Dark Tranquillity - Exposures: In Retrospect and Denial
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal / Thrash
Disc 1: 12 songs (43'36) Disc 2: 19 songs (77'58)
Release year: 2004
Dark Tranquillity, Century Media
Reviewed by Ben

Dark Tranquillity is in my opinion, the last True Gothenburg band left over from when that scene exploded all over the world. Granted, their style is more electronic driven than before, yet Dark Tranquillity has yet to sell out to these ears much like every one of their now (in)famous counterparts. So, what does their record label do to celebrate all these years of success and staunch loyalty to their fans? It releases a double disc collection of unreleased and rare material with a second disc of live cuts to the always eager fan. The first seven cuts are taken from the Projector - Damage Done sessions and the rest of disc one are the rare and hard to find demos from the very early days of the band. When listening to the tracks culled from the recent recording sessions I am wondering why some of these weren’t released domestically (many are Japanese bonuses) or at all. Quite frankly, I think that some of Dark Tranquillity’s most striking material is contained here. The Poison Well easily rivals Monochromatic Stains or The Treason Wall off Damage Done for best song with its pulsating and highly infectious chorus, the silky electronic effects and Stanne’s trademark bellow. Cornered is another highlight and this is also the group’s most accessible song to date. With a very melodic and almost 80’s synth pop keyboard intro (yes that’s right you read that correctly) it segues into a ballad like delivery of vocals, which would be sweet and endearing if Stanne wasn’t growling throughout. After this however the bridge is trademark ferocious riffing with a biting and soaring guitar lick with even more dramatic and well executed electronic keys. A very different side to this band but one that is welcome to these ears. One experimental song however is better left unheard, In Sight is just plain awful. I’ll give the band props for taking a chance with this but I’m glad that this pathway wasn’t pursued on subsequent albums. A dull and boring song with some surprisingly BAD clean vocals from Stanne (I say surprisingly because he was great on Projector) this puts me to sleep and I skip it every time. Still, it is a commendable effort completely cleaning out the vaults, warts and all.

The demo’s are definitely in stark contrast to the first seven songs on disc one. These tracks are a lot more thrash than anything the band will ever do again. Imagine early old school German bands such as Kreator or Sodom with a bit of blackened melody and that’s what Dark Tranquillity was doing in their teens. Long and complex compositions, uber fast drumming, buzzing and violent guitars and intelligent and thought provoking lyrics. Even back then they were something unique. As many of you know, before Anders Friden went off to In Flames he was the vocalist for Dark Tranquillity and when one listens to these demos it is disheartening to think of the dreadlocks and Jonathan Davis-isms that would come in the future. Here, Anders has some great mid to high raspy screams and the listener needs no convincing that he is one pissed off man. I envy the people that heard these when they were originally released, that is one slice of metal history I wish that I could have been a part of.

Frankly, the live portion of Exposures… is not that big of a deal, it is the audio segment of the Live Damage DVD, and while it has an ok sound quality it isn’t anything to drop your panties over. The songs are competently played and delivered yet overall this is more of a standard “Greatest Hits” disc than anything else. Still, I find myself popping this on every now and then when I’m too lazy to dig through the “D” section of my cd towers. Packaging wise, I have to give Century Media credit for the cool liner notes and the plethora of old school band photos. It’s so easy to crap out a collection / best of so when one comes along that actually had some thought put in it, its quite refreshing. Anyways, I highly recommend Exposures: In Retrospect and Denial to any Dark Tranquillity fan out there, with so much great material on here it would be insane to pass this up.

Killing Songs :
Static, The Poison Well, Cornered, and Void of Tranquillity
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Dark Tranquillity that we have reviewed:
Dark Tranquillity - Atoma reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - Construct reviewed by Jared and quoted 65 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - Zero Distance EP reviewed by Chris and quoted No quote
Dark Tranquillity - The Mind's I reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - We Are The Void reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
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