The 2007 album, Fiction, from Dark Tranquility, a melodic death metal band hailing from Sweden, is a good length album, at about 50 minutes long, containing the growled death metal vocals and dual guitar riffs and harmonies combined with backing keyboards and quick drums you expect from melodic death metal bands. Fiction is a solid melodic death metal album from Dark Tranquility that suffers from being repetitive
Being a melodic death metal album, Dark Tranquility’s Fiction is not as heavy as death metal bands, such as Cannibal Corpse, is still remains heavier than most alternative metal bands while still containing strong melodies.
Generally, Fiction maintains a steady sound that makes it a solid album but gives also an album with many songs sounding similar, throwing few surprises at you, and having only a few outstanding songs. While each song on Fiction is still distinct, most of the songs are up tempo, with “The Mundane and The Magic” being the sole exception, having a strong emphasis on the guitar, vocals, and drums, and a similar verse-chorus structure often alternating between a heavy, fast, and deep verse and an atmospheric chorus containing the keyboards. Even though there are many similarities between the songs in Fiction, many songs do have distinctive elements from the bass or keyboard intro in the songs “Nothing to No One” and “Terminus (where Death is Most Alive)” to the clean singing in “Misery’s Crown” and “The Mundane and The Magic.” However, as long as you do not get bored of the somewhat repetitive sound, Fiction‘s songs are reliably solid because of the similarities with enough difference to allow you to still separate the songs on Fiction.
Throughout Fiction, the performance of the vocals and instruments are also solid. Mikael Stanne, the lead singer of Dark Tranquility, performs most of the vocal with a death metal growl. However, he performs some the vocals in “Misery’s Crown” and “The Mundane and The Magic” with a powerful and full voice that fits the melodic death metal sound. Nell Sigland of Theatre of Tragedy gives a very clean female vocal performance on the song “The Mundane and The Magic.” The instrumentation performance is also very clean with the guitars providing deep de-tuned riffs, sustained power chords for the atmospheric sections, tremolo picked harmonies, and high pitched, fast, but melodic solos. The bass, like in many metal songs, is mixed low only standing out in the short intro at the beginning of “Nothing to No One.” While you can at least hear the drums easier than the bass, the drums stick to simple and quick patterns for most songs while still providing a clean performance. Short of the short solo intro to start “Terminus (where Death is Most Alive,” the keyboard mainly plays shorts riffs during the atmospheric choruses.
Except for a few songs that stand out, such as “Icipher” with its power chord based riffs and rhythmic verses, most of the songs on Dark Tranquility’s Fiction are very similar with even the stand out songs still sharing many of the same elements. However, Fiction is still a strong album since every song is still very solid if you do not mind repetitive sounding songs. If you are a fan of Dark Tranquility’s sound, I recommend buying the Fiction because it is more of their sound. Or, if you are a fan of melodic death metal and are looking to expend your collection, Fiction is a good addition to any music collection. However, if your melodic death metal collection is still small or you are new to melodic death metal, I recommend waiting on purchasing Fiction and purchasing a different album such as In Flames’ classic album Jester Race.