Dark Tranquillity - Projector
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (50:50)
Release year: 1999
Dark Tranquillity, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

For someone doing their best to get into the Melodic Death genre, Dark Tranquillity’s fourth album was a godsend. Melodic, catchy, full of clean vocals yet with enough growls and killer riffs to stop it falling off the edge of the Metal mountain, it was my first real taste of modern Melodeath at its best. Way back in 1999, the Swedes decided to experiment a little with their style. The keyboards came in, and are a big part of the band’s sound to this day, as did the clean singing, although not to the same extent. Many fans complained at the time and continue to do so about Mikael Stanne’s singing voice, which has a definite 80s Goth tone to it, and even his growls are My Dying Bridesy, but this only enhances their songs as far as I’m concerned.

The vast majority of the songs here are excellent, of course. Album opener Freecard opens with unaccompanied piano and soon launches for your throat, whilst ThereIn has both killer Thrashy riffs and a depressed yet hopeful, yearning quality to it that would not be as strong without the clean singing. UnDo Control has some great female vocals, and whilst the structure has less of the experimental forays of the first two, it’s still an excellent song. Speaking of those forays, this album represents a band breaking from its boundaries successfully; each song is well-thought out, rooted in prime Gothenburg territory but with its upmost branches swaying in the experimental wind currents. It’s not quite enough to earn the band the ‘Progressive’ tag, but is enough to make the songs interesting on several levels.

Auctioned is the first of several tracks that brings the depressive elements to the forefront, and the tone is more ballad-like overall, with not a growl or aggressive riff to be found throughout. It’s a little long to be a really fantastic song, but Stanne’s singing is the saving grace. His performance on the electronic-dominated Day To End alone is near enough to bring tears, more emotion present in his voice on this song than most bands manage throughout their careers.

There are no real stinkers on the album; To A Bitter Halt starts slow and turns gruff soon, The Sun Fired Blanks is fast and melodic, yet is still clearly Melodeath in design, even with the lengthy instrumental section that is more Katatonia than Kataklysm. As for Dobermann, mixing amazing riffs and vocals, it’s a definite highlight. It might just be me, but with some of the band’s later, more aggressive albums, I feel a slight sense of repetitiousness whilst listening, which I never get with Projector. Throughout this album, the songs are well-put together, sensual, epic and unmistakably Metal. True Melodic Death Art is something people say rarely, but Dark Tranquillity deserve it here. Give it a few years and this album will be seen as a classic.

Killing Songs :
Freecard, ThereIn, UnDo Control, Nether Novas, Day To End, Dobermann, On Your Time
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Alex quoted 93 / 100
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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