Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Dark Tranquillity: "We Are the Void" Track By Track
Here's a track by track review of the album We Are the Void found on music.msn.com
Swedish melodic death metal band Dark Tranquillity released their ninth full-length studio album, We Are the Void, yesterday. If you like Dark Tranquillity's brand of keyboard-laced but still pretty heavy metal, you'll like the new disc for sure. We hooked up with vocalist Mikael Stanne via email to get his insights into the band’s creative process, secret (and not-so-secret) influences, and more. Enjoy!
"Shadow In Our Blood": The first 15 seconds or so of this song sounds very Rob Zombie. Does the keyboardist put his parts in when the songs are mostly complete, or does he assist in the writing process from the beginning?
Martin [Brändström] is there from the very beginning and but he finishes intros, sounds and layers when the rest of the song is finished and we are heading for the studio. Martin B comes from a different place musically, and his input into the sound of the band is somewhat different. But that is a very important aspect of our music. The B is the Bomb.
"Dream Oblivion": You’re playing this song live, right?
This is Daniel's [Antonsson, bass] song. He wrote most of this one and then Martin [Henriksson] and Niklas [Sundin] "darktranquillified" it somewhat. It was very exciting to have someone else come in with a complete song like that and we worked on it for quite a while and the result was really special. I enjoy playing it every night on tour and the response is awesome.
"The Fatalist": This song has kind of a Goth feel to me (admittedly, it's mostly the keyboards). Is there a Sisters of Mercy fan hiding in Dark Tranquillity somewhere?
There are several hiding in here. Martin B not being one of them.
"In My Absence": The groove at the beginning of this song is very nice; are you hoping to get people to dance instead of headbanging?
We want people to use whatever mosh of choice they seem fitting. But it sure is one hell of a groovy beginning so I expect to see a dance move or two being thrown in there in the pit. Groove has admittedly never been one of our strong suits but I think that Anders [Jivarp, drummer] really loosened up on this album and improvised a lot more. And his playing is way groovier on this album and I love it.
"The Grandest Accusation": The guitar breakdown in this song, at about 1:50, is great, but the clean vocals afterward at about 2:25 sound like Depeche Mode, almost making it like two different songs. What's up with that?
I like to think that it shows our range as a band and ofcourse it´s really hard sometimes to use too many different elements in a song but in this case I think it really works. But naturally our DM influences shine through here and there. DM is a constant in our lives. Since I was 10 or so I have been listening to them. Just saw them a couple of weeks ago and I am still amazed. Synth and metal can co-exist, it turns out.
"At the Point of Ignition": This song is similarly synth-poppy. Why is there such a stark division among Swedish metal musicians, where half of you are irresistibly attracted to synth melodies and pop hooks and the other half are in Grave and Unleashed and Dismember?
I think that comes down to influences and metal upbringing so to speak. The bands in Gothenburg have roots in traditional metal, speed metal as well as non-metal bands, whereas I think the Stockholm bands have more of a punk background. This is just theory though.
"Her Silent Language": There's another dichotomy here: the guitars on this song are very heavy, but the lyrics are so emo they're basically for little girls. Explain this, please.
The lyrics here are about grief and the haunting sense of having lost someone without having said all that needed to be said. Perhaps even little girls can relate to that.
"Archangelsk": What’s this song about?
This one is Niklas’s brainchild. He came up with this originally very black metal sounding song that droned on for 6-7 minutes, and we all liked it, but felt that it was a bit too out there. Then Martin H and Niklas reworked it a couple of times, and we were left with the best parts and the exact same haunting feeling in the song. Niklas and I wrote the lyrics together and they deal with isolation and depression. The title comes from the Russian city.
"I Am the Void": This song is very thrashy and aggressive. Are you sure you guys wrote it?
Pretty sure. Niklas usually keeps his ultra-thrash roots in check but here we just let him go nuts.
"Surface the Infinite": This song is also very aggressive. Why are the faster, harder songs coming toward the end of the album?
The order of the songs is something we work really hard at getting right. There needs to be a certain balance and a pace to it, and I believe we found a good mix of fast and heavier songs. Anders is the guy responsible for the song order. He has done that since Haven I believe. He really gets it and knows all about pacing.
"Iridium": This song is nearly two minutes longer than anything else on the album. Did you set out to write a song that long, or did it just emerge that way as you were going along?
This song was written by Niklas in 1996 and it has always been around. We have tried in the past to have it fit on an album, but it was only now that we felt confident that it would work. Martin B started working on this song when he joined 10 years ago, and it has been one of those things that we always talk about but never do anything about. I am very happy we made the decision to include it. Closing an album with a song like this is something we particularly enjoy.