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Album Reviews : Dark Tranquillity – We Are The Void

By on March 9, 2010

dt_wearethevoid240Back again in 2010 is a band that in my eyes has rarely failed to deliver, Swedish maestros Dark Tranquillity. The question from here on in though is that after 8 full length albums, can the Gothenburg quintet further develop the slight change of formula that worked so well on Fiction on this their latest album, We Are The Void.

Opening with the ‘single’ track Shadow In Our Blood – that is, the song they’ve done the video for – it’s clear that the trademark DT riffing courtesy of Niklas Sundin and Martin Henriksson has lost none of it’s effectiveness. With the tempo somewhat higher on the opener than the rest of the album, and with a killer riff, the song sets up a nice introduction to the album before the band bring in a change in formula with more keyboard led songs through Martin Brändström’s efficient use of the instrument.

For examples of this increased use of electronics, you need only listen to the first half of the album with songs such as Dream Oblivion and At The Point Of Ignition showcasing this change in approach. To me, for a band that generally has only ever used the keys in a backup role that complements the rest of the band, this alteration isn’t exactly a good thing as the subtlety of their use was a massive drawing card for me to their music. Not only this, but they also take away from some potentially good riffs, meaning that the guitars have lost their aura of intensity and general effectiveness.

I was glad to hear the band has continued with the trial of using clean vocals, in addition to the fantastic harsh offerings delivered by Mikael Stanne. The track Her Silent Language makes great use of twin guitar harmonies and the depressive, stalker like lyrics give the song almost a Sentenced feel. And as on Fiction’s Misery’s Crown, the combination of clean vocals (with a small, well used amount of vocal layering) and harsh vocals develop DT’s new signature and mark these tracks as new additions above the threshold of awesome in the bands career.

Maybe it is both harsh and fair for me to say that the band’s glory days in Damage Done and Character are behind them. The continued use of clean vocals is a massive win and I’d encourage an extra song or two to use cleans on future releases, while the keyboard elements and lack of crunch from the guitars take the gloss off the album. I do think it’s great they are trying to further their creativeness in certain aspects – a band should always develop – but it’s the lack of modesty in their approach that offers the suggestion that they themselves are turning into a Dark Tranquillity clone, if you take my meaning…

7/10

Band: Dark Tranquillity
Album: We Are The Void
Year: 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Century Media
Origin: Gothenburg, Sweden
http://www.myspace.com/dtofficial

Track listing:
1. Shadow In Our Blood
2. Dream Oblivion
3. The Fatalist
4. In My Absence
5. The Grandest Accusation
6. At the Point of Ignition
7. Her Silent Language (Reviewers Choice)
8. Arkhangelsk
9. I Am the Void
10. Surface the Infinite
11. Iridium

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.