Dark Tranquillity


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Always inspired, Dark Tranquility has reached yet another career milestone for the realm of melodic Swedish death metal. Gone are the rapid-paced melodies and controversial clean vocals of Michael Stanne -- opting a return to his trademark snarling vocals, albeit noticeably toned down -- enduring are the electronic elements and mid-tempo catchy song structures. In fact, all of Haven has a more polished subdued nature to it, the type that requires multiple listens to appreciate. Musically similar to Projector, the album is as ambiguous as the cover suggests. Rich electronic keyboard textures linger beneath each song, occasionally rising to crescendo and tastefully complimenting the melodic twin leads. In a curious way, the album reminds one of Samael's past few endeavors (minus the drum machine and over the top synths), at least in compositional approach. Haven is hugely original, epic, and best listened to in one musically famished sitting. Stanne's blistering Chris Barnes approach on "Fabric," the dynamically catchy opener "The Wonders at Your Feet," and the thick mid-paced rapture of "Feast of Burden" are just three of the album's memorable moments. Finally, Dark Tranquility has achieved just that -- tranquil balance, both in songwriting and musical approach, and it is all combined with a melancholic heaviness bands like In Flames or Tiamat have long forgotten. Amazing, all should hear this subtle masterpiece.

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