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No Mundane, Only Magic - 95%

Razakel, February 18th, 2008

Have Dark Tranquillity ever released a bad album? That’s definitely up for debate, but what does seem certain is that lately the band has been delivering perhaps the most solid modern melodic death metal around today. Their competition, being of course, In Flames and Arch Enemy among some other lesser known bands.

Fiction more or less picks up from where Character left off in that there is no drastic change in the music. Although on some occasions (Misery’s Crown and The Mundane And The Magic) we get to hear Mikael Stanne sing with clean vocals for the first time since 1999’s Projector. Maybe this ruined the album for some radical conservative fans, but in my opinion the vocals work perfectly. Other than that Fiction contains some of the most aggressive work Dark Tranquillity has managed to perform for quite some time. Opener, Nothing To No One carries out all the aspects with some hyper-fast guitar riffs, forceful harsh vocals, and a catchy chorus including some piano. Definitely a highlight of the album. Dark Tranquillity are a good example of a metal band that use keyboards to their advantage. Some people seem to think that keyboards anywhere ruin everything. I don’t quite understand this as I am under the impression, that if executed correctly, keyboards can add a lot to the music. Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive) has keyboards, and I’d like to hear someone tell me that song sucks. The album continues with stand-out after stand-out of what Dark Tranquillity have become known for. Mixing some really heavy music with great melodies.

New inclusions in the music would be (as stated above) the clean vocals in two of the songs. Misery’s Crown features mostly clean vocals with some screams in the chorus. My personal favourite is the monumental and massive The Mundane And The Magic, which is also the closer. To me, this song is just a modern melodeth anthem. Old classics like In Flames’ The Jester Race and Dark Tranquillity’s The Gallery will unlikely ever be heard again. This is the new sound, and it’s just as good. It features piano, melodic guitars, aggressive screams, and female clean vocals in an amazing chorus. Worth your money alone.

Dark Tranquillity are really keeping the genre alive with their recent music. This is definitely a highlight of 2007. If you are unimpressed with what In Flames are doing these days, I would strongly suggest checking out some new Dark Tranquillity.