Review Summary: One of the finest live DVD’s by a metal band you will see
Dark Tranquillity (DT) has been a seminal presence in the world of melodic death metal, being hoisted to the forefront of the genre with its ground breaking 1995 album The Gallery
. The band has rarely faltered ever since in its journey of delivering intelligent and well written metal music. This live album is a fitting representation of a band enjoying a period where its creativity and energy are at an all time high.
DT has always had an incredible intensity about its music and that’s translated with such aplomb here on the stage that at times I felt like I was right there at the venue. The band’s passion is clearly evident through its performance playing every note close to perfection without sounding at all contrived. DT has released one DVD prior to this one to support Damage Done
, however the production on that doesn’t do justice to the band like this one does. It’s always great to see bands perform their material in a manner similar to how they did on their albums; however it’s when the live performance surpasses the studio recordings that my admiration for the band is elevated. That’s the case with a number of songs here including the gorgeous “My Negation.” What makes this night more special is the remarkable fervor shown by the crowd as they sing in unison to a lot of the melodies, even adding a new dimension to the music as odd as that sounds. Listen to opener “The Treason Wall” and “My Negation” if you don’t believe me. The joy emanating from the fans is exceedingly prominent, and it’s reciprocated by the band, especially Mikael as he directly interacts with the audience during the songs and even surfs the crowd.
I personally love the incorporation of keyboards into the music, especially since DT has been so successful in progressing its sound forward as a result. The keyboard’s presence is felt much more on the older songs as the band has slightly altered the arrangements making the songs sound revitalized and modern, especially “Lethe”. There are a few older tracks played which I was pleasantly surprised by. With such a rich back catalogue the setlist is always bound to be strong. There are still numerous songs that I wish would have been included but I can hardly complain, with at least one song from nearly every album being played.
Visually the direction is good, with multiple camera angles showing all the members up close as well as the stage from afar. The camera movement enhances the live feel of the performance and gives a more “human” touch to the video. The lighting adds to the atmosphere, and the yellow colour in particular gives an almost post apocalyptic aura that engulfs the band. No song fits this atmosphere more perfectly than “Inside the Particle Storm” with talks of shimmering napalm clouds and the devastating guitar riffing during the verses. More variation in the lighting definitely would be welcome, like the gorgeous colours during “The Mundane and The Magic,” in order to make the visual aspect more dynamic.
The production is brilliant, and the sound is loud, very loud, thanks mostly to the dual guitar attack. Not that I mind having the raw and rich guitar tones attempting to puncture my ear drums, but I would have liked having the keyboards and bass a bit higher in order to make the overall mix sound more balanced. The musicianship is absolutely stellar, with only Mikael struggling every now and then. It feels as if he has strained his vocals and doesn’t want to growl too aggressively on certain occasions, and this did annoy me at times, however the sheer quality of the overall show allows me to let it slide.
This is an absolute essential for fans of DT and melodic death metal in general, however all metal fans that can tolerate growls will no doubt be blown away by what’s on offer here. I wish I could accurately describe how stunning this DVD is, but it has to be seen and experienced in order to truly appreciate.