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Dark Tranquillity | Damage Done | review | metal | Lollipop

Dark Tranquillity

Damage Done (Century Media)
by Martin Popoff

First thing one notices about this elegant, thoughtful, and heavy record is that it doesn't bow to the obviously cohesive, and in doing so, doesn't sound like the fat butter-churn of In Flames or the always speedy bee-lines of The Crown. Creatively, it feels a cut above its state-of-the-art Swede thrash counterparts, because indeed, twists and turns occur everywhere. As soon as you think you've found a circular churning guitar groove, everything stops for Stanne's re-aggressive vocals and Martin Brandstrom's myriad tinkling sparkling keyboards, a breadbasket of effects which pretty much ascribes to the band "a sound," or at least a recurring trademark blueprint. So even if Damage Done is the heavier, more guitary and growly back-to-the-roots album folks are (shotgun, brushstroke) calling it, there are still a lot of keyboards - both in backwash and piercing, pulsing mode. But wisely, the band has dovetailed these into the epic, progressive, always fresh mash of the band's elder Soilwork vibe. And every track and a half or so, you're headbanged through the wall, Dark Tranquillity finding Maiden moments more intense than any from the leg-warmered ones themselves, essentially the same tingle burned by In Flames. Only here there are more of them. In this lusty metal direction, highlights would graciously and regally include "Single Part of Two," "Cathode Ray Sunshine," "Hours Passed in Exile," and "Final Resistance," all sobbing sorrowfully with Northern mountain man guitars buttressed by reverberating hi-fidelity drums. A classic example of why the tightly-packed Swedish thrash scene deserves to be the next nü metal.
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)


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