The creators of the Gothenburg Sound of melodic death metal, Sweden's Dark Tranquillity return with one of their most brutal and aggressive albums ever, appropriately titled Character. This release shows the band at their most lethal, their most personal, filled with bombastic guitar riffs, virtuoso and complex unison guitar harmonies, waves of keyboards, a juggernaut rhythm section, and Mikael Stanne's gurgling death metal vocals. While many are no doubt familiar with this bands primal and ferocious sound, those new to Dark Tranquility will find that on Character, once you get bast the brutal assault of your initial listen, the music is actually very melodic and reveals many hidden nuances after repeated spins.
A song like "Out of Nothing" injects heaping amounts of neat keyboard tapestries amidst the bludgeoning guitar chords, while "The Endless Feed" has an eerie gothic touch thanks to Stanne's dark vocals and the slow crunchy guitar work coupled with more symphonic synthesizers.
Fans of simple, straightforward death metal will love the rampaging sounds of "Lost to Apathy", a relentless juggernaut of gargled vocals, double bass drums, and vicious guitar work. The harmony guitar work of Nirlas Sundin and Martin Henriksson is in fine form on the progressive metal of "Mind Matters", one of the CD's more complex tunes, and the symphonic "Dry Run" has a real crunchy groove to it that will appeal to both headbangers and proggers.
The band dives into In Flames and Soilwork territory on the electronic yet savage melodicism of "Senses Tied", which features some great synth lines from Martin Brandstrom. A pefect sense of the tortured melodrama that the band is trying to convey on this release is climaxed with the album's ending piece, the near 7-minute "My Negation", a brooding number featuring Stanne's haunting death metal vocals, heavy riffs, and wonderful, melodic keyboard backdrops.
In a storied career in the history of melodic death metal, Dark Tranquillity have a host of impressive releases, and Character will no doubt sit near the top of that list. Heavy, progressive, gothic, you name it, this album has it all. It's early in 2005, but already this will surely rank as one of the years best metal releases.
1) The New Build (4:08)
2) Through Smudged Lenses (4:13)
3) Out of Nothing (3:54)
4) The Endless Feed (4:45)
5) Lost to Apathy (4:38)
6) Mind Matters (3:31)
7) One Thought (4:09)
8) Dry Run (4:08)
9) Am I? (4:31)
10) Senses Tied (4:04)
11) My Negation (6:29)