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June 13, 2024

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Dark Tranquility
Character (Century Media)

By: Mike SOS

The unmistakable Gothenburg death metal sound pioneered by veteran melodic metallers Dark Tranquility has been raked over the coals in recent years, so it's only fitting that this Swedish sextet reset the pace on Character, the outfit's seventh release. This 11-track sojourn contains all the things that you love death metal for, but not in an overwrought way. Instead, the boys in DT have equalized the atmospheric keyboards, twisted twin guitar assaults, and garishly guttural vocals, smoothed out the rough edges just so, and have in turn, created a beautifully brutal album by which many in the genre will be measured this year. Blistering riffs like "Through Smudged Lenses" are some of the most furious the band ever wrote and "Lost to Apathy" juxtapose arena metal's fist-pumping festivities with bombastic Swedish savagery while "My Negation" displays that this band breaks the eerie creeping groove down to a science. Dark Tranquility has stood proud on top of the death metal mountain, and Character further solidifies the band's footing.
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