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Review: Dark Tranquillity - Character
Dark Tranquillity

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 48:17
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: January 7, 2005
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating

Rated 3.92/5 (78.4%) (25 Votes)

At long last "Character" is finally upon us. Perhaps the most asked question concerning this new album amongst fans of this legendary sextet is whether or not it tops 2002's "Damage Done." Well let's get one thing straight; to top "Damage Done" would be asking too much. I guess it just cannot happen with a band that has already given us about half a dozen masterpieces. I mean really…

Well "Damage Done" aside, "Character" definitely delivers. Expectations were high with this one and these Gothenburgers once again prove why they are so esteemed in the world of metal. "Character" starts off strong with "The New Build" – with typical DT shredding, Stanne's rasps and Jivarp's steady drum work. We get a couple of similar songs following it, and then there is "The Endless Feed" – the most melodic song on the disc, which is also the most creative, with some Middle Eastern type melodies and its unpredictability. The next feasting is the advance single that was released late in 2004 – "Lost To Apathy", and it should be no surprise that it is the best song on the album. It was a good decision to use this track as an early preview to the album as it is the only one which flows in the tradition of, and perhaps even tops something off of "Damage Done" and made it look like the whole album could very well be that good. That was somewhat deceiving.

I would compare "Character" to perhaps "The Minds I" with a stronger keyboard/electronic influence. Dark Tranquillity may very well garner a larger following with this album as most of the songs are more straight-up and basic in their approach. They don't waste time getting to their choruses, guitars are slightly more aggressive and I wouldn't say "Character" requires multiple sessions to fully 'get' it. It does the job on initial listen and that is perhaps what Dark Tranquillity were trying to do in the first place. It is definitely the most accessible DT release to date. Most of these songs also do not feature the elaborate and majestic Dark Tranquillity musical/instrumental interludes which were one of the defining characteristics of this band. The raging "Lost To Apathy" features a good break from pace in the middle though as does "Am I One". "My Negation" too stands out (although it could have been better) and closes the album off with a masterful piano piece. Definitely one of the highlights of the album.

"Character" features more stripped down and simplified music when compared to their previous outings. But it does not alienate older fans, nor show any hints of a 'sell-out' record. They just wrote simpler and more grabby songs this time around…Kind of like the difference between Hypocrisy's "Osculum Obscenum" and "The Arrival"; both are good metal albums, but in totally different leagues.

Dark Tranquillity are a huge band right now, and they are likely to get bigger with this one. With "Character" Dark Tranquillity soldiers on and takes the boys to school one more time and keeps the Gothenburg flag waving. 2005 just got a good start! Recommended indeed!

Other related information on the site
Review: Damage Done (reviewed by Brad Allis)
Review: Damage Done (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Exposures: In Retrospect And Denial (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Fiction (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Haven (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Haven (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Lost to Apathy (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Projector (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Skydancer (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: The Gallery (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: The Gallery (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Interview with guitarist Niklas Sundin on October 20, 2002 (Interviewed by Christian Renner)
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