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On this release, Dark Tranquillity demonstrates that even the stuff they cut from the studio albums kicks supreme ass. Composed of unreleased tracks and their releases prior to "Skydancer", "Exposures.." succinctly spans the memorable career of the "Gothenburg" pioneers. Falling directly in line with their middle era, tracks one through seven offer thoughtfully composed melodic leads and riffs combined with a tendency towards electronically influenced choruses. I admit that the addition of their keyboardist was a good move, although a number of "Gallery" and "Skydancer" fans will disagree. Aside from the relatively shoddy "Misery In Me", the first part of this disc is all strong.
Almost like a primordial belch from the forgotten early 90's Swedish scene, the remaining five songs on disc one paint a clear picture of the band's early influences.
With a penchant for unnerving leads interspersed with forceful riffing and drumming, the "A Moonclad Reflection" tracks anticipate the hymnal odes to paganism and nature found on "Skydancer". Then, reverting even farther back to the sounds of Entombed and Carnage, the "Trail of Life Decayed" tracks are easily the darkest and heaviest material produced by the band (Septic Broiler material included).
Disc 2, the audio taken from "Live Damage" is a nice bonus, but not exactly the selling point of this release. Any fans of DT or similar bands would do good to find this.
Many people were dissapointed by the release of the Live Damage DVD. It's of poor quality, it has very messy synch work and the extras leave much to be desired. Hence, this was released. This was originally was supposed to be the CD version of that Krakow performance, but, they realized that much of their early EPs and bonus tracks were unavailable in some areas...
The first CD is full of gems. The album has the first two Dark Tranquillity EPs circa 91-92, with Anders Friden on vocals, as well as bonus tracks found in European and Asian versions of The Gallery, The Mind's I, Projector, Haven, and Damage Done. The first CD is very enjoyable, going from present to past in a backward progression through Dark Tranquillity's electronic Gothenburg, through their experimental stage, their melo-death Gothenburg sound, and back to their prog melo-death roots. It's an amazing retrospective, and many of these songs should have been included in their original albums.
The second CD is the Live Damage audio, and it's the only great part of the DVD, because it's a very good performance. Granted, Mikael Stanne sounds funny on Zodijackyl Light, but it's still great. All in all, this is a great release, and a must buy for DT fans.
If you are new to the melodic death scene, or just want to get an overall view on the works of Dark Tranquility, I would recomend picking up "Exposures in Retrospect and Denial". If someone asked me to show them what melodic death is about, this would be one of the CD's I would play, along with some At The Gates and a few other bands. The first CD consists of a bunch of unreleased tracks, as well as some songs that were only available on the japanese versions of the albums. After hearing it, I was left wondering why they would not release these tracks on the original albums, or for a larger audience. It is very enjoyable, and ranges from up-beat headbanging metal to slower tracks. I am generally not one to listen to slower metal, however I enjoy how dark tranquility puts it together. They can be a nice break every few songs.
The next CD is a live recording from when the band was touring in Poland. There are some classics here, Monochromatic Stains comes to mind, as well as many other good songs. They are the audio portion of the "Live Damage" DVD that was released a little while back. As I previously stated, if you want to check out this scene or band, then this is CD to pick up. Even long time Dark Tranquility fans would be wise to purchase it for the unreleased tracks. Well worth the money.