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If you're into any sort of melodic death than Dark Tranquillity is a band you've more often than not have heard. Most people even tout The Gallery as one of the best melodeath releases of all time. If you listen to The Gallery, and listen to Fiction you could say to yourself "Is this the same band?"
The fact these two releases sound so different yet are the same band, is bewildering. And might I add, they have had only one change in the line-up, and one addition to the line-up since releasing The Gallery. The progression they have tkaen between these releases (12 years), is amazing. Many bands lose their swagger and make really mediocre cd's, or simply just sell out to make some money (which for the record is ok, they need to make a living). Dark Tranquillity has managed to keep a style all their own, but craft a fresh, original sound. This release had the atmophere of Haven and Character, with the music sounding like a combo of Projector and Character. They carry over lots of elements from Character which is the best thing they could have done. The rather Gothenburg sound on Damage Done is present, but not overwhelming. The thing I'm really trying to get at is, they have combined all previous sounds and altered them into a new, simply fantastic release.
Songs that have to be noted are Icipher, Inside the Particle Storm, and Empty Me. These songs oddly enough are right in a row. What makes these songs highlighs? Icipher gives you that Damage Done feel, but brings the presence of Character. It starts out with a really catchy melody, and quickly evolves into a darker, more depressing feel. The chorus is one youll want to growl along too, as with most of Stanne's vocals, they are very clear for a growl and really allow you to get into them. At the 2:50 mark, its just what separates these guys from the rest of the pack. A heart filled passage that perfectly blends the elements that make them famous. Inside the Particle Storm is by far the most atmospheric track they have done. Think of My Negation from Character and make it more sinister. It plods along in the most delightful manner. The piano in it greatly adds with its low keys and depressing tone. The chorus erupts suddenly, once you learn the vocals you will sing along the entire time, great song. Empty Me give off a Haven and Projector feel throughout. Mainly Projector with it's overall darker tones, with the Haven part being at the chorus, which is a slow yet brutal feel. This song highlights a part of their career where most people thought they had sold out because they introduced a few electronics and clean vocals. This song greatly reminds me of that era. The bridge and solo in this song is also my favorite off the album
On a side not, Mikael brings back his clean vocals in two songs, and they sound phenominal.
All in all, this release will be one my tops in 07, and features a ever-evolving side of Dark Tranquillity that I for one love.