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Dark Tranquillity
The Mind’s I
July 2002
Released: 1997, Osmose
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: El Cid

Hidden Gem Selection

After SKYDANCER and THE GALLERY comes THE MIND’S I. Dark Tranquillity’s third full length release is another example of the band’s mastery of their style through not only musical ability but also the vary rare quality of being able to convey sentiments and emotions through musical and lyrical grace. What turns out to be a great album, though, is often underrated and under-graded due to the unparalleled magnificence of its two predecessors. This is why I urge you to listen to this album trying not to think of SKYDANCER and THE GALLERY, otherwise you will not see THE MIND’S I for all that it is.

My first impressions when I heard this album were that Dark Tranquillity had changed their style of songwriting quite a bit. The songs are shorter and some fellow fans of the band have told me that they are more identifiable that in previous releases (??). In general you get the impression of a more mature offering with tighter structures that result in very memorable songs.

The double riffing of Niklas Sündin and Fredrik Johansson seems a bit different as well, basing itself more in what sometimes sounds like an 80s inspired thrash guitar, the magnificent and enticing leads that made THE GALLERY and SKYDANCER so famous and popular amongst metalheads seem to take a back row seat without completely disappearing.

As always, it is hard to talk about Anders Jivarp because when you do a review you tend to focus on things that don’t work or things that create opposite feelings while Dark Tranquillity’s drummer can be easily be left in a second plane because he always does everything right. Dark Tranquillity’s drum base is extremely tight and I find it that while not flashy or imposing in any of the previous releases (save maybe on a couple of tracks like “A Bolt of Blazing Gold” and “Shadow Duet”) it always keeps the rhythms going through everything.

Musically a bit different from previous releases, THE MIND’S I manages to keep the feeling of Dark Tranquillity’s work though starting to re-invent it. The lyrical content is as is always the case with this excellent band, top notch. The poetry showcased in this album rivals that of SKYDANCER and thus points the listener towards a more aggressive-through-beauty approach.

In all, THE MIND’S I completes the cycle of Dark Tranquillity’s beginnings and marks the dawn of a new age for the band’s direction. If SKYDANCER was sentiment and THE GALLERY was emotion, THE MIND’S I is nothing less than the blend of both. Truly an excellent release that earns its place in the Gothenburg giant’s catalogue.

Choice Cuts: Insanity’s Crescendo (*****), Hedon (****), Still Moving Sinews (****)

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