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Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by Defiance, Feb 23, 2010.
Word. We're so grim and tr00.
Yeah, Pet Shop Boys is the trvest and grimmest band ever. Their most recent album, 'Yes', is the epitome of Norsk Svart Metal .
The review I posted on Amazon:
I've been a fan of Dark Tranquillity for 13 years now (half of my adult life). During this time I've regarded them as metal Gods for writing amazing material, evolving and growing with each release, yet staying true to themselves. It's very rare that a band can produce so much quality material so consistently for such a long time.
That said, this album is a huge disappointment.
Every track strikes me as uninspired, derivative, and uninteresting. When a listener is able to predict time changes, key changes, and how riffs end on the first listen(!), that means the music resembles previous work too closely. There are only occasional glimpses of DT's brilliance in a few riffs scattered here and there throughout the album. As a musician, I've written and played plenty of uninspired, mediocre riffs, so I know them when I see them. However, it's not just the riffs that are the problem. The way the songs are built and structured, the overall "feel" of the songs, is too formulaic.
The first two tracks, which appeared on the band's Myspace before the album came out, are God-awful. However, if you like them, you will like this album. The remaining tracks sound like semi-decent re-hashes of their last release, Fiction, with very little in the way of experimentation or innovation.
To be clear, I'm not slamming DT's artistic integrity or attacking them personally as musicians. I believe they worked hard on this album, and I will say that Mikael's vocals are still ridiculously good. (If only the caliber of the music matched his performance.)
However, sometimes bands get stuck in creative ruts, especially when they've released an album every two/three years for the last two decades or so. When you have that kind of routine, it's easy to "settle in" and get comfortable doing what you do. In some ways, it means you've mastered your craft. The problem is that getting comfortable with certain musical approaches and habits often leads to writing music that doesn't sound fresh, new, or compelling. Sometimes the best ideas come after putting the guitar down for a while and breaking with the old routine.
Hopefully, their next album will be better.
^ I feel the same, except I don't like Stanne's Vocals much on this one. I've been into this music for so long, the whole listening just feels like I'm straining to enjoy something that is really, an ok effort, but just not spectacular.
jesus, i hope somebody quickly writes a review that is more accurate I really disagree that if u like the first to tracks u will like the rest of the album. I mean dream oblivion is completely different from silent, for example. Actaully i would say that dream is the track that least resembles the rest of the album...
from Amazon ...
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly their best album?, March 8, 2010
By Ian C. Murphy "erithtotl" (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: We Are the Void (Limited Edition) (Audio CD)
First off, I am a long time DT fan, so you can take this review with a grain of salt if you like.
I have the Import Deluxe version and have been listening to it for a week now. It may be their best album, and I have loved pretty much everything since 'The Gallery'. The songwriting is as sharp as ever, and its incredible these guys have been going for 20 years without trying to sell out, or losing the ability to constantly innovate inside the recognizable template that is the Goethenberg sound.
I was worried after the reintroduction of clean vocals on Fiction's Misery's Crown (IMHO the one must-skip track on an otherwise great album) would lead us back to the Projector days, only even more commercial. But I was wrong. There are a few tracks with clean vocals but they serve only to compliment the song and the death metal vocals on those tracks.
So many standout tracks but for me my favorites so far are:
In My Abesnce
The Grandest Accusation
Her Silent Language
I am the Void
Also, GET THE DELUXE VERSION! It includes two tracks, Star of Nothingness which is just a mostly accustic intstrumental, but also To Where the Fires Cannot Feed, which is one of the best tracks on the album and a can't miss! Unusual that a bonus track can be of this high quality!
5.0 out of 5 stars how do they keep it going?????, magic perhaps, March 8, 2010
By "Giles The Axeman" (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: We Are the Void (Limited Edition) (Audio CD)
iv'e been a dark tranquillity fan since mind's I and they continue not to fail to deliver the effects that makes dark tranquillity what they are today. we are the void is another album that gives a new break in there sound without changing anything that would take the band in another direction they keep it original, new riffs, new lead no other sound like anything you've heard before on any of there past albums except for stanne goes back to the clean note at times as he did on projector only on a couple of songs or more which isn't a bad thing at all if you like projector. so the only flaw i hear on this album is the band has turned there fast paced riffs down a notch. not enough to complain i don't think a dt fan is going to be disappointed with this album.
Somewhat true, but it just has this very dark atmosphere to it, in terms of sound - yeah, it's different (to my ears anyway).
The dude has an opinion, and I don't know - he sounds like an... Opeth fan? Maybe I AM an ultimate fanboy, but I don't hear most of things he's mentioned. I'm not that music savvy (and tone-deaf to boot (fucking hate this expression )), so I just kick back and enjoy the music, and this album fucking delivers. He sounds like he's been analyzing the songwriting and technical aspects, but to a end-listener like me - it doesn't matter.
I'm going to curbstomp that fucker in New York if he runs into me He was dissatisfied with it from the beginning for some reason, but hey - we all have our tastes and whatever.
I hate to rate, but the album is easily 4.5/5 on my scale (The Gallery is 5, and that can't be beaten by anyone at any time), but anyone who goes below 3... I say we castrate him.
From the top,
That's fair. This is purely subjective.
I don't agree with your next statement, and I'm not sure you do either. From a linguistic standpoint, packing three adjectives into a sentence tends to defuse all three and leave the reader with a feeling of the general tone. Here, this just sounds cruel. I'm not exactly sure what you mean, either.
First, I sincerely thank you for this. I really hate when reviews are stated as fact.
Can a person hear inspiration? Inspiration doesn't describe art, it describes artists. I don't know how the members of DT felt while writing this material, but I think it's irrelevant to the final product. Maybe you meant "uncreative"? I would argue that listeners can make out a lack of "genesis" when examining artwork. I don't think that's accurate here, though.
Leaving aside the fact that all human works are ultimately derivative, I'm not sure what this word means in this context. Derivative of what? Based on the album, I don't think you're suggesting that they just made a bunch of references to their own genre; it might look that way from the outside, but as fans we both know they invented it. You may mean that the album is derivative of earlier DT, but obviously the roots of every artist's work are planted in what came before.
Generally, "derivative" is an arbitrary word in the art world, used as an insult.
That's fair. Somewhere in the world, a hipster is crapping his pants listening to Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, and I can't possibly understand why. What is and isn't interesting is all in the listener.
I disagree with this for three reasons. First, all things considered art are based on common magic in our species. We all see the same colors, share the same symbols, and hear the same interaction of tones. Even unaware, a listener can usually predict music because of the limited number of possible cadences. Using fills to signal the end of a section obviously clues you in to the direction. I find this video instructive. Watch a musically untrained audience correctly guess tones on the pentatonic scale perfectly, with no prompting. They know it because it's already inside of them. We listen to music because it echoes a common language; art would be noise if not for that familiarity.
Second, you and I probably have thousands of hours of Dark Tranquillity inscribed in our souls. It is unsurprising that we can occasionally predict a particular stylistic element. Those elements are what make a band a band. If they stopped ending riffs with pinch harmonics from time to time, I'd miss it. Same with the wonderful cymbal and tom laden breakdowns. As an artist, you're no doubt well aware of the signature you place in your own work. Anyone can scribble a Mona Lisa, maybe even a really good one, but Da Vinci's brush strokes are worth millions.
Third, you were surprised when you listened to it. I don't honestly believe that In My Absence didn't catch you at least a little bit off guard. I mean, these guys change time so much I'd swear they're from Gallifrey, not Gothenburg.
Yeah, it's not in the riffs this time. Obviously, I might suggest you look for the brilliance in the keys. If you'll give it the effort, I might suggest checking the composition as well. My particular fascination at the moment is The Grandest Accusation, because the interplay between instruments there, while subtle, makes it feel unlike anything I've ever heard before.
I can tell that the lack of tasty riffs is going to haunt reviews of this album. The guitar work is good, but very supportive and musical. When I'm sitting down for an air guitar session, I do reach Fiction or Damage Done; this album works in a different, ambitious way. The guitar work is rock solid, but doesn't really focus on traditional, heavy riffs, which some people crave.
Your lack of inspiration and degree of mediocrity cannot compare to the depth of mine! That said, an "argument to authority" is useless unless we're being analytical. Our authority as practitioners of the art does not mean that we have better taste, and really shouldn't have sway over the experience of other listeners.
I want to tell you something, but I do not have the words.
This statement is so incredibly, demonstrably false that I'm not sure where to start. I will simply suggest that you check out my other thread, as it develops. Some of the intricacies have been placed under a microscope there.
Qualitative statements aside, Dream Oblivion is the weird one on the album and At the Point of Iginition is the bright one. It's hard to fit a DT album into a single frame, but I'd say those two stand out as pretty distinct.
Experimentation in music is extremely complicated. The first problem: everybody claims to want it, but they usually don't. The Projectors of the world are sometimes successes, and sometimes end careers. In fact, people did hate Projector when it came out, but came to appreciate it later. I hope that you are able to do the same here.
Another issue with experimentation is the "where" and "what" of it. Personally, I find "baritone singing in death metal" to be a relatively insignificant experiment; it's just a different sound, and we've been playing with sound since before we had language.
What makes something like Projector or WATV work is the exploration of things like mood and composition. There are some really great rhythmic structures here, sounds I've never heard before, and things I never thought they'd do. The opening of Arkhangelsk is unexpectedly melodious and down tempo, for example. Dream Oblivion and Arkhangelsk have really haunting keyboard passages that I found foreign. Experimentation happens everywhere in music, from the songwriting to the actual playing; it may even involve moving in a direction that is not new to the listener, but new to the artist. Either way, we get something new and unique.
Some people point to "black metal" and "gothic metal" influences (I don't know, because I don't know anything about those genres). Even if black and gothic metal already exist, "DT does Black Metal" is still a unique experiment. I'd love a DT cover album, for instance: even if they're playing another artist's work note for note, I'd just like to hear what it sounds like.
As for "rehashing Fiction", I'm really interested to hear why you think that. I've thought about it, and I really don't see it.
Agreed about Mikael.
Routine can indeed be dangerous, but people have to make a living. I'm not sure depriving us of their art for a time would do any good, either. As a corollary to my point about experimentation, as much as we may all think we want a wild experiment (and some of us would enjoy it), a mix of consistency and growth moving into the future is best for everyone. I mean, if you want a real experiment, just scribble "D4RK TR4NQU1LL1TY!!!" on the cover of random CDs and pretend. Otherwise, we need consistency and growth.
While I feel differently about this album, I also hope the next one will be even better.
i knew you would come and save us from that terrible review.
I just saw this and was crying laughing for about 5 minutes. And I'm not making that up, I just had to cough for another 5 because I'm choked up.
Edit: I also agreed with your bit on the guitarwork, we practically paraphrased each other WITHOUT KNOWING IT. OH MY FUCKING GOD. I mentioned that in the sticky. I'm not the only one who thinks the keyboard work is really the meat of this album. It's fucking awesome.
I reviewed the new Burzum instead. Much more satisfying task.
Might I add that I think Fiction is their best album. So I'm not simply hating on the new school, here.
Nah, I don't care if you hate it or not, I just wanted to hear your points.
It's not arbitrary. Hence my comment about "rehashing Fiction."
Defiance understands what I'm talking about here (see his comment about in the sticky thread). The open palm-muted stop/go riff has reached the point of overkill in DT's career in my opinion.
It's sad that anyone would even bother to write a "refutation" of my opinion, as if an opinion on something as subjective as someone's emotional and intellectual reaction to music could be "refuted."
As for the accusation that I'm an Opeth fan, they got stuck in their current rut as far back as Still Life, so I think that disqualifies me as a fan of theirs. At least they aren't making God-awful garbage like In Flames...
If this album was as great as many here say it is, I don't think anyone would bother trying to "refute" me or make lame jokes about curb-stomping me in the streets of NY.
Greatness speaks for itself - there is no need to debate it.
I for one hope that the next album will rise to that level.
Hey, I wasn't joking
But anyway, although I can hear where you are coming from - we obviously listen to the same record, I hope, - I still don't get why would anyone who's been a fan for years dismiss record as an "epic fail".
But hey - I can enjoy it, all that matters, so I'll just write it down as a matter of taste. I'm not going to go on rants and discussions about it, I delivered my opinion to those who it matters to, and I'm absolutely content with any opinion about the Void - it's not going to change the way I feel about the record.
But reading slamming reviews is always entertaining
Why? You took the time to put pen to paper to express your opinion, he took the time to reply with his own. I find it a lot more sad that "Here's my two cents about this!" is still followed by the sound of a door slamming and feet hastily walking away: whether it's an irate desire to have the last word or some odd fear of having to listen to the other side of the argument, it seems self-centered to imagine your word on the page should remain immaculate. In other words: posts are made for other people to comment on, this is not a blog.
So the fact that you're arguing that it's not a great record is in itself proof that it's not a great record? What if I were to argue that The Brothers Karamazov is a mediocre book? Is quality so self-evident in all art? What about science or philosophy or ethics?
Fair enough. In my world, anyone who calls Iridium "uninspired, derivative, and uninteresting" , just doesnt have a clue what they are talking about. Period. And when it comes to discussing music, with very few exceptions, the weight of an opinion is not defined by wether or not u are a musician urself, i find ur comment about ur own musicianship rather corny and silly. I can see ur ponts when it comes to the fatalist for example, even though i love that track. But as ur review is constituted, it comes across like an uninspired, categorical bashing. I get the impression that u got something personal against this album, like u have been bashing it since u were a fetus, even before it was recorded. Listening to tracks like arkhangelsk, surfare, silent, iridium, i just dont see what more u could wish for, arent u then wishing for something that isnt DT?
I seem to recall referring to your opinions as "fair." I don't really care whether you like the album or not; it's just that a lot of the sentences that you crafted, specifically ones containing addressable facts, are wrong or misleading. Of course, I am not the arbiter of objective truth; truth comes out in the dialog, without which we're individually spinning off into madness. For that reason, I encourage and engage in discussion. I will understand if you don't want to talk to me, though.
I see that you have taken the degree to which I disagree with you, and the amount of words that I spent, as an insult. I am sorry that you feel that way, and I truly did not mean to offend you. These things sometimes happen in conversation. I feel that large points of your review were inaccurate. You have the option of proving me wrong, a discussion which I would welcome. You're obviously a critical listener, and for that reason alone I like you.
If you can't back up your points, I might suggest careful consideration of your reasoning behind posting the review. I choose to speak positively of this album, so I can afford to be completely wrong. It's not like anyone is going to call me on it. However, if you have negative opinions to express, here of all places, it seems somewhat foolish not to expect disagreement. If you can't prove your points, or stand strong disagreement, then I might recommend a different medium to express yourself. I would hope, however, that we're able to have this discussion without resorting to insults.
As for the word derivative, it must be used in conjunction with something. All metal is derivative of the state of the genre, all music is derivative of the whole of the form, and all creativity is ultimately derivative of experience. So what, exactly, is WATV derivative of? Are you saying they just cranked out a "token DT album" with no individual character? Are you saying they ripped off other artists in the genre? Are you suggesting that WATV is a function which provides the slope of Dark Tranquillity, or an advanced financial tool for abstracting commodity markets? (Obviously, we can rule out the last two.) Derivative is a huge word, and it's meaning is not clear in your usage. I'm an intelligent person, and it wasn't obvious what you meant.
As for "rehashing Fiction", wouldn't a derivative album have carried the same balance of keys/guitar, rather than the more keyboard-intensive mix that some people are so unhappy about? What about the chromatics in SiOB? The way-too-pretty keys in Arkhangelsk? These things sound rather un-Fiction to me, and they sound like progress (admittedly, not Projector-level experimentation). Also, did you notice that they abandoned many of the long instrumental bridges that were so common on Fiction? Or the unique structures? I'm not sure that I would call it "derivative", though I would call it familiar. And anyone who doesn't like familiar probably isn't interested in listening to the same band twice anyway.
Here's one from metalreviews.
This. I'm pretty convinced these critics of WAtV would've all been much happier had DT just made another album exactly like Fiction / Damage Done / The Gallery (or whichever their favorite DT album is). It is the fact that WAtV is too different from their previous albums that they have their panties in a bunch, yet they can't just admit it to themselves because they've been (rightfully) saying DT should progress and avoid stagnation. And now that the band has finally taken a progressional leap bigger than usual between the albums and the direction is different from what the critics were hoping for they try to convince themselves that the album is somehow weaker or less inspired than their previous works. It is not - it is just different.
I can admit it, I like We Are the Void less than I liked Character and Fiction - because it has moved away from the steady progression from album to album(*) and somewhat broken the familiar formula I had learned to like so much. The previous work of theirs I felt this way about was Projector (although the feeling was much stronger then), and it took years before I could fully appreciate that album for what it was. This time I feel I'm already past that point, and can wholeheartedly enjoy what WAtV can offer me, even though I got more out of Fiction.
* Admittedly there were clear signs of this on Fiction already (more than just Inside the Particle Storm), but somehow that album was a perfect mix of old and new for me. WAtV went a bit too far for my tastes, but I'd still rank it higher than Haven and The Mind's I at this point.
No. These critics will never be happy. That's why they say unkind things about the works of others. The opinions of intelligent critics will rise and fall according to personal taste, but as a rule, the rest will all march onward into eternity, begging for the sweet release of death.
As to your other point, I'm not sure that I like WATV better than Fiction either. They're very different (at least, I think so), and both genius. It's really hard to make a choice, and ultimately meaningless since they'll both get played for the rest of my life anyway. Opinions like that, what people like or don't like, are completely fair and based entirely on personal taste. I just don't like blatantly false statements. I also find patrons who get demanding of artists to be extremely irritating, but there's no sense arguing with someone in the entitlement mindset.
"There aren't a lot of crazy riffs on this album" == fact (debatable)
"This album sucks because it doesn't have awesome shredding" == opinion
"There's a lot of one note chugging" == fact
"There's too much one not chugging" == opinion
"DT needs make an album that will make me happy" == Opeth fan (also, "retarded")