posted on 8/2002
Dark Tranquillity is back and just in time I might add. With questionable releases coming from a few of the former pillars of the Swedish surge I was beginning to wonder if the mighty Swedish standard was beginning to relax. Luckily we have the raw power of The Forsaken's, Arts of Desolation, the brutalization of The Crown's, Crowned in Terror and now the pure melodic intensity of Dark Tranquillity's, Damage Done.
Dark Tranquillity's 2000 release, Haven proved solid but at times the experimental "eclectronica" sounds seemed to lose my attention rather quickly. I can proudly state such is not the case with Damage Done, once you press play you're in for the whole ride regardless if you were up for it or not, the album is just that damn good. Quickly proving that aggression will lead the way, opening track, Final Resistance begins with an absolute superior bass tone coupled with a meat-riff of crunch that ultimately proceeds to tear into raw speed all the while possessing the patented sound of Gothenburg but at the same time not re-hashing tunes of old. Following track, Hours Passed in Exile works a more glorified riff of emotion, swiftly raising the hair on your arms in the process and truly reaping havoc of bliss. Monochromatic Stains resembles much of the same with a timed-chunk-signature that grooves through speed and melody. The keyboard driven, Single Part of Two gallops along at a steadfast pase all the while intensifying Dark Tranquillity's ingenuity. Next, The Treason Wall only amplifies straightforward metal in it's truest of form, delivering an excellent performance on Mikael Stanne's behalf, working his vocals with a harnessed craze ever so deliberate. Former C. for Cortex bursts into a rather Swe-death delivery with honors falling on Martin Brandstrom emotionally driven mid-song elegant use of the keyboard, screaming of substance amongst the entire heavy. Title track, Damaged Done and follower Cathode Ray Sunshine only strengthen Dark Tranquillity's desire to shred the anger and push the envelope with pain ruling the day. The Enemy is a perfect example of Dark Tranquillity's superior writing skills with power and grace seamlessly coming together as one. White Noise/Black Silence embodies all the elements of the perfect live tune, with solid grooves and surreptitiousness hooks it's guaranteed to move a crowd. Ending the whole affair is Ex Nihilo, combining powerfully arranged keyboard with superior riffage the song is more of an outro of sorts leaving you wanting more yet at the same time feeling completely satisfied with Dark Tranquility's offering.
Bottom Line: Dark Tranquillity have created an excellent ensemble of melodic death metal. The production credits once again come by way of Fredrik Nordstrom and the recording is perfect, every instrument and voice is crystal clear and flawlessly separated. If I was asked to point out one weakness on this album I really don't think I could. Dark Tranquillity having easily proven they have the chops and staying power to remain a powerful presence in the world of Millennium Metal. So should you buy this album, it's a no brainer don't you think?
Photo by Volker Beushausen
We Are The Void
Exposures - In Retrospect and Denial
Live Damage (DVD)