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Dark Tranquillity is one of the few bands that manages to alter and improve its sound on every new release. Each release since their "The Gallery" sounds different from the previous one but is still easily distinguishable as a Dark Tranquillity offering.
Their sound follows the Swedish melodic death metal recipe but it is still different from the other bands playing in the same genre (At The Gates, In Flames, The Haunted, etc). Fast, aggressive yet melodic guitar riffs and leads, pounding but also varying drumming, the perfect use and amount of keys and Stanne's low and high death vocals. The good thing about DT's songwriting is that it is not predictable. All songs are versatile, aggressive, melodic, progressive and technical all at once.
Some fans and reviewers claim that 2005's "Character" is the bands strongest release since their 1995's classic "The Gallery"... well, I strongly disagree. Although "Character" was another masterpiece, it was fast paced throughout, rawer and not so versatile. It was definitely more 'death' than 'melodic death' and that similarity of tempo in most tracks resulted in a monotonous sounding release, in a way. "Fiction" IMO perfected "Character's" sound. There are still plenty of fast songs with outstanding drumming (with the use of blast beats aswell), down tuned and heavy guitar riffs and death vocals, but there are also passages within these same songs that are more atmospheric and incorporate wonderful melodies provided by keys, guitar leads and solos.
Songs like 'Nothing To No One', 'The Lesser Faith', 'Inside The Particle Storm' and 'Focus Shift' are some of the best songs that the band has ever written. Even 'The Mundane And The Magic' which is the most simplistic and slow song manages to sound amazing due to the use of beautiful keys, varying drumming and the application of both female and clean vocals in the chorus. You will be certainly amazed by this album, it contains some of the best guitar riffs I have ever heard (you will be forced to head bang), melodic and technical guitar leads and solos, truly amazing (and not over the top) drumming and the best vocals of the genre!
I honestly believe that "Fiction" is Dark Tranquillity's strongest release after the brilliant "Damage Done" and the experimental masterpiece "Projector". For any fans of the band and for any fans of metal this is a must buy. DT are still going strong after being active for over 15 years and haven't released a weak album yet. Congratulations to them...
(Originally written for http://www.epinions.com website)