My first Dark Tranquillity encounter was back in late 2002 when I downloaded the song "Monochromatic Stains" from the bands website. Little did I know that soon this band would become my idols and my obsession. Since Monochromatic Stains was from "Damage Done", naturally that was my first CD, and man what a CD it was. I grew to know every word and every riff of every song. Then I heard about "Character", which I also bought without question, and enjoyed thoroughly, in ecstasy with the pure adrenaline in these two CD's. Well, from there you could say I was Dark Tranquillity crazy. I bought, in this order, The Gallery (my favorite DT album), Haven, Projector, Exposures: In Retrospect & Denial (a collection of the "A Moonclad Reflection" EP and the "Trial Of Life Decayed" Demo), Lost To Apathy EP, and Skydancer/Of Chaos And Eternal Night. I grew to love beyond words Dark Tranquillity's classic works, listening to them every single day. But yet, my collection was still missing one piece, the band's third LP, 1997's "The Mind's I". I was casually browsing through my local CD store when I happened upon this, and immediatley picked it up and bought it.
I am a huge fan of the older CD's of Dark Tranquillity, well before the keyboards and all that came into the mix. I feel that during these periods, Dark Tranquillity produced some of the best songs to ever grace this earth, from The Gallery's "...Of Melancholy Burning" and "Punish My Heaven" to Of Chaos And Eternal Night's "Away Delight, Away", I just couldn't get enough. So imagine my impatience as I hurried from the store to my car to put in the CD (I almost ran =P).
Opening up the CD revealed the booklet, with the lyrics and usual band pics, along with the lyrics for the "Enter Suicidal Angels" EP which came packed in with my version of "The Mind's I", which I thought was just awesome. The CD cover art is rather interesting which shows, among other odd objects, a logo for Dark Tranquillity on a piece of paper which is stained in what appears to be blood. Bravo for the person to make the artwork here, as I enjoyed it. Also printed on the CD iteself is the quote "This Is The Magic That A Name Would Stain", which I thought to be an interesting quote about Dark Tranquillity's career itself, saying that to go mainstream and become super-stars would ruin the art that they create with each CD, a quote which I find to be rather true.
I was also rather surprised with the track lengths here. Some range from the super short (2 minutes, 7 seconds) to the insanley (by Dark Tranquillity standards) long (6:52). There really are only 5 of the 15 songs which fall into the time frame of 3:30-5:00, the rest are either much shorter or much longer. This is not to say the quality is reduced, because the short ones are at furiously fast paces and the long ones consist of many riff changes and surprises which never become boring.
"Dreamlore Degenerate" begins fast, with the pounding drums of Anders Jivarp in the background before breaking into Stanne's raspy growl. His voice is distorted in this song, but it sounds really cool and ominous, but there are still plenty of regular growls to be found in this 2:44 song. Things slow down for the bridge, just for a few seconds, before breaking into hell again. A fast paced and worthy opener, this song is very good, with catchy riffing and a fast pace.
"Zodijackyl Light" is a piece of classic Dark Tranquillity, with a good strong opening riff. The riffing continues as the vocals come in, which are screamed very fast. At about 1:40 there is a sort of depressing guitar solo, which isn't all that fast at the beginning but then speeds up later. The song closes with some odd distorted sounds which I really don't understand, but they add a lot of atmosphere to the song and the album. "Hedon" is one of the two epics on "The Mind's I". This begins oddly because about :25 in Stanne whispers the words "Enter Suicidal Angels", which is the name of the EP included here, before continuing on the chugging riff. Some quiter vocals give way to some emotionally delivered verses. At 1:45, there is a cool guitar solo, which I miss in DT's later work, as there aren't nearly as many as they used to do. A really sick riff comes in next, which is really simple, but very catchy. All through this Mikael's vocals continue to sing the somber tales he writes of. At the end of the song there is some really good guitar work, and the song ends with a vicious scream, which closes one of the best songs here.
"Scythe, Rage, and Roses" is another very fast song, which at 2:33 sounds a lot like the opener, but is still very enjoyable with quick and talented guitar work. "Constant" opens with slow guitars and some heavy drums, which gives way to a somber (but very good) riff. Stanne's voice comes in, but he takes his time and is slower, which makes his screams more deep and better heard. Another solo at the beginning of the song here, which is very short but not too bad. The songs picks up the pace, and ends to desperate screams. Picking up the work is the albums shortest song, "Dissolution Factor Red". This song is actually really good, even though it is so short (2:07). The riffing is solid and drums are very fast, just a really good, quick song.
Next up in line is the real epic (Hedon was merley a warmup for this one), is the 6:52 "Insanity's Crescendo". Opening with soft acoustic work for about 30 seconds, it gives way to wonderfully beautiful female vocals, which are very, very melancholic and sad. This section, I have to admit, is one of the absolute best on this CD. Even if you don't like clean vocals, you will like this simply because of the emotion behind it. This song is a perfect example of how Dark Tranquillity can nail the atmospheric songs better than any other Melodic Death band. The lyrics are a sad poem, and are stunning. Stanne rips open this song at about 2:10, putting all his energy into his role, and it shows. This is one of Stanne's best vocal performances. Even if you may not notice it, just listen closely to how he screams with such emotion, and along with the beat of the fabulous guitar riffing. The guitars are switching pace a lot here, going from angry (fast), to sad (slow) right up there in harmony with the vocals. Riffing a'plenty on this song, with the female vocals retuning at about the 6 minute mark. Stanne wraps up this masterpiece with raging fury, the best song on this CD without question.
The next two tracks, "Still Moving Sinews" (Sinews is another word for stongly or powerfully) and "Atom Heart 243.5" are very similar, and show a glimpse at what is in the future for Dark Tranquillity, as these tracks could easily fit in with "Haven" or "Damage Done". "Tidal Tantrum" is another one of the enjoyable short, fast paced tracks, which Dark Tranquillity hasn't really done before or since (a shame since I enjoy them).
"Tongues" lengthens things out, in its whole 4:53 it packs in the catchy, ever changing riffs and the ferocious vocals of Stanne. This song is sort of mid-paced, which suits the vocal style of Mikael the best in my opinion. One of the best solos of the CD is also in this track, and since it is late in the CD, it really brings refreshment into the mix, which makes this song really enjoyable.
The final track "The Mind's I" is a instrumental piece, which contains a lot of acoustic guitar, and if im hearing correctly, a first sign of keyboards (another thing to come). There are some ominous drums and even strange garbled passages which arent understandable. This song reminds me of the aftermath of a great battle. My favorite instrumental to come from Dark Tranquillity, and is a very fitting way to end this album. The next 3 bonus tracks, "Razorfever", "Shadowlit Facade", and "Archetype" are all from the "Enter Suicidal Angels" EP, and are of very good quality and are all very good songs ("Razorfever" opens with an absolutely insane, jaw-dropping riff =D).
So, what do I have to say about Dark Tranquillity's 3rd CD.... very, very impressive. This shows that Dark Tranquillity can still go old school with a mix of some newer styles. This is probably my 3rd favorite Dark Tranquillity album, behind "The Gallery" and "Damage Done". A very solid album, I cannot really point out any bad spots. If you see it in the store, its worth your money to pick it up, I garuntee you won't be disappointed. This proves yet again the Dark Tranquillity cannot put out a bad CD.
4.5/5 without a doubt.