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Released: Feb 25, 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Century Media
Number Of Tracks: 11
'We Are The Void' is easy to listen to, but difficult to truly engage with on the same level as this bands best.
We Are The Void
UG Team, on march 04, 2010 3 of 11 people found this review helpful
Sound: Dark Tranquillity tend to deliver the goods, we've learnt that much over the years, but the greats don't come quite so often. However, the greats' came out in full force for 2007's Fiction' and they made a few appearances on Character' too, so there's good reason for a bit of optimism. In many ways, DT have been making the same record for the last decade they've been absolutely consistent in hitting the bull's-eye with their production, and their formula hasn't been tampered with in a major way since Haven'. They're far too good to become an if it ain't broke' band, though frankly not an awful lot is being fixed' on We Are The Void' anyway.
The adoring reception of the last album's big hit, Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)', has clearly had an impact on Martin Henriksson and co, because its influence is felt on many tracks, where bouncy chugs and keyboard motifs break up the familiar bass-snare-bass-snare verse style. In fact, electronics fiddler Martin Brndstrm has probably taken up a more prominent role than ever before on this one. He has his share of the blame for the weaker parts of the album (Shadow In Our Blood' and The Fatalist' both have fairly pedestrian melodies) but Her Silent Language', by far the best song here, is made truly excellent by Brndstrm's subtle contributions. Head back through other highlights like Surface The Infinite' and The Grandest Accusation' and you'll find his stamp there too. // 6
Lyrics: Mikael Stanne's lyrics may well be even more recognisable than his band's particular strain of melodic death metal. His contributions have remained top-drawer even when he's been singing over less interesting tunes, and I daresay that there's been a specific improvement on this album: the clean vocals. Whilst his baritone flourishes are not much more common than they were on Fiction', he's dialled down the melodrama, resulting in a more fitting singing voice that feels less like a croon. Often mentioned when considering metal's gifts to lyricism over the years, Mikael is on good form yet again, finding new things to talk about but talking about them with the same tongue that he always has. // 8
Overall Impression: It would be difficult to see this band making an Unspoken King', and We Are The Void' certainly isn't bad. That said, for a band that recently hit the 20-year landmark (with a great creative mentality, might I add) and acquired some new blood in the form of bassist Daniel Antonsson, Dark Tranquillity have underwhelmed us all here. All the boxes are ticked but the music escapes your attention with relative ease - only a select few songs dig in fully. The album is easy to listen to, but difficult to truly engage with on the same level as this band's best. // 6
We Are The Void
GustavLW, on march 05, 2010 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Melodic death metal pioneers Dark Tranquillity have recently celebrated their 20 years anniversary with the triumphant DVD-release "Where Death Is Most Alive", and around the same time, their ninth studio album "We Are the Void" finished recording. The band probably need no more introduction than this, and their impressive discography is known for containing modern metal masterpieces such as "The Gallery" (1995), "Damage Done" (2002) and "Fiction" (2007). Will We Are the Void live up to the expectations and will the veterans once again show the young imitators how it's done?
And the answer is yes. "We Are the Void" has a personality that sets it aside from the albums it's most oftenly compared to ("Fiction" and "Character" from 2007 and 2005 respectively), but the core sound remains the same. Fast melodic riffs, soaring guitar leads, heavy rhythms and a tasteful use of keyboards are as present as ever on "We Are the Void", but the sound is overall darker. Harmonically and structure-wise, the album is also a bit more complex than their last couple of releases. On opener "Shadow In Our Blood", vocalist Mikaels roar sounds more fierce and black metal inspired than ever, and the song is based around fast riffs and an eerie chorus. Also, the intro of the song, with its eastern-tinged keyboards, caught me completely off guard. It's not the best track on the album, but it does the job.
A couple of quite "standard" songs are present on the album, such as third track "The Fatalist", "Surface the Infinite", "At the Point of Ignition" and "In My Absence". While there's absolutely nothing bad with these songs (although "Surface the Infinite" is probably one of their most forgetable songs ever), they feel like they could have been on any other recent Dark Tranquillity album as well. Some might call them fillers, but the quality of these tracks are still very high.
Album highlights are the title track with its furious thrash tempos, black metal inspired "Arkhangalsk", the gothic "Her Silent Language", structurally complex "The Grandest Accusation" and the magificently depressive album closer "Iridium". All of these tracks are outstanding proofs of that Dark Tranquillity is more than capable of creating grade A metal. Closing song Iridium with its slow, brooding verses, epic, dark chorus and industrial outro is right up there with "Lethe" from "The Gallery". A true masterpiece. // 8
Lyrics: Mikael Stanne is known for his lyrical abilities, and "We Are the Void" is no exception. The themes are the same as on earlier album, with a protagonist that Stanne explains as "everything he hates about himself" and how he battles and tries to understand himself. The lyrics are furious and poetic, and quite oftenly beautiful without being too pretentious. Some other themes are also explored, such as the core of human nature ("Arkhangalsk") and the end of the world ("Iridium"). The lyrics are deep and deserves to be read, listened to and studied.
Mikael Stanne is easily among the best extreme metal vocalists out there, and his mid-range death metal rasp is sure to please almost any fan of the genre. On this album, he uses his clean vocals a bit more than earlier, and also in a different way - less melodrama and more emotion. The clean vocals works perfectly with the music, and closing track "Iridium" really showcases how effortlessly Mikael uses both of his voices. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall, this album delivers the goods, and while some tracks feel a bit too similiar to each other, it still have loads of personality and some quite outstanding songwriting. It shows that Dark Tranquillity still knows how to do it and do it good, and this is certainly on my top albums of the year list.
Best tracks: Iridium, Arkhangalsk, Her Silent Language, I Am the Void, The Grandest Accusation
Worst tracks: Surface the Infinite // 9
We Are The Void
kellen.dobmeier, on march 18, 2010 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Dark Tranquillity never fail to impress, regardless of how their albums matched up to each other. While We Are the Void certainly isn't as good as Character and Damage Done, I'd easily place it above Fiction and Haven. The Mind's I, The Gallery, and Projector require more listening before I compare them to We Are the Void. Now that I have the obvious comparisons that most fans refuse not the make out of the way, getting down to business is a priority. We Are the Void is an exceptional melodic death metal album, but it is not nearly as guitar oriented as other DT albums. While there are more guitar solos on this album than either Character or Fiction, for the most part the guitars become the foundation upon which the keyboards take center-stage. This is what makes this album impressive. The keys that one hears during nearly every song are heart-wrenching. They create an epic feeling that Fiction lacked. Fiction fell short because there was nothing to make-up for the rhythm-based guitar-work. We Are the Void fills this "void" (pardon the pun, but it was just too easy) with keys. For an obvious example, listen to "The Grandest Accusation" which is the high point of the album. // 8
Lyrics: Mikael Stanne is and always will be one of the most talented vocalists in metal. His lyrical abilities are nearly un-matched and his delivery is absolutely astounding. His harsh vocals are very easy to understand and actually match the music. He sings quite a few times on this album, and delivers his usual baritone with ease and comfort. Stanne's clean vocals are untouchable and don't sound fake and over-produced. Lyrically, this album isn't quite up to Character standards and honestly, Her Silent Language has some cheesy lines that sound nothing like anything Mikael Stanne would ever write. However, Stanne's performance and the lyrical lines of brilliance on display throughout the rest of this record make up for that one minor derailment. // 8
Overall Impression: As I have already mentioned, this album does not touch Character, but nothing in DT's catalog does, so we'll leave it at that. A song by song review is necessary.
01. Shadow in Our Blood: a very interesting blend of genres. The intro is perfect and honestly it kick starts this album better than one would have expected. 8/10
02. Dream Oblivion: I don't like to get bored the instant a song starts and this is easily one of the weaker songs on the album. 6/10
03. The Fatalist: interesting lyrics and tremendous performances from each member of the band. 9/10
04. In My Absence: several lyrical high points and very good composition create one of the more solid songs on the album. 9/10
05. The Grandest Accusation: Easily the best song on the album. Lyrically exceptional and musically enticing. What Dark Tranquillity does best. This song perfectly displays how the guitars create a foundation for the keys. 10/10
06. At the Point of Ignition: very good live song, but it's just not the same on the record. Solid nonetheless. 8/10
07. Her Silent Language: interesting, but not nearly as good as Misery's Crown. 6/10
08. Arkhangelsk: I really like this song. It's fierce and heavy. Stanne's vocals are tremendous. Fierce is the perfect word to describe this song. 9/10
09. I Am the Void: good lyrics and tremendous instrumentation. Another high point for the album. 9/10
10. Surface the Infinite: not too bad, but certainly not a highpoint. 7/10
11. Iridium: good closer, and effective for this album. It's just not "My Negation" or "The Mundane and the Magic." 8/10 // 8
We Are The Void
DesolationJD, on march 23, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I first heard this album back in late january. It was leaked on the net and I stumbled on it and I saved every song (I had pre-ordered it anyway).
My first ever impression was man, it sucks. To me there wasn's a single unforgettable moment. But as I kept listening to it, it started to grow on me. Am not a big fan of black metal, and this album has many songs which are sort of black metal influenced. I think I was lookin at too much of a 'Fiction' sequel and that is where I went wrong. To me, this album is a start of a new era for Dark Tranquillity. They have managed to continue with their old sound and add new sounds to it (notably the black metal sounds in a couple of songs). Also, what I noticed the most was that it seemed alot of work was done by the keyboards. That said, you would also notice the number of solos included in the song. Though they are short and not really fast, such a number of solos were never included in other albums. I think, this album wasn't that aggressive as the precious albums. Though the sound was full and rich I think it missed the crunch the other songs on the previous albums had. So I'll start with a track-by-track critic of mine:
01. Shadow In Our Blood: I personally think this song was a perfect song for an opening song. But after the intro, I think it just lost the steam. I remember listening to the intro close to 30 times. But also, I realized it was only the intro which really grabbed my attention. With this opening song one can easily point out and figure that there's much more than melodic metal going on. There is a big black metal influence which you can hear by the fast changes in the guitar riffs. That said, it also has a solo. It's broken in to two parts and I didn't really like the first one. The second solo was somethin else. Something more soothing. Also, I think the intro was played way too many times, but that's fine because to me it was the only part which was good in the song.
02. Dream Oblivion: this was the first track I heard back in December when it was released on the band's MySpace. And I was terribly dissapointed by it. Since the album was releasing near my birthday, I was sure it was going to be an invaluable gift from my favorite band. This song had way tooo much keyboards in it and was easily the most weakest song.
03. The Fatalist: I really dug the intro. I think it was something great, with the guitars kicking in after the keyboards. To me, this was the first song which seemed like something by the great Dark Tranquillity. It did include a small lick/solo which was harmonised very very well. And it reminded me of the old DT. To me, this is where the album really started.
04. In My Abscence: another great song. The intro was something which I didn't really dig into. But the verse and the chorus was superb. I would have preferred Mikael's clean vocals on the part where the song slows down. Again, another solo in this song but nothing spectacular. I also think that the keyboards were perfect in this song. They complimented the guitars very well.
05. The Grandest Accusation: definitely makes it to my top 10 Dark Tranquillity songs. I remember the recording sessions from the making of 'We are the Void' and it seemed promising then. I also pretty much liked Jivarp's work on this song. The drums were amazing. But definitely, this song will just take you in and you'll feel lost in the song. Also, this is the first song where Mikael sings clean at some parts, and I pretty much liked that. The keyboards which followed it are sweet. Many people might say the guy is boasting or just giving a 10/10 for the song, but this song certainly deserves it.
06. At the Point of Ignition: way tooo much keyboards. But it doesn't mean the song is bad. Though the keyboards over shadow the guitars I think Mikael did a good job with his vocals. I really dug the solo but that's all I dug in this song I think.
07. Her Silent Language: this song very much reminds me of Misery's Crown. Only because of the verse (clean) and pre-chorus and chorus (growls) way. Also this song is pretty similar to In My Abscence (atleast to me). I'd give it just a 7/10 but this is definitely not a bad listen.
08. Arkhangelsk: at my first listen, the thought in my head was like, This sucks man. I never really liked black metal. And this is probably the song which has the most black metal influences. BUT, as we all know with Dark Tranquillity, they grow on you with every listen. And thats what happened to me. I never thought Black Metal and Melodic Death Metal could ever be merged. But Dark Tranquillity pulled it off very very well. The balance is perfect.
09. I am The Void: I didn't really like this song and I don't even know why. Even though everything's in place I just feel something is missing and I can't keep my finger on it. I really liked the solo and the pre-chorus of the song though. Also, the keyboards were probably the least prominent in this song.
10. Surface The Infinite: I think it was just a filler to be honest. Though I loved the chorus and the solo, I think the verses were no good at all. I don't know, I just never really dug into the song. Even after close to 2 months listening.
11. Iridium: this song definitely has something in it. It is soo depressing. And that's actually good. It sends you into this weird mode, and you get all depressed. IT's mostly clean vocals, in an opera-ish kinda voice for which Mikael is famous for. But what really holds you, is the sudden kick of distortion guitars and the growls of the chorus. This track, is without doubt, the best off the whole album. Definitely the perfect choice for an album closer. Also, I didn't mind the long same outro, it just fit with the song.
12. Star of Nothingness: this is the bonus track included on the Deluxe Edition which i have. An instrumental. I never caught why it was supposed to be recorded. It wasn't exactly amazing like the rest of Dark Tranquillity instrumentals (The very few they have), i always end up comparing it to the Mind's eye, because thats my favorite instrumental by them. Not a bad instrumental but just not upto the par, I'd say.
13. To Where Fires Cannot Feed: Bonus Track
Definitely should have been on the album. This song, reminded me alot of Fiction. If this song was actually on the album, it would have definitely been the best song of the album. It has this gothic touch to it, the keyboards, the guitars everything fall into place like they did on The Grandest Accusation, with one major difference. Where as The Grandest Accustation sort of had the keyboards in the light, this song is definitely more guitar oriented. But it also has it's keyboard moments. Like the part just before the solo, like I said, this song SHOULD HAVE BEEN on the album. An amazing song. // 8
Lyrics: I got into Melodic Death through Children of Bodom, and back then I never paid attention to the vocals since Alexi isn't all that great. I switched to In Flames (new and old both) and I still never paid attention to the vocals, it was always the music I'd focus on. But with Dark Tranquillity it completely changed. It was like filling a gap between the the sound and the vocals. Mikael Stanne is without doubt one of the most talented vocalists, with his deep raspy growls and to a surprise Cradle of Filth-ish screams on the bonus song (To Where Fires Cannot Feed). Not only did it catch me by surprise but also, I started believing what is now a fact. Music reaches its highest point with Dark Tranquillity.
The lyrics are not bad at all. With the deep meaning from the song Arkhangelsk and the end of times with the Song Iridium. To me, and I still cannot forget it, the favorite line off the whole album is 'No way to hold the burden of this life, alive'. Though the meaning is always the same, the way it's written is awed at. // 7
Overall Impression: Ofcourse, it's not the same as Fiction, Character or The Gallery. But I advise people to stop looking for those influences in this album, because its wasting time. Listen to it with an open mind and you'll discover a whole new side of Dark Tranquillity. Also, let's consider the fact that the melodic death metal giants are actually falling, with In Flames releasing the worst album ever last year (IMO), Children of Bodom releasing the so technical and yet not so melodic Blooddrunk. Dark Tranquillity never caught the flu from them and continue to make amazing songs. Again, this album will take some time to grow, but don't look for a sequel to Fiction or a followup to Character or even a return to The Gallery. This is not it, this is somethin different, something fresh.
Best Songs : Iridium, The Grandest Accusation, To where the Fires cannot Feed.
Weakest Songs : Surface the Infinite, Shadow in our blood. // 9