Mikael Stanne - Vocals
Niklas Sundin - Guitar
Martin Henriksson - Guitar
Anders Jivarp - Drums
Michael Nicklasson - Bass
Martin Brändström - Electronics
'To show character' a rather old-fashioned expression, but it fits perfectly for one of the most modern metal bands of our times. During DARK TRANQUILLITY´s career that spans 16 years and 7 studio albums they did this all the time: They never compromised on any artistic aspects, nor ever fell for any fashionable musical trend and became one of the most influential bands in metal by doing so. Their history begins in 1989, albeit for the first few years under a different name before claiming the DARK TRANQUILLITY moniker. It took a few years of hard work in the underground before the debut album 'Skydancer' came out in 1993 an instant classic and one of the foundations of the so-called Gothenburg school of melodic death metal. At the time Anders Fridén was still behind the mic, who left the band shortly afterwards and proceeded to become famous as the frontman of In Flames. In the years to come In Flames would stand for the status quo of the Gothenburg sound, while DARK TRANQUILLITY immediately started to tear apart the established song structures and build their identity as uncompromising innovators. The first result came in the form of 'The Gallery' and set the basic formula for all DARK TRANQUILLITY albums to come. Former rhythm guitarist Mikael Stanne, who made his first appearance behind the microphone on the 'Of Chaos And Eternal Night' MCD, and it is his charismatic voice, both aggressive and melodic, combined with Niklas Sundin's complex riffs that make the base ingredients for the band's unique sound. The other element of DARK TRANQUILLITY´s modern sound first appeared on the 1996 mini album 'Enter Suicidal Angels', where they started to experiment with electronic sounds. It took another album, the rather progressive 'The Mind's I', a longish creative break and the breakthrough with the dark and melancholic 'Projector' in 1999, before these early experiments would yield truly dramatic results. Shortly after Projector's release they added Martin Brändström as a permanent keyboard player to their line-up, thus laying the foundation for 2000's 'Haven', a masterpiece in the combination of death metal and modern elements. With its cold, atmospheric melodies and gripping, highly energetic guitar work, 'Haven' took death metal straight into the 21st century. Worldwide extended tours raised DARK TRANQUILLITY´s profile as an exceptional live band, and it is no wonder that the following album, the precise and aggressive 'Damage Done' entered both the Swedish and German official album charts on its release. A feat, no doubt, that the new offering 'Character' is most likely to repeat. Created under the auspice of famous producer Fredrik Nordström in his legendary Studio Fredman, The Room and Rogue Music it showcases DARK TRANQUILLITY's enormous potential starting with the aptly-titled opener 'The New Build' all the way through to the sombre final that is 'My Negation'. It is obvious that these guys never plan to rest on their laurels; indeed, 'Character' seems even wilder and more determined than its by-no-means-subdued predecessor. Grandiose melody lines insert themselves into the maelstrom of riffs in the most fascinating, nonchalant way, the interaction between guitars and keyboards has a sublime quality, and while the songs are definitely metal at heart, their electronic side is integrated seamlessly. What shows that this band has true style, is that they would never relegate the keyboards to a role of mere atmospheric ornamentation, as is the norm for the majority of other metal acts. Listening to the album song by song one cannot help but admire the respect DARK TRANQUILLITY show for the holy grail of all musicians: The Good Song. It seems to be a miracle that they were able to choose one track to go on the advance single 'Lost To Apathy', the first of its kind in DARK TRANQUILLITY's history. I have hardly ever listened to an album that is both so ripe with extraordinary compositions and at the same time so diverse. One thing is certain: 'Character' has exactly that character. It's like an interesting person, someone you'd like to have around. Many albums are either accessible, full of catchy songs, but potentially boring after a while, or demanding, full of complexity that takes a time to comprehend, but tiresome as well. 'Character' incorporates the best of both worlds, it is immediately likeable, but doesn't disappoint you once you go into a deeper relationship.
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