Review Summary: A decent album which plants the seeds for Fiction and Character
Dark Tranquillity is certainly a force in the Gothenburg scene. They were around when it began and out shone everyone with The Gallery. They were around in 2005 when their contemporaries (In Flames, Soilwork this means you) were recording…well, the same lame album they recorded ten years earlier, and they kicked everyone's ass again with Character. Undoubtedly, they'll be around when the scene fizzles out, and will in all likelihood be going just as strong. After listening to Fiction (which is thus far one of my favourite metal albums of 2007) and the aforementioned Character and The Gallery some time ago, my expectations for some of Dark Tranquillity's other works were fairly high. But after listening to the band's fourth full length release, Projector, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.
Don't get me wrong though. This is definitely a good album, it's just missing something. Projector marks a bit of a change in Dark Tranquillity's direction, though it isn't exactly a major departure from the band's older songs. No longer aiming for the aggressive riff-fest which acts such as Arsis or The Absence draw inspiration from today, Dark Tranquillity instead opts for a deeper, more complete offering. Essentially a precursor to the sound heard on Character and Fiction, the album introduces a variety of new elements into Dark Tranquillity's sound, most notably keyboard effects, clean singing, and some piano. Basically, this is a mellower offering on Dark Tranquillity's part, as songs like Auctioned, Day to End and On Your Time can attest to. While some (read: death metal elitists) may cry sell-out, Projector effectively combines the melodic nature of their Gothenburg metal with a more sombre atmospheres.
What the Projector seems to be lacking, is the fine-tuning which made Fiction and Character so enjoyable. The song writing as a whole is fairly decent, but when listening to Projector it feels as though the band was either not always inspired by the music they created or just couldn't express themselves in the early stages of this sound as well as they could have. Songs like ThereIn and To a Bitter Heart are both dull and tasteless on all fronts and seem to have a problem conveying the downbeat sound which is thematic throughout Projector. Another aspect which hurts the album is the clean vocals of Mikael Stanne. Now, Stanne isn't necessarily a poor vocalist like Anders Friden or Bjorn Stride, as his voice doesn't embody the sound of dying animals, but his singing style is a little underwhelming. Stanne has a very deep, Matt Barlow reminiscent singing style. Unfortunately, like Barlow, his singing is only really all that interesting when you're in some sort of sullen mood. Otherwise they sound quite irritating and, well, uninteresting.
Even with its flaws, however, Projector is still a very worthwhile album. Showing a more expressive, experimental side of Dark Tranquillity, the record isn't quite as straight forward as some of the band's more recent efforts and as such might be a little more difficult to get into. Displaying some of the earliest stages of Dark Tranquillity's interesting keyboard oriented formula; Projector lags a little in some areas but is generally a fun album to listen to. Yeah, it isn't really the best album to look into if you're new to either Dark Tranquillity or melodic death metal, but definitely worth checking out if you've got the time. And for what it's worth, Projector is definitely better than anything In Flames, Soilwork, or Hypocrisy have done lately.
The Sun Fires Blanks
On Your Time
Great review. This album is really good, I'm going to give this another spin tonight to refresh my memory of it. One of DT's most underrated albums, it is a very strong album which shows that DT is able and willing to do something different.
This is one of my favorite albums by them. I think the reason that some think they sound uninspired is because this was such a drastic change compared to the releases before that. So, I think that it wasn't that they were uninspired, it was more that they were treading new ground and unsure of themselves... something they fixed in later albums... and I really like his clean vocals and wish they were used more often.
It's an okay album and I like the atmospheres and the experiments but it's not what I want to hear from these guys. Props for the willingness to try something different though. It's indeed a whole lot better than most contemporaries.
This album would most closely be represented by the song "Misery's Crown" off of their "Fiction" album. That would be musically, as well as with Michael's use of clean and growled vocals. There are no high speed songs on that album, they're all about the speed of "Misery's Crown" or slower with maybe a little more speed in a few songs... so basically if you liked that song, you'd probably like "Projector".This Message Edited On 11.09.07
There are no high speed songs on that album, they're all about the speed of "Misery's Crown" or slower with maybe a little more speed in a few songs... so basically if you liked that song, you'd probably like "Projector".
Yeah, you can see a bit of Misery's Crown here. I guess the difference between that and some of the songs here is the experience they had wrting in this style, like you mentioned earlier.
With metal music you either like vocals or not.. Yes some, you might get into, but if you don't like it why spend all that time trying to like it while there are probably 20 cd's you could listen you do like.
Review was informative.. but lacked to answer my question... that does not make it a bad review