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Rating:
9.5
Dark Tranquillity - The Gallery
27 November 1995


01. Punish My Heaven
02. Silence, And The Firmament Withdrew
03. Edenspring
04. The Dividing Line
05. The Gallery
06. The One Brooding Warning
07. Midway Through Infinity
08. Lethe
09. The Emptiness From Which I Fed
10. Mine Is the Grandeur...
11. ... Of Melancholy Burning
12. Bringer Of Torture [Kreator cover] [Special Deluxe Edition bonus]
13. Sacred Reich [Sacred Reich cover] [Special Deluxe Edition bonus]
14. 22 Acacia Avenue [Iron Maiden cover] [Special Deluxe Edition bonus]
15. Lady In Black [Mercyful Fate cover] [Special Deluxe Edition bonus]
16. My Friend Of Misery [Metallica cover] [Special Deluxe Edition bonus]


This is obviously my favourite album of my favourite band. So you can easily imagine that I only have nice things to say about it. So, why does this album reach perfection? Why is it, in my opinion, the best melodic death metal album ever released? Simply because it is the manifest of a band that perfectly masters its music, and above all that loves what it is doing. You can feel such love for the metal in general all along the eleven tracks of this work. It is actually the first real album of the band after the departure of the previous singer Anders Friden, gone to found their Swedish mates of In Flames. So this is also the first album with Mikael Stanne, former guitarist, on the vocals, after the EP Of Chaos and Eternal Night.

What makes Dark Tranquillity unique in the midst of all the other metal bands is its capacity to remain melodic, but with a melody on the verge of progressive metal, while they are unleashing all the violence they have in theirselves. This allegation is stunning just at the beginning of the first track 'Punish my heaven', with its intro on keyboards and the dual of guitars that come after. But then, prepare for war, this song is one of the most intense they have ever written, and also maybe one of the most technical and hard to play. About technique and the musicians, there is absolutely nothing more to say but this only word: perfect. You just don't realize at first how good these guys are, because they don't try to impress anyone or to show out themselves, unlike some prog musicians that when you hear their band, you imagine them saying: 'Hey! Look at me I'm a guitar hero!'. But then you notice that the songwriting is so good [courtesy of Mikael Stanne and Nicklas Sundin] that you just can't find anything to say against these guys. Special congratulations to Anders Jivarp, who is a real drum hero.

'Punish my heaven' also shows out a bit of the ability of Stanne with a clear voice. The short 'Silence, and the firmament withdrew' and the violent and intense 'Edenspring' are really representative of what a melodic death band has to do to reach the essence of artistic creation and the excellence that most bands are searching for all along their career without ever finding. Then comes 'The dividing line' with its heavy riff and its stunning chorus, just before 'The Gallery', with some female vocals fighting against the growlings of Mikael Stanne, that seems to be the best written and the most melodic side of the album. After 'The one brooding warning' and 'Midway through infinity' is the jewel of Dark Tranquillity, the song that will remain in my mind as the best power ballad they could make, I mean 'Lethe'. Everything in this song, as much the melodic clean guitars as the desperate voice remind of the loss of a beloved person... This is maybe the best vocal performance of this great singer: he really manages to give a feeling of anger, sadness, misery and the impossibility to forget. Even the lyrics show this fight between infinite and painful love and the hate you can feel for the person you are addicted to. So, probably the best song of this opus. The problem of the next song 'The emptiness from which I fed' is that it comes right after 'Lethe': you are usually so dazed that you hear this song more than you listen to it... but after all this is also a very good one, and even maybe one of the best. The last two tracks actually can be gathered in a single, for 'Mine is the grandeur...' is an introduction to '... Of melancholy burning'. This closing track is sort of very interesting: the intro all on acoustic guitars, remind of the instrumental songs of In Flames, and the timpani, the drums of hell add an epic and folkloric dimension, just like when you hear Asian drums for example... And the song that comes after also remains of their mates In Flames, for the melody brought by the guitars. This is a clinic of songwriting, with the acoustic break enhanced by the beautiful voice of Eva- Marie Larsson, soon drowned under Stanne's screams. After this break, a passage sounds like the previous 'Lethe', before the apotheosis, the fireworks of violence with the first riff that is here accelerated. The acoustic guitar of the end sound like you've just travelled through fantasy land that Tolkien or Eddings wouldn't have denied.

And you stay here, lying on your couch, empty, tired, melancholic but happy, this happiness that proves you have just discovered something really magnificent and enormous. For any melodic death metal fan, this album has to be a kind of bible, a flag under which the adepts of excellence must rally. Make your choice, but know this: this album is the story of perfection, and even the front cover is beautiful... A good sign?

Highlights: Punish My Heaven, Lethe, ... Of Melancholy Burning


Band profile: Dark Tranquillity
Album: The Gallery


 


written by Collin | 11.09.2003

Staff review by
Demonic Tutor

Rating:
9.5
Caution! Cult album ahead. "The Gallery" is to Melodic Death Metal what "Images And Words" is to Progressive Metal, if not more. The essence of Sweden delivered by Dark Tranquillity is simply grandiose. The duo of singers Mikael Stanne-Anders Friden blows everything in its path while emblematic songs keep playing in your shitty CD player. I'll have to visit Gothenburg one day, as a pilgrim of Holy Metalness, I'm serious!

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published 11.08.2004 | Comments (1)



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bangladesh - 19.06.2006 at 00:42  
Whow! great review your words are convicing!
But, why don´t have you gave 10? From your review this album is a masterpiece, perfect! (that´s my opinion too but i gave it 10)
lordz - 02.07.2006 at 14:59  
Great Great Album & review
one of the best death metal experinces of my life
the fifth self titled song is the best they ever came up with at least thats what I think
RavenLord - 11.07.2006 at 21:54  
Damn good album from a damn good band. Definitely one of the highlights of the melodic death genre, and one of the few albums that manages to show both originality and attitude! Everytime I listen to Punish My Heaven, I always think it sounds longer than it really is, because of the many riff and time changes. Highlights for me are the short 'Silence, and the Firmament Withdrew' and the aggressive closing track.

'Come, and dance through my vanity's halls....(welcome) welcome to my exhibition!'
Talvi - 14.07.2006 at 15:59  
Why I just don't want to like kult albums, but when I try them I fall in love? I can't stop listening 'The Gallery'...
Doc Godin - 12.01.2007 at 02:55  
Great album, wouldnt give it a 9.5, but Deadsoulman can really back his rating in depth so I cant argue with it. Good review.
Passenger - 22.03.2007 at 20:45  
If there's a Metal album that deserves a 10 rating this is it. Genre defining. Amazing, just...amazing. One of my personal favourites of all time.
Passe - 07.04.2007 at 20:48  
Best album of the genre with the more aggressive one by At the gates, Slaughter of the soul.
Doc Godin - 11.04.2007 at 09:09  
Written by Doc Godin on 12.01.2007 at 02:55

Great album, wouldnt give it a 9.5, but Deadsoulman can really back his rating in depth so I cant argue with it. Good review.

Your an idiot.
I enjoyed this album when I first got it but it got boring for me fast, I must say "Character" is much better.
Collin - 13.04.2007 at 21:38  
Besides an idiot, you're also a schizophrenic ^^

I must say you're the first person -who likes that kind of metal- I see who dislikes The Gallery. That's quite a feat.
BloodTears - 19.02.2008 at 11:35  
The gallery. The perfection of guitars and the overwhelming lyrics. My favourite after Character.
Uirapuru - 22.04.2009 at 16:37  
One of the best melodic death metal albuns of all time. The balance is perfect between the melodic and heavy parts, the female vocals are perfectly fitted. Very good.
Solstafir! - 18.08.2009 at 15:40  
EXCELLENT album!!! One of the seminal releases of Gothenburg in my opinion!!! "Punish My Heaven" kills!!!
SatyriconChick - 07.12.2009 at 04:55  
This was the first Dark Tranquillity album I ever heard, and I love it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Adjuchas Shaman - 02.01.2010 at 05:23  
I absolutely love this album! I felt the need to read the review concerning my favorite album of all time, and I agree with this review 100%. I prefer this album to In Flames' The Jester Race, although that is a sick album also.:bow:
Winterthrone - 20.05.2010 at 22:08  
I have to comment the two reviews on this album for this is the quintessential Gothenburg Metal album, if you like this gentre this album MUST be in your discography...or your a poser.
FrozenJoy - 05.05.2011 at 18:28  
This album is just full of pure fucking hymns, and it's definitely the best melodic death metal release ever! everything here is pure gold, from the melodic and insane guitars, Mikael's awesome screams, incredible lyrics, to the astonishing drumming of Anders (for me, he'll always be one of the best drummers ever!)
I'd say the highlights are Punish my Heaven, Edenspring, Lethe, The Emptiness from which I Fed, and ...of Melancholy Burning...
You can't give it less than a 10, and I still think it falls short...

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