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Dark Tranquillity's Fiction may be their best album since The Gallery
Album Cover of Fiction: Expanded Edition
Fiction is a metal album that showcases the greatness of Niklas Sundin and Mikael Stanne
Swedish melodic death metal band Dark Tranquillity came onto the heavy metal scene all the way back in 1989 and they have established themselves as one of the leading bands of the melodic death metal genre. Their 2007 album Fiction may be their best album since The Gallery in 1995. Vocalist Mikael Stanne does a few grunts in this album like Jeff Waters of Annihilator would do. Why has this band become so great that by 2007, they made what may be their best album of the decade? The listener is always interested as Mikael switches between clean and rough vocals. He can sing pretty well when he does the clean vocals. Secondly, Niklas Sundin can play guitar and make it sound beautiful and melodic. He is by no means one of the fastest melodic death metal guitarists but the way he plays makes the songs work and fit in the album.
Fiction: a review of the lyrical themes and the first half of the album
The album has much musical contrast. One such example is the piano part by Martin Brandstrom in the song “The Lesser Faith.” The song is basically about someone who dreams that the world will end. There are many people who thought that the world would end once we reached the year 2000. The band’s lyrical themes generally deal with philosophy and the question of human existence on Earth. The next song called Terminus (Where Death is Most Alive) is about seeing a ghost down that does not have human life. There are only skulls and bones in this town. There is even more use of electronics in addition to the guitars. Blind At Heart features a melodic part that may remind us of Iron Maiden. Icipher is about someone who is really scared when he sees that others around him are fearful. The emotion of fear can paralyze us in our tracks and we will not be able to proceed with our goals and vision. Sometimes we have to convince ourselves that we have to go outside of our comfort zone and try new things. Dark Tranquillity know how to be creative and they do not offer the same mishmash of melodic death metal that you might hear from other bands. One such example is the song “Inside the Particle Storm.” They are creative because they start with a beautifully crafted acoustic part before the vocals start. In Flames did this with their song Satellites and Astronauts. Even though there sounds like there is a crowd of people that are confused in the song, the beauty and magnificence of it continues. The next song Empty Me is about being in a very dark world where light cannot enter. As someone comes to repent for their sins, they are not forgiven because there is no response to their transgressions. Insecurity can also cause humans to go crazy as their actions sometimes don’t make sense. I get the feeling that this song is about the flaws of human beings and that sometimes it is very hard for us to forgive those that have sinned.
The Song Called The Lesser Faith
The Song Called Misery's Crown
Final thoughts about the greatness of the album
Misery’s Crown has a bit of a Gothic rock style to it because of the guitar playing and the drums. Mikael uses clean vocals in this song. The experimentation with clean vocals started back in 1999 as the band decided to experiment in songs such as Undo Control. If you haven’t yet heard that song, make sure that you do because it really is one of the band’s best songs ever. Misery’s Crown is about being in a world where misery is the main emotion that is brought upon others. The song also addresses what can happen in business deals or even personal deals when these deals break apart. In spite of our best efforts, we sometimes try our very best to make sure these deals work and they really don’t work because the other person does not do their share of the work, or they lie to us and deceive us. The last song “The Mundane and the Magic” has me thinking of what Annihilator would do to start a song with acoustic parts such as this. Then the piano and guitar become mixed in, adding the contrast. I really cannot find any real flaws with Fiction as Dark Tranquillity are most likely Sweden’s best melodic death metal band right now and maybe of all-time! They are too good to not be given this kind of praise!
The Song Called Icipher
© 2016 Ara Vahanian