Dark Tranquillity are one of the founders of the so-called Gothenburg styled melodic death metal, together with In Flames and At The Gates. Through the years the band evolved, gradually drifting away from their extreme metal roots. The culmination of that process came in the form of Projector (1999). The feedback was mixed; some applauded the band’s need for experimentation while others accused Dark Tranquillity of selling out. On later albums like Damage Done (2002), Character (2005) and Fiction (2007) the band managed to find the middle road between experimentation and their melodic death metal roots.
We Are The Void, the latest album by the Swedes, is once again a continuation of what the band have done since the Damage Done days. There are some experimental songs in which Martin Brändström shows his skills in the electronic effects department. Shadow In Our Blood, The Fatalist and Star Of Nothingness are good examples of that. Tracks like In My Absence, Surface The Infinite and the title track are generally faster in nature and contain references to The Gallery and The Mind’s I. Dream Oblivion, In My Absence, The Grandest Accusation and To Where Fires Feed are perfect examples of their latter day style as found on Character and Fiction.
My main problem with We Are The Void is the incredible predictability of this album, especially when you’re used to more adventurous and progressive music. Of course I recognize the quality of songs like Shadow In Our Blood, Irridium, The Grandest Accusation and The Fatalist and there are some really good leads here and there, but it doesn’t safe We Are The Void from becoming dull by the time you reach the second half of the record. The absence of some true standout tracks in the vein of Insanity’s Crescendo, Hedon, Therein, Lost To Apathy, Punish My Heaven or The Treason Wall doesn’t help either.
Perhaps I’m the victim of my own expectations regarding Dark Tranquillity or I’ve just grown tired from the band’s signature sound, the fact remains that We Are The Void simply doesn’t cut it for me. Of course the album has its merits and it will certainly find its way to the Dark Tranquillity fan base, but I sincerely hope the next release will be less predictable in nature.
written by Raymond Westland