Dark Tranquillity

The Mind's I

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By their third long-player (and second since the traumatizing defection of original singer Anders Fridén), The Mind's I, Dark Tranquility were making very positive strides, gaining in confidence, but still playing serious catch-up to In Flames and At the Gates in the battle of the Gothenburg extreme metal bands. Yes, their dated and overly laborious early-'90s Swedish death metal habits had by now largely and wisely been replaced by more economical (read: shorter) songwriting, their melodies were ever more evident within the ruling metallic mayhem, and former guitarist Mikael Stanne had fully come into his own as a lead vocalist, but that didn't mean that speedy new offerings like "Scythe, Rage and Roses" and "Dissolution Factor Red" were inspired enough to fully stand out from the pack. And as proven by the surprising female lead vocal heard in "Insanity's Crescendo," the part-acoustic, part-industrial title track, and the undoubtedly interesting but very much schizophrenic "Dreamlore Degenerate" and "Hedon," DT were still experimenting with all manner of ulterior motives in search a distinctive voice with which to challenge their inner-city rivals. As it was, even The Mind's I's top candidates, such as "Zodijakyl Light," "Still Moving Sinews," and "Tidal Tantrum," merely provided a preview of the successful melodic death metal formula yet to come, but it would take additional trials by its immediate successor, 1999's Projector (the arrival of keyboardist Martin Brändström, Stanne's short-lived adoption of clean, warbling singing tones), to pave the way for Dark Tranquility's astounding coming-of-age magnum opus, 2000's Haven.

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