Review: Venturing into the dubious realms of emotional rock/metal, Dark Tranquility blend the epic romanticism of an Iron Maiden with the energetic lust for adventure of hard rock and the racing synchronous tremelo speeds of black metal like Dissection. Sometimes confusing is this mix of styles which breeds palm-muting strumming riding a stadium rock extravaganza of sentimental riffing in a ballad construction, as if later Sentenced got on stage with Def Leppard and Dismember for a jam.
Musically this effort falls into the same category as Dissection and "Slaughter of the Soul" from At the Gates; it is melodic heavy metal at high speed using death metal technique but not compositional ideas. Roughly from the Göthenberg school of metal, this release sustains high speeds and generates myriad simple riffs working over simple melodies in the primitive voices generated. Where At the Gates worked on single riffs and divisions of those, however, Dark Tranquility work more within the riff salad paradigm, piling fundamentally different entities within the same rhythmic paradigm.
1. Zodijackyl light (3:59)
2. Razorfever (3:16)
3. Shadowlit facade (3:25)
4. Archetype (4:29)
This produces often disconnective music with room to expand within the bounds of otherwise stable mainstream songwriting. Percussion functions in a jazz-fusion method of keeping a rolling frame of rhythmic reference hanging around whatever figures might appear, abandoning more linear metal styles for more inclusive rock ones. Bass follows guitar instead of drums, and shadows what are at heart musical NWOBHM riffs with the heavy strumming or fast runs that characterize their death/black metal transition.
Of the four songs on this EP, three are excellent examples of the style described herein, and one is a repetitive techno track designed to instigate rather than evoke aggression. While this album is anti-innovative in its embrace of previous metal genres, and its heavy sentiment/absolutism makes it sometimes a difficult listen for experienced Hessians, its mastery of this hybrid form continues the emotive promise of dramatism in metal.