Can belching be an art? Well apparently Swedish act Dark Tranquillity believes so. At least that’s what their lead burper Mikael Stanne sounds like to me: One long burp which lasts (almost) throughout the entire 10 songs on their new album. There’s hardly any variety in the vocals. Only in two of the songs (Misery’s Crown, The Mundane And The Magic) does he try to sing for real – but not with a very good result either. I suppose there are people out there who like this style, but it’s not exactly my cup of tea.
Apart from that, the band seems reasonably capable of doing what they’re doing. Some of the guitar riffs on Fiction are pretty cool. Unfortunately, most of them are just noisy, and all of the songs sound more or less the same. Only exceptions are Inside The Particle Storm and The Mundane And The Magic, who are simply just boring.
The worst however, are the keyboards on the album. I don’t like them at all. Instead of adding some sort of atmosphere or supporting the rest of the band in any way, Martin Brändström seems to be capable of doing nothing more than keep playing silly little music box-like melodies on the entire album. It gets very boring very quickly. Come on guys, does the world really need 10 more “Spieluhr” themes? The best thing I can say about them is that fortunately there are also long passages where they are kept well in the background.
This is my first encounter with the band, but apparently they have existed since 1993. This is their 8th studio album. I don’t think I’ll go listen to the other 7. To me, DT is just a band among many in the great puddle of bands that aren’t exactly bad, but never catch my attention either.
Tue Madsen from Antfarm Studios has done the mixing, and a remarkable job he did too. The sound mix is very good; in fact the sound quality itself is the best thing about Fiction. I really like the drums on the album. All the other instruments are also well balanced and both clear and distinctive.