Dark Tranquillity - _Projector_
(Century Media, 1999)
by: Paul Schwarz (
I usually find reviews of releases which I love almost beyond life itself, the hardest to write. _Projector_, however, I am finding it difficult to make a judgement on. I am stuck with two opposing thoughts: 1) this is a good record and a diverse and different one; 2) I don't like this as much as _The Mind's I_ and it sounds somewhat disjointed. Reconciling these two factors is difficult. Dark Tranquillity have changed considerably on their fourth album. The greatest single difference is the reduction in speed: the band rarely blaze through songs with the thrash/speed inspired style of old. For the most part, however, the tone of the album is closer to songs like "Constant" from _The Mind's I_, in that the guitars chop with calculation at a mid-paced or slow pace. On songs like "To a Bitter Halt" the sound this produces reminds strongly of material from _TMI_. However, the majority of the songs have quite a different feel. "FreeCard" begins and intersperses itself heavily throughout with piano, while "UnDo Control" is heavy on female vocals and has a chorus refrain which follows a sharp, percussive rhythm very unlike previous Dark Tranquillity material. Keyboard and classic elements intersperse the album but the real shock comes with "Day to End", a track which begins with programmed drums and is sung in clean and almost crooning vocals by Mikael Stanne. It is a bold step, but not one I enjoy very much. The majority of the changes wrought on _Projector_ can be described by comparison to the last two Sentenced records. The guitar work has a similarly hard rock-styled poise and the clean and crooning vocals definitely bear a strong resemblance. Basically, I haven't grown with the band. "The Sun Fired Blanks" and "On Your Time" are among my favourite Dark Tranquillity songs, being akin to the old style, and the new elements in them are worked in to great effect. Songs like "FreeCard" or "ThereIn" I am half-way to loving, and the remainder, culminating in "Day to End", I can respect for being pretty well written and thought out, but I am not that into them. I think it is very possible a lot of Dark Tranquillity's audience will appreciate the direction taken on _Projector_, but for myself I am not as enamoured with their new direction as I was with their previous output.
(article published 7/7/1999)
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