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Is all pleasure release? - 70%

Diamhea, February 1st, 2014

Being the last album to feature Johansson on guitar, Projector embodies the end of an era regarding Dark Tranquillity's approach. They would begin to streamline their sound after this album with Brändström's electronic orhestrations as the centerpiece. There are still keyboards here, but the performance is generally more subdued and downplayed in light of the more experimental aesthetics elsewhere.

What needs to be addressed immediately are the glaring departures in approach that are "UnDo Control" and "Day to End". The latter features Stanne's burly clean inflection alongside throbbing swells of electronics. His voice isn't amazing, but it exudes a decent amount of emotion and is passable for what it is. "UnDo Control" is a horse of another color, featuring saccharine female vocals alongside more agitated verses. The reverb-drenched acoustic textures that counterpoint the clean vocals are very searing and memorable, making you wish the band would just drop the back-and-forth aesthetic and deliver an entire song in this fashion. "Auctioned" is another Stanne-driven piece that wouldn't sound out of place in a smoky nightclub, as the bare-bones percussive backbone is joined by uplifting piano melodies and understated riffs. Again, it is effective for what it is even if it comes completely out of left field for Dark Tranquillity.

The more rocking numbers like "On Your Time" are potent, although they come off as a bit of an afterthought in the procession. I'm not even kidding, the biggest appeal of this album is centered around the slower, moodier stylistic departures like "UnDo Control". At any rate, Johnansson gets an effective sendoff in the form of "The Sun Fired Blanks", which wouldn't sound out of place on The Gallery. The sticky leads coexist marvelously with the grooving verses, making this one a keeper at the end of the day. Projector sounds much more balanced than its direct successor, featuring an upfront, natural bass timbre. Henriksson is hardly an amazing player, but as many of these songs feature multiple atmospheric, soft interludes the bass gets plenty of time in the spotlight. Jivarp's kit sounds passable, but he has little to work with as so much of this material is slow paced and stately in it's approach.

A lot of it falls flat though, as some of the heavier songs like "Nether Novas" seem less sure of themselves, wafting back and forth between heavy and subdued. It almost comes off as a necessary risk considering the disparate elements being combined here on Projector. It is an interesting compositional avenue worth exploring further, but fails to inspire for the entire duration all the same. Track down "UnDo Control". If you can stomach that check out the rest of Projector, as it certainly has it's moments. If there is one album that can be deemed "not for everybody" this is most definitely it.

Dark Tranquillity - Projector - 100%

Orbitball, December 29th, 2011

When melodic death is played right, it comes in the form that Dark Tranquillity plays here on this "Projector" release. A big Depeche Mode influence that Mikael Stanne portrays in his vocal efforts. Of course there's variety, he mixes clean vocals with raspy ones according to the music. When you hear the clean guitar bits, he's singing in a very melodic tone. I can say that he actually sings with such passion. He does mix clean vocals also with the distorted guitars by Fredrik Johansson and Niklas Sundin. There's a female vocalist that contributes some to this release as well by the name of Johanna Andersson. What an outstanding voice!

The songs are true melodic death to the core. There's a mixture of clean tone guitars like I previously mentioned mixed with heavier melodic riffs. The songs themselves are so well played to perfection. There are not really many guitar solos, just an array of melodies that are so amazing it's captivating to hear. Mikael's vocals augments the guitars and piano as well. Talk about an amazing vocalist! Well he has so much variety it's unbelievable.

Every single song on here deserves mention. None of them were half-assed or unskilled. This band really hit a gemstone which "Projector" is. The metal really flows and the clean vocals almost outweighs the hoarse tone. Don't expect anything too fast on here because it's just not here. Each track is slow paced and even one song called "Day To End" features a heavy synthesizer that dominates the track along with the clean vocals.

Dark Tranquillity copies no one on "Projector", it stands alone in sheer dynamite. Especially with melodic death freaks like me, it never grows old. An album that was so well mixed, nothing is left out. All of the instruments are heard and heard with vigor. The crunch tone distortion from the guitars features riffs that are original and innovative. No weak points on any of the songs.

This band really was creative in this offering and probably in my opinion their best work, surely surpassing "The Minds I" for sure. I'd have to say that it surpassed both older and newer releases by far. Amazing work by all musicians in terms of the songwriting. A true Gothenburg band that surpasses all of what I've heard from this band. If you want true melodic death metal the way that it should be played, pick up "Projector" because there aren't any albums that feature this highest standard of musicianship whatsoever.=

A Worthy Addition - 84%

deluge71, November 15th, 2008

I originally listened to this album with low expectations. It’s not that I had ever been disappointed with a Dark Tranquility release, but 1997’s “The Mind’s I” was going to be a tough act to follow. Further fuelling my anticipation of mediocrity were the vast number of rumors flying around that the band had changed for the worse. Having finally listened, re-listened, analyzed, and cherished this disc, I can say with certainty that “Projector” is one of Dark Tranquillity's finest.

The most basic description of Dark Tranquility’s music would undoubtedly include the dreaded “Gothenburg-style melodic death metal” tag, but only the most casual listener will walk away from “Projector” with the same impression. This album saw the band moving into new territory with cleaner vocal sections, stronger hooks, and overall, a more orchestrated sound. Opener “Freecard” is an excellent example of Dark Tranquillity’s approach at this stage, and serves as one of the album's defining moments. The upbeat string intro is followed by a majestic guitar riff, after which vocalist Michael Stanne steps in with some powerful roaring to throw everything into high gear. Other highlights include “Auctioned”, “The Sun Fired Blanks”, and the surprisingly melodic “Dobermann”. While I would tend to direct new listeners toward 'The Gallery' or the aforementioned 'The Mind's I', 'Haven' would be a worthy follow-up.

A Great Risk - 80%

zervyx, December 5th, 2007

The obscure sound of a classical piano enters, penetrates my ears and I can’t stop thinking: Is this somber sound typical of melodic death metal? Is this really Dark Tranquillity?... Well, it is. A lot has changed since “The Gallery”, one of their greatest albums where the sound was harsh, fast but yet melodic.

If there was a Dark Tranquillity album that could be tagged as the most experimental and creative one of the band, it would probably Projector. The members took a great risk and it doesn’t sound bad at all. They managed to mix some obscure goth – rock (perhaps goth metal) elements to melodic death metal. Between these “goth” elements there’s the low tone of the clean vocals of Mikael Stanne, who switches to the death metal growls that he has done in the last albums; there’s also acoustic guitars, atmospheric synths, and a lot of delay and reverb effects for guitar.

This “goth” approach is clearly marked in 2 ballad songs which clearly lack of melodic death elements. “Auctioned” and “Day to End” are two goth metal songs where there’s no signs of death metal vocals, or death metal drumming. These atmospheric songs remind me a lot of some goth and even “doomish” metal bands (Katatonia, and mainly Darkseed’s “Diving into Darkness” & “Astral Adventures” albums) and the voice sounds like Depeche Mode at times, especially because of the vocal effects.

As you may be realizing, you have to be into depressive goth metal and melodic death to enjoy this album, I wouldn’t recommend it to people that are closed minded about depressive cheesy metal. The best songs and most representative ones are “Free card”, “There in” and “Undo Control”, where the parts of clean vocals sound like well done gothmetal, and the growled parts sound like darkened melodeath. The song “Undo control” has three kinds of vocals because there’s a guest appearance, so we have female vocals for this song (another goth element).

In a personal opinion I really enjoy this album, it has very deep vocals, catchy but introspective lyrics, and I like the sound of depression and aggression in the same song. Unfortunately, the only bad details of the album are these long atmospheric passages that some songs have, like “There in” from 3:47 to 4:26 where is just a repetitive atmosphere piece.

This is the oldest goth/melodic death album I’ve ever heard, I certainly know that some of their most devoted fans didn't like this change of sound, thats why I think it was a huge risk, but worth it, they also gain many many new fans. Some years after this release other bands of this genre came out with a similar sound, Fall of the Leafe being one of them and the Italian band called Dark Lunacy that took a more symphonic/gothic approach (Violins, Piano and classical string work) instead of the old school goth-rock of Dark Tranquillity in this particular album. Anyhow, the band improved eventually and evolved into something more agressive (Damage Done, Character)

A Little Too Soft For My Taste - 70%

corviderrant, January 11th, 2007

Don't get me wrong, I can see where a lot of folks go wild over this album, as it is indeed varied and well-played/produced. But at the same time, I fail to see why it's considered so great. I much prefer DT when Mikael Stanne is snarling and the riffing is there and the drumming is spot-on, that is, when they are in full-on metal mode.

And there are moments of that for sure on this album: "There In" has an ear-grabbing flanged opening riff that should've been the album starter as opposed to the slow and moody "Freecard", and it brings the heaviosity but good with a slamming beat and--for once--a solid and audible bass presence. "Dobermann", well, like most other folks, that lovely Iron Maiden-like opening guitar part gets me going every time, and the lyrics are fascinating, cryptic though they are. Those two songs are my absolute favorites, and while there are a couple of others I can get into at the right time, the rest of this album tends to be too soft and restrained for my taste. Too many mid tempos and not enough variety; too much "groove" sounding riffs for my taste, unfortunately, are on this album.

And I really prefer Mikael's menacing snarl on the vocal front, he sounds distinctive and more coherent than the average grunter/growler. He sounds entirely too goofy when he goes into clean vocal mode. Too much like Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, and I never got into DM, so this is a bad thing for me. Fortunately, he alternates that with enough growling to make it somewhat bearable.

Again, this is not a bad album by any means. The guys can obviously play well and the production is perfect (thank you, Fredrik Nordstrom), but the material is lacking variety and energy in my opinion. The albums that followed this were much better, IMO. I just prefer my metal to have light AND shade as opposed to all shade (too boring) or all light (too happy), you need to have dynamics to make this work. And "Projector" unfortunately lacks the kind of dynamics that would make it a really killer album. Sorry to say it, but it's too soft for me.

When a blend band hits the jackpot - 81%

stefan86, December 10th, 2004

After a long abscence from my playlist I decided to once again listen to this album and give it a review. "Projector" used to be one of my absolute favourites before I got sick of easy listening metal. However, despite my hate for Gothenburg-sounding bands this CD still leaves me impressed. Of all the albums labeled experimental, this is clearly the best of the bunch.

Now, one would instantly think that the pussy side of a melodic band like this would be terrible at best. But the things is that the more they depart from playing metal, the more they excel. Many times this comes of as sounding like a depressive hard rock version of Depeche Mode. And hell, I like it.

A big reason for this is that Mikael Stanne is a clean vocalist of high class. He puts much sincere emotion into the deep vocals. To this day I've never understood why he just doesn't go for it full time since his growling is mid-class at best. Especially live.

Where this albums successor, "Haven", has very little appeal beyond catchiness, this has depth. And the more they depart from growling and riffing, the better it gets. The knockout combo (or should I say regression combo?) of "Undo Control" and "Auctioned" is definitely the best couple of songs this band ever wrote.

Tracks three, four, five, seven, eight and ten has that great feeling going, while "Freecard", "There In" and "Dobermann" are on the mediocre side of things. "The Sun Fired Blanks" is the most classic sounding track on this album, and actually pretty good. It's pretty punchy and a fine party metal song.

Dark Tranquillity could probably sucker me in as an all time fan if this would be their sound. I can't say their metal music gives me much. Some of the music here is undeniably superior to everything else they've done.

The masterpiece - 100%

3415, November 28th, 2004

When I first bought this album I didn’t quite get it. It was so far removed from their previous efforts, so complex and twisted at first listen, that I didn’t know what to think. One of my friends said it sucked big time. Today he worships this album, and so do I. It’s one of the most fascinating pieces of metal art I’ve ever laid my hands on, even though it took me a few listens to fully grasp how good the album really was.

The changes made from previous records are partly in their song structure, with more open arrangements, more space in the songs, a slight change of pace and overall shorter songs. The most recognizable change however, is in Mikael Stanne´s singing. Here he performs growling as well as a lot of very expressive clean vocals, a very pleasant surprise indeed. Hell, on the two tracks “Day to End” and “Auctioned” he sings clean vocals throughout, and with great result. On the other songs there is more of a mixture of the vocal styles, and it sounds magnificent all the way.

A permanent keyboardist has also been employed, and he does his job well all through the album without taking too much place. The guitars complement each other nicely, and have become more and more riff-oriented for each album, without losing the special DT melodic type of playing. They particularly excel in some solo parts on “The Sun Fired Blanks” and “To a Bitter Halt” where they really get going.

As the album progresses, it just keeps growing on you. Once you have reached final track “On your time” and it mesmerizes you with its sheer tempo and fury, you are well and truly on your knees, worshipping at the altar of “Projector”. Every single song on offer here is so magnificently crafted and powerful in its own right that it makes your heart pound faster, but they also make each other and thus the album stronger by complementing each other in such a fantastic way. A true masterpiece for all ages.

Dark Tranquillity - Projector - 93%

DarkDryad, July 6th, 2004

Dark Tranquillity’s fourth studio album is, in my opinion, their best. Projector is their most melodic album yet released. I just love Mikael’s vocals; he can sing with a clear voice and do some nice growls, so it really leaves to the atmosphere of the album something great.
Projector starts off with Freecard. It starts off with a nice piano introduction and then goes on to the heavy guitar riffs, and returns in the end to conclude with the same piano as in the beginning. Freecard was a great song to begin the album, but then it just gets better. Therein, easily the best track of the entire album is absolutely wonderful. It starts off with a nice and heavy guitar riffs, then Mikael comes in with his beautiful deep voice and changes from growling vocals to clear vocals a few times. The main riff of that song is very catchy; it is what made me like this song and what made me want to get further into Dark Tranquillity.

Undo Control is also an excellent song on the album. The intro riff is also amazing in this song, it really gets you into the song. Then the female vocals get in and leave the song with, not a thoroughly dark atmosphere, but definitely an atmosphere. It practically follows the same pattern as Therein. Then, my favourite slow song of the album: Auctioned. There are absolutely no growls on that song, Mikael’s voice remains clear from beginning to end. He sings it with a kind of complaining voice, which renders the lyrics more credible and plunges you into the song. Four minutes into the song is where it gets even better. You can clearly hear the nice job Michael Nicklasson does on the bass, and then the excellent slow dusky solo.
The streak of excellent songs does not end there; To A Bitter Halt is another nice heavy song. The vocals never get soft and same goes for the guitar, it is always heavy and the guitarist throws in a nice solo halfway through the song. The Sun Fired Blanks just did not do it for me. I never was able to get into that song, in my opinion; it is the weakest of the album. Good, but nothing exceptional. The next song, Nether Novas, is one of the most solid tracks of the album. The dark, deep, powerful and ingenious lyrics of this song are definitely one of a kind. The best part of the song is when there is the slow guitar riff (I wouldn’t call it a solo), it is so catchy, I heard the song once, and a week later, I was singing that small guitar riff, but could not remember where I heard it.

The next track, Day To End, is the softest song of the album along with Auctioned. It is not excellent, but still is a good song. Mikael keeps a clear voice, and the guitars don’t get heavy at all. Dobermann and On Your Time are both good songs too. Using the clean and “growly” vocals, these are nice songs to end Projector.

Overall, the album is excellent. Practically all songs have an incredibly catchy introduction riff and most of them contain a gloomy and slow solo, nothing incredible, but they really grow on you. So the stand-out tracks on the album are: FreeCard, ThereIn, UnDo Control, Auctioned, and Nether Novas. People who love melodic death metal should definitely buy this album; I give it 93/100.

DarkDryad

A metal Depeche Mode? - 70%

icedray, May 31st, 2003

Yeah, thats what I thought of when I recently pulled out this cd which I have not listened to in a long time. They remind me of that band for 2 reasons: Stanne's clean vocals and some of the keyboard atomosheric material on the album. Now, I know that the mention of that band in the same breath with the great DT will scare many metalheads. Well, it should. This is NOT for everyone.

Heck, the first time I listened to the piano intro that starts "Freecard", I raised my eyebrow like the Rock and when the clean vocals of "Therein" kicked in, I put this thing away immediately. I did listen to it a couple of more times but never really dug the album. Until now.

Now, don't get me wrong, this does not compare to the greatness of Skydancer, Gallery, or their latest, Damage Done. But, its pretty good for what it is..........a metal Depeche Mode. Even the gothenburg tag fits loosely here. Keyboards, atmosheric sounding guitars, clean vocals, ....not what you expect from a metal album.

I will say this - Stanne is one my fav vocalists of all time (at least his growling vocals). His death vox are unique and carry an emotional quality that is uheard by any other vocalists of this genre. He, alone, makes this album worth it.

In addition, the abstract lyrics are quite cool and always a stong point of DT albums. For example in the haunting and very melodic and Metallica/"The Unforgiven" sounding song "Auctioned" you have "...my lip was venom/words formed in my mouth/hid beneath the tounge/never to be seen."There is also some female vocals as seen in "Undo Control". But it works when mixed with Stanne's incredible death vox delivery of "I resist without control".

Again, proceed with exteme caution with this one, even if you are a DT fan. But, I must admit that this did grow on me where I now enjoy spinning this disc quite often.

Very different and more than ok! - 85%

Raw_man, February 4th, 2003

I had to write this review after checking the previous one. Rarely I come over reviews I so disagree about, and this CD is by far my favourite from DT. It's not that I don't like heavier Metal, or I didn't hear previous Dark Tranquility CDs. I do and I did. I rarely judge albums solely by heaviness, but always by quality of the songs, and I think that here DT reached the peak of their songwriting abilities. 'Haven' is still good, but I prefer this one, but I can understand why it was met with such hostility. I would not like it too if I was a hardcore fan of them _before_ hearing this album, but I became a fan _after_ hearing it, and that explains the difference of this review from the previous one.

So, assuming that whoever reads it doesn't know who DT are and what do they play on this album, I'll try to give a brief description. The style here is extremely melodic Death Metal bordering on Gothic, Stanne does excellently both harsh and melodic vocals, while keyboard takes the center stage at least a couple of time with melodic and sorrowful riffs. Guitars mostly follow vocals' style, they're more death-ish when Stanne is, and more laid back in other parts. The solos where they pop up are usually more moody than technical, and the whole atmosphere of the album is to combine the sorrow with aggression from previous albums.

'Auctioned' shines here with incredible piano riff and mood and only clean vocals, and actually all the first 4 songs are good to great. One song that only I seem to like is 'Day to end'. Totally unlike everything DT done before, here and after, it has only clean vocals with very bare arrangement while guitars kick in only in the end. Very emotional song.

There are a couple or more songs here towards the end of the album that I like less, but I very rarely come upon albums that I like from start to finish. So that's it, a very good CD, with a quite unique style and at least 2 great and 4 good songs. Also a great introduction to whoever wants to approach Death Metal from its softer side.

Highlights : Freecard, Therein, Undo Control, Auctioned, The Sun Fired Blanks, Day to End

very different, but still ok - 50%

Thrash_Till_Death, January 29th, 2003

Well as with most bands, evolution and change takes place eventually. Some bands do it basically every cd, like Amorphis or the Gathering, while others take a few cds, like In Flames. Such is the case here, as the band's previous cds are different than this.

The band decided to go in a more mellow & melodic direction with this cd. They still have a bit of melodic death influences, but this is a very different release than the gallery or skydancer. Though its a not really a bad thing. I like to see a band evolve and try new things, as long as its not totally awful, like slayer attempting to be slipknot. So now onto the cd itself

It opens with Freecard which is a pretty good song and its DT the way we know them, just slowed down. Though it does open with piano, so this might turn people off right from the very start of this cd. ThereIn is next and this is pretty good at the start. Ok things aren't looking too bad for this cd, but wait, whats that. Clean vocals, thats what. While not a pitiful attempt at clean vocals like ohh in flames have just done, its somewhat cheesy, as its a sort of operatic & overdone clean style. Its standable, but not all that likable. The next song, well this is where the longtime fans will most likely be throwing the cd across the room. It opens with female vocals, until the usual DT vocals kick in, but only for a short period before the female vox come back.

The cd basically is like the songs I've already talked about, ranging from some old DT elements, to new stuff, like clean vocals, piano and other varities of "going soft". Regardless, I respect the band for this, as they wanted to make a cd that was different from their old cds and actually put more melodic elements into their music. For the most part it works, except for the clean vocals. They are better than the recent in flames attempt, but not all that enjoyable. The good news is, the band moved on after this cd back into a heavier direction, as evidenced by Haven and Damage Done.

So if you love DT, get this and you'll probably come to like it after a few listens. I'm a little mixed on the rating for this, as I do like the cd in the general. I'm going with a 50, as its right down the middle. This cd shouldn't be totally slagged nor loved. Take it as that, a mediorce release, but followed up by 2 good cds.

best songs imo: freecard, the sun fired blanks, on your time.