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The Mind’s I” represents an unusual period for Dark Tranquillity. After the release of the masterpiece The Gallery, the band began to head away from the epic classical-influenced melodeath sound of that album towards more progressive and gothic tendencies. The Enter Suicidal Angels EP features some experimentations with electronic programming (transition from Zodijackyl Light into Razorfever) and even a straight out techno song (Archetype). A very strange release indeed, after The Gallery. The Mind’s I finds the band not taking such an extreme approach as the EP did, but it can be seen that the epic melodies are being dumbed down a bit in favor of a darker, more progressive sound. Make no mistake, this is the bridge between The Gallery and Projector.
The first track, Dreamlore Degenerate, is a short burst of aggression, with some slower parts thrown in. The subtle tempo changes in this song prepares the listener for much more extreme ones that follow. Zodijackyl Light, a track from the Enter Suicidal Angels EP, isn’t too far removed from the sound of The Gallery, but is a bit stranger and more experimental. During the chorus, there is an extra half beat every other measure, making the tempo rather strange and confusing. Near the end of the song, a typical hi-hat/snare beat is played against that riff for a very strange feel. It’s almost “math metal”. The third track, Hedon, is definitely my favorite on the album. A darkly epic masterpiece, Hedon has bizarre tempo changes coupled with multiple leads and great vocals and lyrics. Unfortunately, Dark Tranquillity doesn’t manage to make all the rest of the songs on the album as interesting. Scythe, Rage, and Roses is another short burst under three minutes, like the opener, that is a bit faster than the other songs. However, the thing about these short bursts of aggression, is they don’t feel all that heavy or powerful, and aren’t quite as effective as they could be.
Constant is a slower track with some decent leads and not many interesting tempo variations that ends up being pretty good but nothing too special. Here comes another one of those token shorter faster songs to keep you awake…Dissolution Factor Red. Starting to get a bit redundant here, unfortunately. To keep your interest, Dark Tranquillity throws in one of those classic half-acoustic songs with female guest vocals, Insanity’s Crescendo. And for a while it’s pretty, but isn’t executed nearly as well as earlier epics like …Of Melancholy Burning. In fact, 7 minutes of it is a bit much. I tend to get a bit bored after that. Still Moving Sinews is a decent song with some decent leads and such, but a bunch of decent songs put together to make a decent album doesn’t do much for me. Atom Heart 234.5 has a bit more of that fast stuff, but overall none of these tracks nearly match the power of anything on The Gallery. Tidal Tantrum…mid tempo melodic leads and switching off between clean and distorted guitar…not bad on its own but I’m really getting bored here. Tongues isn’t much different either. The closer and title track is a great track, but by the time you get to it you’re more than a bit bored. A good mix of old and new, The Mind’s Eye is acoustic with sampling and electronics in the background. Definitely a good way to bridge the gap between The Gallery and Projector.
Overall…the first few tracks are pretty damn good, but then the damn album just starts to drag. It’s not that these songs are bad, it’s just that they’re not that amazing. Pretty good for a transitional experimental album…but I’d take any other DT album except Haven over it. Skip this one unless you’re a real hardcore fan (like me).