Released: 2007, Century Media
Reviewer: El Cid
I must admit that when PROJECTOR came out I was very disappointed. IT wasn’t that it was a weak album (though it is my least favorite Dark Tranquillity album) it was just that Dark Tranquillity being my favorite band I expected so much more. I wasn’t wrong in expecting more, it WAS Dark Tranquillity after all. Of course back then I failed to see PROJECTOR for what it was: a transition album. It was meant to be a leap in a new direction while still moving forward. It was meant to avoid the pitfall of trapping yourself in the same album over and over again, it was meant to be a projection of things to come.
True enough, through the respective comings of HAVEN, DAMAGE DONE and CHARACTER we have seen Dark Tranquillity go through some very interesting changes, evolving in some aspects and sort of devolving in others. The quality of the work however has remained top notch through it all. SO we come to this.
It was with no small amount of pleasure that I came by an advance copy of the band’s newest offering, FICTION and I knew from the first listen hat this was a great album. The band’s sound keeps evolving, moving forward. We can hear more raspy vocals, we can feel less melody and hence and increase in riffs, we can feel the keyboards take a much more discreet place in the sound as if they were being blended with the guitar work, but most important of all, it feels raw. It feels emotion ridden and raw, the musicianship is warm yet precise. It’s very reminiscent of earlier efforts with unmistakable elements of the newer catalog. I think Dark Tranquillity are finding just the right blend of rawness, melody and technical proficiency.
A closer look at the songs in FICTION leaves me with the same impression that there variety and balance. “Terminus (Where Death is most alive)”, “Blind at Heart” or “Empty me” usher the coming of a fast and furious approach while for example “The lesser faith” is more atmospheric, “Icipher” seems emotionally charged to the point it could have fit in THE MIND’S I or “Into the particle Storm”’s evokes a somewhat bleak atmosphere. The album closer “The Mundane and the Magic” brings back something that if I’m not mistaken hadn’t been done since THE MIND’S I, clean female vocals to complement Stanne’s own efforts, a nice touch.
When I see what the other founding bands of the Gothenburg sound have become and how little the bands that should have been the next generation have brought to the table I am thankful for Dark Tranquillity. The band could have jumped the band wagon and made their musical commercially accessible just for the cash, but they’ve stuck to their guns and maintained artistic integrity, a thing more and more rare these days. This is why I am thankful that through all the years, we still have Dark Tranquillity carrying the flag of the Gothenburg sound with pride.
Choice Cuts: “Blind at Heart” ****, “Focus Shift” ****
Moonsorrow V-Hävitetty 4/5
Spike farm 2007
01- Jäästä Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta
02- Tuleen Ajettu Maa
Very short review because there’s too much to discover within and too little to say … Moonsorrow remain consistently a player in the Viking/Pagan metal scene. Their inventive composition, clever use of keyboards and great guitar work have massed them a pretty large following…and with good reason.
The first half of the CD is a mood setting song. A 30 minute mood setting song. Mind you the start of the song is very atmospheric and the use of acoustic melody makes it very enjoyable, then the axes hit. I suppose by now you have become acquainted with Moonsorrow’s style of axe grinding, but just to make it stick, the guitar work is brilliant, very appealing for the genre. The second chapter is pure Moonsorrow, Harsh vocals, Epic choirs, Keyboard Melodies, inventive guitar work in one work: Epic. Ant that’s that. The album is excellent! Moonsorrow at its finest. Go buy it!
Choice Cuts: duh.