Guess that it couldn’t last forever. DARK TRANQUILLITY had a helluva go of it. With two of their best albums (and also best for the genre of Melodic Death Metal) being their previous two, it was only time before these Swedes had a misstep. All things considered, “We Are The Void” could have been a lot worse. It has some good moments, but it just is bogged down by a solid dose of filler for the most part.
Even with the lackluster areas that are included on “We Are The Void”, DARK TRANQUILLITY still are able to rise far above their peers with this record. With Melodic Death Metal becoming so mediocre in the last few years it’s not all that hard to do. Needless to say though, “We Are The Void” has some good moments that rank up with some of the highest DARK TRANQUILLITY releases and some tracks and moments that can’t even compare to the rest.
The odd part about this album is that the first three tracks are killer. This album gets out of the stable with a wicked bang. These tracks show the best of what DARK TRANQUILLITY can be and honestly, these three tracks are probably worth buying the album for. They’re that good. Then of course, for some reason or another, the album sort of just declines from there. There are highlights later on like “I Am The Void” and the epic album closer “Iridium” (which in itself tends to drag on a bit too) but for the most part it feels as though this is just our favorite Swedes going through the motions more or less. The writing is good but not near as great as the opening trio of awesomeness nor is it as great as we all know this band can be. The rest of the album just feels lackluster.
To add onto this rather lackluster approach to the band’s style of Melodic Death, we have a production that is far too mixed for a band with rather high standards in this department. For example, the keys/piano (they seem to use a lot of piano on this one) tend to really be thrown into the forefront as the main source of melody for the record. At times it works (“The Fatalist” for example), but sometimes it felt as though it rode over the hidden melodies that DARK TRANQUILLITY always plant into their guitar work, which thusly brings up the guitars. Although the riffs are mostly there and the solos are of their usual significance, the overall punch for the guitar tone is rather lackluster. The Death Metal riffs rock it out, but the sound pulls them back. Considering how amazing the riffs have sounded with the band previously this is only adding to the rather mixed flavor of the album.
There were of course some improvements made on the album too. Although Stanne’s vocals have always been a highlight (with particular nod to his amazing use of lyrics), the pulled back croon singing tends to make the album a bit tighter. Nothing against his singing voice, its actually quite good, but the preferences lie with his guttural growl and more of that than the better.
“We Are The Void” just comes at a bad time for this band. After releasing two amazing albums, it’s hard to keep up that kind of a track record. This album is still good (particularly how it kicks off to a killer start), but its lackluster overall appeal just kills some of its momentum. It’s a solid release for fans, but not quite what everyone expects from DARK TRANQUILLITY anymore.
Songs to check out: “Shadow In Our Blood”, “Dream Oblivion”, “The Fatalist”.
(Online June 9, 2010)