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Dark Tranquillitys focus shifts...for the better - 95%

MazeofTorment, May 6th, 2007

Dark Tranquillity have returned once again and put forth yet another great slab of melodic Death Metal to help keep the scene alive. Throughout their illustrious career, DT have been at the head of the Gothenburg scene out of Sweden and unlike many of their counterparts(In Flaymez, Soilwork), they have stayed true to what they are about. Their style has significantly changed since their first couple of albums but not in the same commercial, trendy way of the two said bands. This change in direction sparked mixed reviews in some cases but in most cases, it is when their career really took off and they gained worldwide praise for their efforts. Thier 8th release entitled "Fiction" does not sway from this path. It incorporates many of the same elements that have been present on their past couple albums but yet, they have managed to mix it up much more here than before. There are noticable differences in style between albums like Haven, Damage Done, and Character and Fiction seems to take the best of each and combine them into a whirlwind of melodic death metal madness that will pull you in.

The opening track "Nothing To No One" grabs your attention from the start with its cutting edge riffs and then continues to draw you in until the chorus explodes in amazing fashion with an almost breakdown like section that manages to work quite well, with some great keyboards in the background to support it. The album continues in a similiar fashion as the keyboard layden tracks provide crucial elements to the music which form each songs base in a very emotional, catchy manor that will have the listener putting this album on repeat as you begin to pick up more and more from each song. The album continues to pick up speed as it goes and hits an early defining moment on the "Terminus(Where Death Is Most Alive)" that will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for what will come next as the song shows the harshest side of DT with great backing vocals during the chorus that is not heard too often from this band.

However, this strong start is only the begining of what is to come when you are suddenly immersed by the albums climax just over the midway point on "Inside The Particle Storm" which opens with a beautiful guitar passage that leads the listener into thinking this could possibly be the most toned down song on the album until you suddenly hear the main riff come into play while the drums pick up speed and then are suddenly hurdled into a brutal but catchy series of vocals and atmospheric riffing that cultimates into an unforgetable song. After catching your breath from such a song, one would think that the album could not surely could not get much better and yet, DT suprises you and every song from this point on is nearly as strong as the last one. They continue with "Miserys Crown" which introduces more variety to the album with short passages of clean vocals that lead into a well crafted, brutal chorus that will have you wanting to join in. Next, their single from the album "Focus Shift" keeps the pace going with more hardlined riffing with quick changes that keep the listener on edge and fully enthralled in what is going on. And finally, the album closes with "The Mundane and the Magic" a song of emotion, intensity and variety, the perfect way to sum up the album and each of these elements cultimates in the final song to make it the perfect closer as the brutally and melodic riffing is still present while the chorus catches the listener off guard with female vocals(The first in quite a few albums) that provide a beautiful sense of melody and wonder as the album comes to an end while never missing a single step. Another masterpiece from Dark Tranquillity, essential listening.