Whenever the words Melodic Death Metal are uttered, many usually think of Sweden and its thriving scene. Bands such as IN FLAMES and AT THE GATES are just a few of the many hailing from this Heavy Metal breeding ground. While the acknowledged bands have become household names in the Metal community, another band that has gained equally high acclaim from critics and fans alike over the years is DARK TRANQUILLITY. With the release of their debut album “Skydancer” in 1993, DARK TRANQUILLITY let it be known to all that they were not a mere passing trend. The release of “The Gallery” in 1995 was enough to secure these Swedes a permanent spot in Metal history, as even to this day many herald this release as a Melodic Death Metal masterpiece. As subsequent releases garnered the band similar praise, 1999's “Projector” saw the band take its greatest progressive step, a step that would split its fans between those who praised the album and those who denounced it. When “Haven” was released in 2000, the band managed to return to a sound more reminiscent of their older material; one that they hoped would tie up the loose ends left by “Projector”. Nearly a decade since their debut, DARK TRANQUILLITY have not let up in the least, a fact so vividly demonstrated by their brand new collection of madness entitled “Damage Done”.
As the opening riff invades your once tranquil thoughts, one cannot help but be taken back to the furious nature in which "Punish My Heaven" kicked off “The Gallery”, as "Final Resistance" unleashes a similar onslaught of brutal yet melodic leads, backed by Mikael Stanne's passionate growls. An extremely worthy opener. The following "Hours Passed In Exile" showcases the manner in which DARK TRANQUILLITY effortlessly weave emotionally driven passages and unquestionable heaviness, without sacrificing any of their original power. Though many denounce the use of keyboards in Metal, DARK TRANQUILLITY manage to successfully, as well as tastefully, incorporate such effects in a way that perfectly compliments the music. This is most apparent on such tracks as the aforementioned "Hours Passed In Exile", "Single Part Of Two", "Format C: For Cortex" and the brilliantly composed "The Enemy".
While many songs range in heaviness and speed, look no further than "Damage Done" and "The Treason Wall" for the raw power that we have all come to expect. The album closes with the instrumental "Ex Nihilo", a sobering piece of music which once again reminds us of why DARK TRANQUILLITY are still regarded as one of the leaders of the Gothenburg scene. While some may capture the attention of the Metal community, only to then fade from memory, others continue to persevere without looking back.
DARK TRANQUILLITY are one of those bands and “Damage Done” is a testament to that. (Online February 25, 2004)