Dark Tranquillity - _Live Damage DVD_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Dark Tranquillity being one of my favourite bands, I expected nothing short of sheer brilliance from this, their first DVD. However, never having seen the band live before, I had to wonder to what extent the Swedes would be able to reproduce their music's intrinsic technicality in the live arena. Contrarily to what I expected, I still have some doubts after watching the DVD: the camera angles change so quickly you barely have time to figure out what each band member is doing -- you won't see much detail of the drumming, guitar playing, or even Mikael Stanne's singing (the latter is also partly due to his tendency to keep the microphone in front of his face). I am left wondering whether this was done intentionally in order to disguise the fact that (at least in my DVD player) the sound sometimes appears slightly out of synch with the pictures. This in turn might suggest there was some studio tweaking of the band's performance, but of course that could also be completely off the mark and unfair for the band. Either way, the music on the main gig (played in Krakow, Poland in 2003 during the _Damage Done_ tour) comes out brilliantly in terms of sound quality and performance, the latter striking a good balance between competent technicality and live feeling.

I consider Dark Tranquillity one of the most gifted and enjoyable bands in metal, and the extensive setlist on this show is simply superb -- it even includes numerous classics that I assume remain the copyright of Osmose though nothing from Spinefarm Records' debut _Skydancer_ or the superb _Of Chaos and Eternal Night_ EP. For the music, I award this DVD an outstanding 9.5 out of 10, with half a mark deducted just because a few of the songs don't work so well live. Due to the garish lighting, less than inspiring surroundings, excessively frequent changes of camera angle, and below par digital processing (pixelization occurs every once in a while in my DVD player and the image quality is less than brilliant), my rating of the gig recording is a very disappointing 4 out of 10 -- a golden opportunity laid to waste for the most part.

Two raw bootleg gigs are included as extras. Their sound and picture quality is of course much lower, but it is still acceptable, turning them into welcome additions to the DVD -- also thanks to better crowd reactions than on the main gig. Also included are two average video clips ("Therein" and "Monochromatic Stains") and an unpretentious interview with Mikael Stanne, as well as various other goodies in the shape of band profile, desktop images and more. For the extras, _Live Damage_ gets a well deserved 8 out of 10. The DVD is sleekly presented, in spite of an unambitious booklet, while the menus are excellently decorated, easy to navigate, and accompanied by some nicely tweaked bits of music. Therefore, the presentation of _Live Damage_ earns another strong 8 out of 10.

Overall, it's a shame the main gig recording doesn't come across less convoluted and artificial looking so that one could derive more enjoyment from the video footage. Apart from that major flaw, this is a great DVD that should definitely find a place in any extreme metal collection.

Contact: http://www.darktranquillity.com

(article published 30/1/2004)

7/5/2008 C Burton Dark Tranquillity: Merging the Mundane and the Magic
9/1/2002 D Rocher Dark Tranquillity: Of Damage Done and Introspection
5/25/2000 P Azevedo Dark Tranquillity: Projecting and Reinventing
10/13/2013 A El Naby 8 Dark Tranquillity - Construct
6/13/2010 K Sarampalis 7.5 Dark Tranquillity - We Are the Void
3/25/2007 K Sarampalis 8.5 Dark Tranquillity - Fiction
1/31/2005 P Azevedo 9.5 Dark Tranquillity - Character
11/29/2004 Q Kalis 8 Dark Tranquillity - Exposures: In Retrospect and Denial
9/1/2002 P Azevedo 9 Dark Tranquillity - Damage Done
8/12/2000 P Azevedo 9 Dark Tranquillity - Haven
7/7/1999 P Schwarz 8.5 Dark Tranquillity - Projector
7/14/1997 P Azevedo 10 Dark Tranquillity - The Mind's I
2/9/1996 A Bromley 3 Dark Tranquillity - The Gallery
2/5/1997 P Schwarz Dark Tranquillity / Enslaved / Bewitched / Swordmaster / Demoniac / Dellamorte We Must Dominate, We Will Dominate
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