Dark Tranquillity
Character


5.0
classic

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
March 18th, 2007 | 302 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark Tranquillity combine brutal death metal with melodic guitar solos and atmospheric keyboards, blending into a unique brand of metal. The founders of the Gothenburg scene have expanded their wings with every release and culminated on this honest-to-god

We live in a world of clones. Take fastfood restaurants for example. Every US mall I've been to has a motley assortment of fastfood places, all insanely similar to each other, all built from the same mould, copying off each other and trying to walk away without looking like a shifty handbag thief. But for these clones to exist, you must have an ancestral copy. One that defines the whole segment, the whole entity, in this case a musical genre. And Dark Tranquillity is just such one band.

Their 2005 offering Character is exactly the release you would want from such a veteran band. Together with countrymen In Flames and At The Gates, they took the death metal school, injected some Iron Maiden influences, and in DT's case, keyboards, provided a more melodic setting for the brutal death metal sound, and on each release they took this genre to the next step. Now they have come to their masterpiece, Character, and it is almost impossible to ask where a band goes from such a release. This release is melodeath perfection.

The guitars are in top-notch form. The intro to Dry Run for example contains some soloing and shredding to prove these guys can go with the best of them. The riffs are brutal, in your face, upbeat, designed to make the wall of noise from which the melodic keyboards and guitar solos descend to shape and colour the brick wall the riffs forge. The bass and drums solidly underline and cement the bricks of riffs together, while at the end Mikael Stanne's harsh grunt vocals come blasting through it all again just to make a different wall, with different colours, but no less impressive, and no less monstrous. It is a New Build so to speak, for the Treason Wall this band has created over the years.

My personal favourite song is the sledgehammer track Lost To Apathy. It is just one of those culminating songs, the wall of music as I described. It has those fierce, brutal, unrelenting vocals, beautiful melodic solo parts and keyboard harmonies, blast beats and double bass drumming that would make Lombardo himself look up in awe (and it's not just this track: The New Build features some drum moments that wipe the floor with any aspiring competition), and riffs the old masters could never come up with. Heavy, aggressive, melodic yet brutal: this song captures a fine band at the peak of their musicianship and quality.

Through Smudged Lenses has an intro riff that makes me want to bow down and fall on my knees before these Swedish metal gods. Its brutality just tears anything to shreds in its way, and before anyone cares to shout out that it's just mindless bashing of instruments, the song finally ends up in a bit of a slower tempo, but no less melodic. However, that intro riff is simply what got me into this band. Dark Tranquillity are indeed a powerful and unique entity in a world of clones.

But what sets these men even further apart from the other longtime veterans of the genre, In Flames, is their longtime dedication to their music and the fact that their discography has been consistently high quality throughout. Instead of hitting home on their first attempt, like In Flames did with "The Jester Race", the band has slowly built up their career. Every release was an experiment, every new album featured new grounds the band had never trodden before. They got better with each release, rather than worse, and that is why this band will always be the best band to represent the Gothenburg sound. They remained true to their music, true to their fans, and that is what the profession is all about.

What remains to say is that this is a defining album and a pillar of the Gothenburg sound and one of the best bands floating around in the genre. This band has shaped the music, molded it, and put their own big signature stamp on it, and at the end of the day Dark Tranquillity have released an album of such immense proportions that it becomes hard to determine how in the hell they are going to beat this record. It is one beast of a disc, recommended for any metal fan that prefers the dark side of the genre a little more. A must have.



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user ratings (995)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Darkvoid67 (4.5)
With "Character", Dark Tranquillity continue their road to greatness by creating an album that blows...

myhigherpie (5)
a modern classic in melodic death metal....

Steven McMahan (3.5)
Great, overrated and nowhere near their best album....

TheSunSleeps348 (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
jrowa001
March 18th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best DT album. i think i could say its near flawless. good review

Wizard
March 18th 2007


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not a bad review, just a few grammatical errors. Damn near perfect album and DT's best!

Digging: Horseback and Locrian - New Dominions

Confessed2005
March 19th 2007


3314 Comments


DT are a great melodic death band. Stanne is one of the best vocalists in the scene IMO.

Foodforthegods
March 19th 2007


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is fantastic. I'm sure that it would be a classic in a couple of years.

TheHamburgerman
March 19th 2007


1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A 5 is somewhat too high me thinks. It's not their best album.

Fiction >>>>>>>>>> Character

Altmer
March 19th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haven't heard Fiction. But I love this one.

Shattered_Future
March 19th 2007


1541 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fiction is most definately NOT better than Character. Fiction is merely Character Pt. 2 in my book. And therefore, Character is much, MUCH better, if only for the fact that the ideas haven't been done before.

Pity my review doesn't show up anymore (I don't know what the hell happened), but your review basically states what mine did. This is Dark Tranquillity's best release, followed closely only by The Gallery, and they have set the standard for Gothenburg for years to come. The best album the scene has to offer.

TheHamburgerman
March 19th 2007


1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fiction doesn't do anything new (besides the fact that the clean vocals are somewhat brought back), but the guitar riffs are just way better. Keyboards are not as laid back as on Character, and the lay-outs of the songs are smoother.



...In Flames > Dark Tranquillity...

King3567
March 19th 2007


4 Comments


Fiction is not better than character imo. The reason? None of the songs really stand out as much as some do on character. The song writing is very close on both, which means that character started what could be the next trend of DT. Fiction is a good release, just not as mind blowing or revolutionary as character.

Yazz_Flute
April 15th 2007


18884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just got this a few minutes ago, and seems awesome! It's my third DT album.

Fiction comes out in two days in the U.S, and i plan on getting it just then :D Can't waitThis Message Edited On 04.15.07

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

Yazz_Flute
April 15th 2007


18884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened through the whole album and i'm amazed. I didn't pay too much attention after "dry run" but still, every song was amazing. Lost to Apathy is my favorite, followed very closely by the new build, then the endless feed.

LifeInABox
June 13th 2007


3709 Comments


They definatly don't combine anything Brutal with anything, that's for sure.

Mikesn
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aren't we lucky then.

Altmer
June 14th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

it's not brutal in the sense of BR00TAL DETH METUHL

more in the sense that it's kick-your-ass heavy

Dethtrasher
November 20th 2007


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review here. I recently ''borrowed'' this album from a friend and I'm loving it. It kept me going while I was working. And agree with you when you mentioned this in the review:

This release is melodeath perfection.

:thumb:This Message Edited On 11.20.07

Yazz_Flute
February 18th 2008


18884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I totally forgot how awesome this was.

BallsToTheWall
February 18th 2008


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Better than Fiction but just barely. 2nd favorite behind Gallery.

JizzInMyPants
February 17th 2009


2399 Comments


sdtrghsdrgThis Message Edited On 02.17.09

JizzInMyPants
February 17th 2009


2399 Comments


oh snap first comment in a YEAR! well almost

Am I 1? is a beautiful songThis Message Edited On 02.17.09

cjgone
March 2nd 2009


767 Comments


Lost to Apathy is the best -- so melodic and awesome, can't really describe it as "Br@@@tl death metal".



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