Dark Tranquility - Fiction

With In Flames releasing one of their weaker records recently and many other Gothenburg stalwarts generally losing their direction a bit, I was hoping that the new Dark Tranquility album 'Fiction' would give the genre a good kick up the arse for me. Whilst it's certainly not a bad album, not on the same level as some recent releases, this new album does lack some of the inventiveness and fun of the earlier records.

Frankly, these songs might work well in the live context where the real aim is to work the crowd up, but for the discerning listener at home some of these tracks lack the complexity needed to really entertain the more dedicated genre fan. Frankly, whilst tracks such as 'Terminus' hit the spot, they are few and far between. At times in fact, it almost resembles pop bands who aim for the singles market; three or four strong tracks combined with a nice big slice of filler. Again, whilst the album certainly isn't terribly, it is only barely forgivable that a band of Dark Tranqulity's calibre slip into such laziness.

Whilst strictly speaking this album is good; well produced, reasonably well written, it is missing the one vital thing that Gothenburg metal has to have in abundance: hooks. Quite frankly this album doesn't come close to having the catchyness found in some older songs such as 'Format C For Cortex'. Whilst tracks like 'Terminus' approach something like this, they stall fall short of the rather high benchmark Dark Tranquility have set for themselves on previous records.

Overall, this album does signify not necessarily a downturn in Dark Tranquility's writing, but something a bit more offensive. Frankly, large parts of this album feel a bit uninspired and as if the band were simply running on autopilot to make songs that sound vaguely like themselves. Whilst this record has its moments, they are few and rather far between, and thus it can't score the high mark that Dark Tranquility used to and still should deserve.