By Bill Adams
Remember when you were a kid and, the first time you heard metal, you were really surprised because it sounded exactly nothing like what you expected? Something was a little off; either it didn’t have enough of the undead and satanic cliches, or it didn’t sound dirge-y enough, or any one of a thousand other things that you were expecting just weren’t there? That absence would ultimately mena one of two things: either you’d write it off in disgust and try something else to discover what you were looking for, or you’d discover that you liked it because it wasn’t as dark or vile as you thought it would be. Either way though, you had a baseline model for future comparison.
So what happens when, decades later, you find a record that sounds exactly what you assumed metal would sound like when you were a kid? Is it as gratifying to hear now as it might have been so may years ago?
Listeners can test the theory with We Are The Void by Dark Tranquillity. WATV plays like everything you might expect from a goth-metal band (a bit of keyboards laced between booming and thunderous guitars, all topped with singer Mikael Stanne’s wild and unhinged cackling bellow) right to the letter, and judging by the lyric sheets, the band’s anger and frustration and bent toward the unholy know no bounds. Songs like “Shadow in Our Blood,” “The Grandest Accusation,” “At The Point Of Ignition” and “To Where Fires Cannot Feed” all exemplify the band’s desire to pervert the ears and minds of listeners, but it comes off a bit two-dimensional as the band offers up no more than the darkness and style that a ten-year-old might expect; it might scare the hell out of you if you’re still growing your first crop of chin pubes, but it comes off as a bit pallid and artless to those of more discerning taste. At every point during We Are The Void‘s thirteen tracks, listeners know precisely what they’re going to get; when the solos cut loose and can time when Stanne if going to fly off the handle and put his mangled throat just that little bit closer to total meltdown. You find yourself knowing what to expect because you still have that initial image of metal that you had in mind before you actually heard a note from the genre, and Dark Tranquillity nails it repeatedly throughout the proceedings; so is it what you hoped for?
The answer to whether or not a listener is satisfied by We Are The Void will boil down to individual taste; some will find it phenomenal and some will find the offering paltry and mawkish. Which will it be for you? You’ll only know for sure if you check it out for yourself.
Album review courtesy of groundcontrolmag.com