Most people know what Gothenburg metal is. Therefore, most people know who Dark Tranquillity is. One of the first (and still one of the best) bands to come out of Gothenburg, Sweden, and pioneer the Gothenburg sound, Dark Tranquillity is (or is it are?) a force to be reckoned with. All of the elements of their sound are done to absolute perfection, creating quite possibly one of the best bands of modern metal today.
Dark Tranquillity - Projector
August 10, 1999, on Century Media records
Mikael Stanne - Vocals
Niklas Sundin - Guitars
Michael Nicklasson - Guitars
Martin Brandstrom - Keyboards
Martin Henriksson - Bass
Anders Jivarp - Drums
Johanna Andersson - Guest Female Vocals (this album only)
Yes, Dark Tranquillity has a great singer, great band, great music, yada yada yada. Most of you know that already if you read my Character review (if not, read that first for a bio of sorts). With Projector, the band actually went in quite a different direction than the path down where they were headed. Yes, the album still has the catchy melodic guitar hooks, harsh vocals, and whatnot that are standards of melodic death metal, but they are delivered in a MUCH more atmospheric value.
Projector was an experimental album of sorts for DT. It sounds nothing like they"ve ever done before (well, maybe except for Haven, but even that is different), and it"s quite an original album. No other band that I know of has attempted something like this.
In many of the songs, the distortion is turned off completely, an almost unseen trait in melodic death metal. The focus of the whole album is atmosphere, as evidenced by the heavy use of keys and the overall sublety of the album. Other bands who may have attempted this would have fallen flat on their faces. Not Dark Tranquillity. They make it work, and make a terrific album out of it as well.
One of the main draws of the album, though, is Stanne. Sure, he"s got his trademark growl: better than his earlier album work (I think), but still not up to the phenomonal level he shows on Character. No, on this album, one of the clinching factors for listening is his actual SINGING. Not many vocalists can do what he does (scream, growl, and sing), but he is absolutely stunning. His singing voice is deep, melancholic, and haunting; it will make you just sit and listen in wonder. It really grabs you in, and doesn"t let go. Emotional? Yes. Powerful? Yes. Excellent? Absolutely.
Couple his voice with some truly depressing (yet still uplifting) music, and you get an experiment never attempted before. Experiments can fail; they can also work. This falls into the latter category by at least 110%. While the album does need a little bit of grow time, once it does, you will be shocked. This is one of Dark Tranquillity"s finest, and truly worthy of anyone to own.
Another interesting fact: even though the album only has 10 tracks, most of them are 4+ minutes, with about half of them almost 6 minutes long and beyond.
Some recommended tracks: you should really buy the album (or get it through alternative means). There aren"t many standout tracks, simply because they"re all so good.
But, if you must:
- When it opens, many of you will be taken aback for a while. The grand tradition of Dark Tranquillity opening with a very heavy number is gone, replaced by a lone piano. However, the distortion switches back on, and you hear the full extent of Stanne"s vocals in this song. Standard screaming verse, but the chorus is brilliant; some of the best vocals on the album.
- Features the female vocalist, and has the lightest and heaviest moments on the album. The chorus is ungodly heavy, but the rest of the song is very quiet and depressing. It instills sadness in the listener, yet makes you keep listening. A beautiful song.
- No screams or growls in this one. Stanne completely sings this one, and does a superb job with it. A very haunting track, and one of the longest on the album.
The Sun Fired Blanks
- Remains heavy throughout, and will please fans of the extra heavy Dark Tranquillity. Has your MDM standard altpicked intro riff.
Day To End
- This IS a Dark Tranquillity album, right? Judging solely from this song, you wouldn"t think so. It"s almost a techno song for the first half, and a ballad for the second. Another very sad song.
Experiments work, as evidenced by this album. Buy it; all I have to say.
Final Rating: 9.5/10
Some extra notes: on the DVD Live Damage, Stanne sings all of UnDo Control himself, to great effect. That"s also worth checking out. The song was also released with Exposures: In Retrospect And Denial.