Dark Tranquillity - Character review
|Release date:||January 2005|
01. The New Build
02. Through Smudged Lenses
03. Out Of Nothing
04. The Endless Feed
05. Lost To Apathy
06. Mind Matters
07. One Thought
08. Dry Run
09. Am I 1?
10. Senses Tied
11. My Negation
12. Derivation TSB [Japanese bonus]
13. Endless Feed (Chaos Seed Remix) [Japanese bonus]
Disc II [digipack]
01. Damage Done [Live in Korea]
02. The Wonders At Your Feet [Live in Korea]
03. Final Resistance [Live in Korea]
04. The Treason Wall [Live in Korea]
+ Lost To Apathy [video]
It's already been three years since the last ravages of the Gothenburg gods. Meanwhile, they've released their first DVD Live Damage, a compilation for their fifteenth anniversary, Exposures and they've re-signed with Century Media. In other words, it's been a busy break. But it's also been a frustrating break, since Character was recorded and mixed more than one year ago. However, due to the time needed to choose a label, they've not been able to release it until now. Believe me now, the fans are going to be very pleased by the new album, just like I am.
I don't think I'm being over-enthusiastic when I say that Character stands among their two or three best albums. To give you an idea of the contents of this album, I can say it mixes most of what they've done from The Mind's I up to Damage Done. The first two songs resemble a lot what Dark Tranquillity released ten years ago. Especially the opener 'The New Build', with its blast-beaten introduction and its riffs typical of Swedish extreme metal of the mid-90's. 'Through Smudged Lenses' shows a mix between this old period and some more modern electro/atmospheric elements. This is one of the tracks that sound like the latest album. 'The Endless Feed', more progressive, more experimental, points out an interesting new direction for the future. The single 'Lost To Apathy' and its chorus a la 'Monochromatic Stains' is by itself a perfect description of everything this album offers: a melting-pot of melodies, very heavy riffs, fast passages battling against tempo changes, and subtle but useful arrangements. There's also the great and furious 'Dry Run' or the magnificent melodic closing track 'My Negation', which uses tunes I hadn't heard for long in Dark Tranquillity. The chorus is particularly beautiful and emotionally strong, like what they used to do on The Mind's I or even Projector. I could go on and on with every song, but that would not be very interesting nor useful.
The changes not only occur in the melodies, but also, in a more subtle way, in the musicianship and the sound. For example, Martin Brandström's keyboards are not here only to create atmospheres anymore; their purpose now is to strengthen the aura of imposing power that surrounds Character. Also the production has been boosted: the guitars sound clearer and heavier than ever, the drums are damn aggressive and the whole album exhales anger and violence. Mikael Stanne worked a lot on his vocals as well. He's now singing in a black/death way, and his growls are surprisingly impressive. Add to this great lyrics, new melodic elements like piano parts in the background and you get an album that sounds fresh and new despite going back to the roots, an album that has the indelible mark of Dark Tranquillity stamped all over it. And what about the futuristic cover drawn by Niklas Sundin himself? Just great, as always.
I think this dithyrambic review gave you a clue: Character is a must-have. Dark Tranquillity continue their evolution towards the skies, and it seems nothing and nobody will stop them. This is Swedish metal at its best.
Highlights: Lost To Apathy, The Endless Feed, Dry Run, My Negation, One Thought
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