One of the leaders of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal movement is back with another stunning statement. Fiction is Dark Tranquillity's follow-up to 2005's Character, itself a breathtaking addition to the genre, and this latest is just as good if not better. Brimming with sweeping melodies, savage vocals from Mikael Stanne, lush keyboard soundscapes, and brutal guitar work, this is a release that will satisfy the most loyal fans of the band and certainly bring them many new ones in the process.
Mixed by Tue Madesen (Himsa, The Haunted), Fiction is a powerful sounding platter from start to finish, with the guitars and keyboards bright and punchy, the rhythms dynamic, and the vocals of Stanne commanding as ever. Songs like "Nothing to No One" and "The Lesser Faith" are exciting Gothenburg styled death metal, but with a slight gothic edge, and the melodic "Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)" is probably the catchiest song the band has ever written, complete with melodic hooks that work hand in hand with Stanne's gurgling vocals, bubbly synths, crushing rhythms and razor sharp guitar riffs. It's a song you'll want to hear over and over again. The duel lead guitar harmonies from Martin Henriksson and Niklas Sundin weave through the mix on "Blind At Heart", a potent and classy slice of death metal that is sure to please fans of their older material, as well as vintage In Flames and Iron Maiden. The slower and more grinding "Icipher" features some crushing riffs, ominous keyboards, wild pinch harmonics, and a deadly vocal by Mikael, but again, the key here is the melodies. The band adds some nice atmosphere to the moody "Inside the Particle Storm", perhaps signaling that there time spent on the road with Opeth recently wore off a bit on them. With huge keyboard waves, evil growls, and a back and forth mix of thunderous riffs with quieter introspective moments, this is prime progressive death metal. "Empty Me" is a full-speed-ahead rager, with relentless drum blasts and complex guitar riffery, while "Misery's Crown" is a complete departure for the band. This one is catchy gothic metal piece, featuring Stanne on clean & growling vocals, and something that would not be out of place on a My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost album. You'll be cranking the volume up as high as it can go though on the thunderous death metal frenzy of "Focus Shift", and the doomy closer "The Mundane and the Magic" reminds a little of Novembers Doom, Swallow the Sun, as well as My Dying Bride, with slower riffs, great keys from Martin Brandstrom, clean gothic singing & growls from Stamme, and guest female backing vocals.
Fiction is ultimately an outstanding release from these Gothenburg legends. Not only is a portion of this album as lethal and heavy as anything they have ever done, they have added a new element by throwing in some doom and gothic sounds into their already killer repertoire. This is a must hear release from one of the most consistent bands in metal.
1) Nothing to No One
2) The Lesser Faith
3) Terminus (Where Death is Most Alive)
4) Blind at Heart
6) Inside the Particle Storm
7) Empty Me
8) Misery's Crown
9) Focus Shift
10) The Mundane and the Magic