Dark Tranquillity
Damage Done


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
February 1st, 2007 | 247 replies | 25,897 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


If you haven't already noticed, I love Dark Tranquillity. This will be my 4th album review for them on this site, and even after all these years of hearing every single song they have to offer over and over again, I never get bored, and nothing ever gets old. It's in this sense which makes a band rise above the rest, and become legends of their genre. To achieve greatness with Dark Tranquillity's old sound (The Mind's I and before) was a given. They were the masters of their craft, creating epic after epic for each song on each album they have ever released. Then came a rather large shock to myself and most of their fan base. "Projector" introduced a whole new side to their already great sound. Not only could these 6 men from Sweden create some of the most shatteringly beautiful metal to ever grace this earth, they could throw down such ballads as those found on "Projector" such as "Therein" or "Doberman". The one thing Dark Tranquillity did that most bands could never pull off without extreme criticism and a loss of their entire fan base, was to change their sound almost completely. In Flames tried it and it turned into basically a collapse of that band from the throne of greatness. Metallica tried it with "St. Anger", which received mostly bad reviews from angry fans who wanted their old band back again. Not is the case though, when Dark Tranquillity added electronics master Martin Brandstrom to their lineup, finalizing it for the time being.

So, imagine my surprise as I am casually browsing through the Dark Tranquillity section here on Sputnikmusic and discover to my dismay that the very first Dark Tranquillity album I bought, 2002's "Damage Done", did not yet get the review it so gratefully deserved. About 4 years ago, I first heard of Dark Tranquillity through word of mouth from a friend, and didn't really think of it much for a few months. Then, in the winter of 2002 I caught my first earful of "Monochromatic Stains". I was floored. The shredding guitars, harsh vocals, ominous keyboards, and pounding drums altogether flowed into one brilliant piece of music. Anyway, I stumbled out into the CD store in a sort of daze from what I've just heard, and found "Damage Done" and hastily threw my money at the store clerk and ran out into the parking lot back to my car, almost tripping flat on my face in the process. I opened the case and inserted the CD into the player, turned up the volume, and enjoyed....

"Final Resistance" begins with a simple intro riff, before just erupting into a sick headbanging session. Mikael's vocals come in, and they are much like those found on "Haven" but I think they are little bit deeper. This song is extremely catchy, with a really sick chorus. The electronics add a whole new dimension to their sound, making it seem more technical and adds quite a bit of melody to the mix. This is a classic DT song, albeit a short one (3:01) but a very fitting opener for this CD, it really gets your blood flowing and leaves you begging for more. "Hours Passed In Exile", the next song, is a rather odd one (but still great!). It begins with a distorted effect, with some sort of piano or chimes in the background before the guitars come in. The beginning of this song is heavy on the electronics. A sick riff then tears the song open, setting the tone for the rest of the track. Mikael's vocals come in, being lower and more brooding than many of the songs here. The chorus is slower but still heavy. Mikael uses his screaming vocals for every word on this CD, something they haven't really done since "The Gallery" or "The Mind's I". Also, the track lengths have gotten shorter, with this song being the longest at 4:45 (compare that to 7:15 from "A Bolt Of Blazing Gold" from their first full length "Skydancer"). The strange electronics come back to a forefront here at about 2:40, going into the bridge of the song. The first solo lies here also, being rather short but pretty good. I have a feeling Mikael's vocals are taking over as a more prominent role as of late, but thats OK since his vocals are awesome.

The third song, "Monochromatic Stains" is a masterpiece. The opening riff just shreds at your speakers, being melodic and bone crushing at the same time, which made me think of their older riffing on "The Gallery" and "Of Chaos And Eternal night" (actually the opening riff on this song reminds me strangely of another great work by them, "Away, Delight, Away). Right from the beginning you know this is going to be a great song, and it doesn't disappoint. Stanne's voice has a sort of whispered tone for half the song, and an all out scream for the other half. The lyrics are strong and get the point across fast. the chorus is intense and will leave you short of breath when you're done screaming it at the top of your lungs (a feat which I caught myself doing many a' listen). The pace here is very quick, a significant change from "Hours Passed In Exile".

"Single Part Of Two" has another electronic intro. This song is really melancholic and sad, which is an emotion Dark Tranquillity has mastered many times over. The chorus has a really slow, sad riff covering Stanne's growls. Things come to halt near the end, where the electronics pick up a chilling section for a few moments before we are propelled back into the song. "The Treason Wall" is a really upbeat song, which reminds of a sort of revolution song, with its lyrics such as "I Don't Believe.... I WON'T BELIEVE", its just really awesome songwriting coupled with shut-up-and-rock riffing, this one will surely have you headbanging around your room, car, or office (looking like a complete idiot) every time you listen to it.

"Format C: For Cortex" is more of "Haven"-era style song, showcasing Dark Tranquillity's newer style, with more flowing vocals and riffs, not quite as melodic as old stuff but still great. This song, much like this whole CD is extremely catchy, and this has a cool break in the middle where some piano notes are introduced, along with some slower drumming. Another solo on this song too, this time a little longer than "Hours Passed In Exile" and its still good. The last minute or so of this song is really sick, pulling out all the stops and unleashing hell. "Damage Done" seems like a shorter song, but the beginning it gets right off to Mikael's vocals, as intense as ever, with a really cool beat in the background keeping pace with the vocals. The last minute and 10 seconds of this song is just instrumentals, which I don't think really suits this song, but sort of slows things down and showcases more of the instrumental talent at work here.

"Cathode Ray Sunshine", "The Enemy", and "The Poison Well"(*) are, in my eyes, very similar songs, and go well with one right after the other. Instead of three songs, it sounds like one epic trio telling a single, whole story. These tracks alone have nothing which really stands out, but nothing even remotely bad about them, as I usually always listen to them all three in a row.

(* - Note that depending on which version of this album you buy, track 10 will either be "I, Deception" or "The Poison Well")

Next up is the brilliance that is "White Noise/Black Silence". Apart from the really cool song title, this song has an awesome opening riff, which lets you know Dark Tranquillity means business with this one. Its a great song for their last "real" track (Ex Nihilo is an instrumental). The vocals remind me of those on "Hours Passed In Exile" and "Final Resistance" all in one, being low and furious but at a sort of slower pace than "Final Resistance". The synths and other electronics are prominent here, and there is that sick opening riff, adding another dimension of power to this song. Great track all in all.

The closer, "Ex Nihilo" is an odd, if somewhat out of place song. I would have liked it if Dark Tranquillity didn't include this song, as "White Noise/Black Silence" is a much more fitting closer to this CD. Basically to put this song in a nutshell its just a bunch of electronics work with not very catchy or complicated guitar work and drumming. Some may enjoy it, but I feel its missing something. I usually want an instrumental to be soft, soothing, and meaningful, which this is not. But, whatever floats your boat is fine with me.

As with all Dark Tranquillity CD's, this one is crafted with the utmost care and precision, and has flawless execution and production. This CD will always hold a special place in my heart, as this is the CD which introduced me to the band and genre which now defines who I am as a person.



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user ratings (744)
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The Damage has been Done, and the result is staggering....

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Up near the top of the melodeath legends' catalogue....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2007



16318 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hope you enjoy this review as much as I did writing it, this album really is a classic in my eyes.

jrowa001
February 1st 2007



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. theyre def the best at what they do. This album and Character are my fav

trustxdialect
February 1st 2007



1502 Comments


Everyone on this site sure loves them some metal.

Good review, but the short/long paragraph variation is kind of annoying.

Shattered_Future
February 2nd 2007



1540 Comments


Good review. I originally thought that this album was just a lamer version of Character, but listening to it, it's a TON different. There are so many freaking harmonized guitar lines throughout this release, it's unbelievable.

Probably one of my favorite bands of all time. Everything they do is amazing.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
February 2nd 2007



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is just an all out Balls to the wall awesomeness. Its unrefined and raw compared to their later releases, but its great like that.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

celestial
February 2nd 2007



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really good review!Although my fav album is Projector, Damage Done was also my first DT album and the reason i loved this band. This Message Edited On 02.18.08

Wizard
February 2nd 2007



19344 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Have you heard Character before. Hands down their best songs written to date.

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

jimay333
February 2nd 2007



433 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I agree everywhere. This was also my first DT album from the first listen I knew i loved them.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2007



16318 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes I have heard and own Character, and I feel its missing something... its still great, "Lost To Apathy" and "The New Build" are sick songs, but I dunno.... just doesn't live up to this CD quite as well as it should have.

Can't wait for their new CD coming out this year, its gonna be insane.

Det_Nosnip
February 3rd 2007



374 Comments


This album rules. Monochromatic Stains and the Treason Wall are classics.

Altmer
February 4th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent shit

Yazz_Flute
April 1st 2007



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just downloaded this album annd damn, i think i like it more than "The Gallery," which i thought was awesome. This album just isn't as repetive as gallery, it['s a little more interesting.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

RoaRing_Roach
May 16th 2007



25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

White Noise/Black Silence?!
omg!
A M A Z I N G song. I praise the day that they came up with this masterpiece!

great album

thegreatgriffin
July 6th 2007



19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of those bands that simply can't do any wrong

Altmer
July 6th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not their best, but these guys can indeed do no wrong for me. There are some sick songs on here though. Monochromatic Stains is a monster.

Cesar
March 14th 2008



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, but I think I like Fiction a nit more. White Noise is so good it hurts.

McP3000
March 14th 2008



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im the opposite of cesar.

The Gallery > Damage Done > Fiction > Haven > Character > The Mind's I > Projector > Skydancer

Aeksis8745
March 14th 2008



448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really Haven above character? oh well to each his own, this is a very solid album. Single Part of Two would have to be my favorite off of here.

eggsvonsatan
March 14th 2008



1087 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm sure i'll get torn apart here, but i really think that this is DT's worst release.
Character and The Gallery are so much betterThis Message Edited On 03.14.08

AngelPhoenix
March 14th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I think this is very good, but I also think character and fiction are much better. Fiction is actually my fav from them.



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