clean vocals. Another complaint about the vocals lies with the over-usage of female clean vocals. I like a mixture of vocal styles but as long as they are METAL vocal styles and not la la la flavored crap. It's clear that if you only like brutal death metal that there are songs on here that you will hate. As for me, yes I like some death metal but it's not the only thing I'm into - yet still some of the mellow songs are even too mellow for me!!! Don't look for much pounding double kicks or any blast beats. Hell, considering that DT are supposedly a "melodic death metal band" it's funny that a power metal band like Gamma Ray are on the whole way more intense!!
The CD's highlights are "FreeCard", "To A Bitter Halt", "The Sun Fired Blanks" and (most of) "On your Time." This is the kinda stuff they should concentrate on. If they evolve by having no growling vocals, no fast songs, no distorted guitars and only have clean guitars, piano, clean vocals etc...well it wouldn't be metal now would it?? Since when is evolving weeding out the more metal elements of your music? Lets hope they stick with what they play best - METAL!! Either way don't get hung up on whether or not you think DT has or will sell out...with bands like In Flames and Arch Enemy kicking their ass WHO CARES!!!
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