We Are the Void: A Review of Dark Tranquillity’s Newest Album

It has been three years since the release of their last album (2007’sFiction) and Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity have once again proven that the crown still fits and the throne is theirs to rest upon.  Taking a step further upon the gothic path that Fiction laid the foundation for, Dark Tranquillity’s newest album We Are the Voidinnovates upon their trademark sound while retaining their melodic death metal roots.  Because of their ability to evolve while simultaneously never losing sight of their classic resonance, Dark Tranquillity are consequentially the once and future kings of melodic death metal.

Dark Tranquillity’s 2010 album We Are the Void continues to capitalize upon the electronic-heavy sound that was introduced by 2000’s Haven.  However, Dark Tranquillity has significantly evolved since the days ofHaven by introducing a brutally aggressive sound with 2005’s Character as well as a darker, gothic sound with 2007’s Fiction.  What makes Dark Tranquillity a unique band is that every new album that they release is legitimately as good as, if not better than their last album.  We Are the Void is no exception.  Their latest offering is somewhat of a blend of Character and Fiction.  Brutal, aggressive songs including “Dream Oblivion” and “I Am the Void” bleed with Character while tracks such as “The Fatalist” and “Surface the Infinite” are characterized by the darker, electronic-heavy sound of Fiction.  Additionally, Dark Tranquillity has written several tracks on We Are the Void that lead the band down a road which we have never before seen them travel.

Songs such as “At the Point of Ignition” and “Her Silent Language” introduce Dark Tranquillity’s most fluid efforts to date.  The latter two tracks lean towards the aggressiveness of Character; however, their choruses are crisp and laden with a heavy emphasis on Martin Brandstrom’s keyboards.  In fact, We Are the Voidmarks Dark Tranquillity’s heaviest reliance on keyboards to date.  Although the album tends to overload its electronic effects on occasion, allowing Martin Brandstrom to take the spotlight is a refreshing creative decision amongst the world of melodic death metal.  Far too many bands reel in their electronic artist for bits and pieces of a few songs and then cast them back out to sea all too soon.  Dark Tranquillity acknowledges the truth that Martin Brandstrom is just as much of a musician as the rest of them and his talent is clearly set in stone on We Are the Void.  Brandstrom’s most beautiful work on We Are the Void arrives in “Surface the Infinite,” a tragic song about the fading ability to speak up about our internal pains.

Foreshadowing of Dark Tranquillity’s future direction is apparent in the album opener (and the album’s first single) “Shadow In Our Blood,” as well as “Dream Oblivion,” and (along with “The Grandest Accusation) what is probably the finest song on the album, “Arkhangelsk.”  While certainly not as aggressive as the songs onCharacter, “Arkhangelsk” and “Dream Oblivion” are undoubtedly the heaviest tracks on We Are the Void.  It may take time for “Arkhangelsk” to warm up to DT fans while “Dream Oblivion” is an instant classic upon a first listen.  “Shadow In Our Blood” is the most pleasant surprise on We Are the Void, opening with a thick keyboard number and eventually leading into an unpredictably thrashing chorus.  I would love to see Dark Tranquillity pull more songs like “Shadow In Our Blood” out of their hat.

I say this with no exaggeration whatsoever: We Are the Void is yet another masterpiece in Dark Tranquillity’s ever-growing mountain of work.  While not as epic as Character and Fiction, We Are the Void successfully lights a torch upon the increasingly gothic path that their sound is treading upon.  Additionally, with lyrics such as “We carry our fears inside/A space to hold the darkness/We stretch our skin around/To cover the abyss”,We Are the Void is a timely album with a focus on our increasingly introverted society.  Therefore, be of our time and pick up your copy immediately.  Join the Void Army.

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