Dark Tranquillity Fiction

Dark Tranquillity Fiction
What exactly are high standards when it comes to melodic death metal? Basically it’s trying to top two of the best albums of the decade. Dark Tranquillity’s previous two releases (Damage Done and Character) are nearly unstoppable masterpieces that will resonate for generations. So, did the masterful Swedes make it a three-peat? Not really, but this is where the high standards loophole comes in. Fiction is one of the best albums of 2007 thus far and may stand as the zenith of this year’s European metal offerings. Sound-wise, Dark Tranquillity haven’t taken major steps forward, instead electing to pump up the keyboards slightly and make some of the riffs a little more simplistic. These choices come off as somewhat disappointing when compared to their back catalogue but still sound goddamned sweet to the ears — check out "The Lesser Faith,” which is probably the metal song of the year. The most glaring difference that appears on Fiction is vocalist Mikael Stanne’s inclusion of the long-forgotten clean vocal styles of yesteryear. Although they only appear on two tracks ("Misery’s Crown” and "The Mundane and the Magic”) they’re pretty weird when placed amongst the screaming vocals that thrash throughout the rest of the album. Aside from this minor flaw, Fiction is truly amazing; it’s poised to secure its well-deserved spot on many top ten lists in December. (Century Media) (Century Media)