Released: 2005, Century Media
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 metal-rules.com. 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.