without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
All undisputed classic albums will inevitably have one or two reviewers that will pick it apart in a stubborn desire to go against the norm. A few people said this album was overrated, but note how few truly poor reviews there are. Ignore the naysayers, this is Gothenburg's best, and Dark Tranquillity's best. From start to finish every riff is epic melodic perfection, to say that this is all technicality and no songwriting is incredibly inaccurate, and there is in fact not much soloing or extraordinary technical guitarwork, if at all. Niklas Sundin and Fredrik Johansson are not Yngwie Malmsteens (who I happen to actually love). The vocals are perfect. Mid-ranged and raspy, there is nothing annoying about them, and you can understand almost every word. Accessible? Hardly. Progressive rhythms are present and scattered throughout the songs, especially in tracks like The Dividing Line. The drumming is fast and aggressive, this is not The Jester Race. This is melodic DEATH metal, not power metal with raspy vocals. And it is far better than The Jester Race, or Slaughter of the Soul for that matter. You wouldn't ever see Dark Tranquillity at Ozzfest or in Hot Topic, or in some mallcore kid's walkman. They are not In Flames, they are not Soilwork. This is what Gothenburg should be.
Punish My Heaven is a great fast opener with beautiful finger tapped melodic guitarwork making an epic, almost neoclassical feel to the music, as Stanne growls along with his always melancholic and beautiful lyrics. The second track is more mid-paced, and leads into the similarly fast, aggressive, melodic, and epic Edenspring, one of the best songs on the album. The Dividing Line is melodic and progressive, highlighting rhythmic experimentation that would also be present on The Mind's I and occasionally on many further releases. The title track brings in some folk influence, with acoustic guitar and female guest vocals that were the highlights of Skydancer. The One Brooding Warning is a bit of a faster track that has its share of progressive tendencies, as well as a particularly nice guitar melody. Midway Through Infinity starts off with some blast beats and finger tapped melodies; now this is melodic death metal! Another one of the best, followed by probably the top track on the album - Lethe.
Lethe is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. With epic, beautiful, and emotional lyrics that manage, at the same time, to incorporate fantasy and mythology, and music to match it perfectly, it is the defining track of The Gallery. Henriksson starts off with a long and epic bass intro that makes you see why he would eventually switch to guitar, before the other instruments come in, playing the characteristic melodic/neoclassical riffage as Stanne screams passionately along. The end fades again to bass, before exploding out abruptly with the final words. Perfection. The Emptiness From Which I Fed is a faster paced track in the vein of many other Gallery tracks that serves as a good bridge between Lethe and the epic outro, Mine is the Grandeur of Melancholy Burning. Mine is the Grandeur consists of acoustic guitar and tympani, making a very powerful and epic feel, as if the listener was in the middle ages walking through a sunlit grassy field. It fades into Of Melancholy Burning, which switches off between mid-paced but powerful riffs backed by Stanne's very powerful pipes, and faster melodic riffage in the middle of the song. The female vocals again add a nice touch, and as the song approaches its close, it transitions back into the riff of Mine is the Grandeur, and the album closes with a very brief and beautiful acoustic outro.
If you got the re-release, you get 5 great covers as bonus tracks. It seems impossible for Dark Tranquility to butcher a song. I have never heard Sacred Reich's version of Sacred Reich, but I love Dark Tranquility's. Bringer of Torture is a powerful Kreator cover, where Stanne actually greatly surpasses his primary vocal influence, Mille Petrozza. Maiden covers are often done by melodeath bands, and sometimes butchered. But Dark Tranquillity manages to make a very interesting version of 22 Acacia Avenue with death vocals that is a good alternative to the original. Lady in Black was so amazing that it made me want to hear the original very badly. I listened to the original and despised the annoying, whiny vocals. Stanne knows how to make a bad song good. And finally, it closes with My Friend of Misery, where we are treated to death growls instead of James Hetfield's annoying hick vocals.
This album left me craving more, and more, and more. I could listen again, and again, and again and never get bored. It might be a stretch to call it the greatest album of all time, but it is surely my favorite. And it is definitely the greatest of the Gothenburg/Melodeath genre. I would surely suggest it for any melodeath fan, and anyone who really craves a perfect epic blend of melody and aggression. Go out and buy it. Right now.