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Dark Tranquillity | Haven | review | metal | Lollipop

Dark Tranquillity

Haven (Century Media)
by Scott Hefflon

I still listen to Dark Tranquillity's last release, Projector, at least a few times a week. The band was evidently exploring their mellower, Gothier side, and I ate it up, making it a reference point on how to do it right, and now it's an intimate part of my life. Haven is a kind of return to roots, being harder, more metal, and sounding rather In Flames in the process. And I mean that in a good way. There are still plenty of segues and passages like Projector, but they aren't as dreamy and moody, often taking a fluid piano melody and building guitar harmonies and pounding drums beneath to push it along.

The harsh vocals tie the whole together, even the artsy stuff, so there's no "pretentous Goth voice" anywhere to be found here (oops, except a smattering in "Emptier Still"). While I like the harsh growl and kinda chuckled every time I heard the croon last time, I kinda miss the counterpoint. But musically, Dark Tranquillity is as diverse as ever, and perhaps moreso. It gets kinda hard to tell when a band blows you away and you have to ask yourself, "Is my brain boggled a significant percentage more or less than it was last time?" You realize you're being a moron, slap yourself around a bit, then stop trying to dissect it and just revel in the art of beautiful, powerful, thoughtful metal, the kind of music that can make you snarl like a beast, send your spirits soaring with majestic melodies, and nearly break your heart with touching piano phrases.
(1453-A 14th St. #324 Santa Monica, CA 90404)


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