“Character” by Dark Tranquillity

Artist: Dark Tranquillity
Title: “Character”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 1/25/2005
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Rating: 8/10

Considered one of the pioneers in the Gothenburg sound Progressive Death Metal icons Dark Tranquility have given you the perfect CD to get into their sound if you have not already done so. Front to back this CD is an in-your-face experience that is not soon to be recovered from. The growling of Mikael Stanne raging like a madman through the widely technical and heavy riffing only strengthens the piece as each track blasts from the stereo. Having only tested their work in other listens I have to say that this one appealed to me instantly for it raised the bar on what the group helped to create so long ago. If you are a fan of groups like Opeth and Darkane you will enjoy the level of technical expertise that is demonstrated on each and every track. The drive is solid in most cases with riveting patterns coming from all the players in the group. The guitar work of Sundin and Henriksson is to be commended in high fashion while the drumming Anders Jivarp throws you into all different directions with every second. There is a great use of keyboard in this release and it adds for some great mood changes and that had a two-fold benefit for me. Music like this breaks the mold of what you expect in a certain genre and it proves that most Death Metal bands that go the Progressive route are indeed talented and not one-trick ponies.

I had a number of favorites on this album and I advise those that might be swayed by the words to at least sample these particular tracks. The first is “Through Smudged Lenses” which offers some top of the line thrash as its intro and then mixes several other twists in. “One Thought” was a perfect raise your horns to the air number and while I can never follow growlers vocally I felt I was actually catching up to him on this one. With the track “Out Of Nothing” the instrumentation shows that even the most hard core of Death bringers have some Iron Maiden and Priest influences to their musical history. My last favorite was “Lost To Apathy” as it brings the love of the hard dancing to your mind. I defy you not to mosh and head bang during this and most of the other tracks on this album.

There is a booklet filled with dismal and brooding imagery and lyrics for the songs included. There are a few pictures of the members of the group as well. I give a high recommendation to this release because as I compared notes from other writers who were studied in the group I saw them all agreeing that this was perhaps the bands finest work. Since the writings generate from both Progressive and Metal leaders in the field I felt I was in good company with my high rating. Check it out and be as impressed as we all were.

Track Listing:
1. New Build
2. Through Smudged Lenses
3. Out Of Nothing
4. Endless Feed
5. Lost To Apathy
6. Mind Matters
7. One Thought
8. Dry Run
9. Am I?
10. Senses Tied
11. My Negation

Official Web site: www.DarkTranquillity.com

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