Dark Tranquillity: We Are the Void

The Gothenburg innovators return on their ninth studio album, maintaining their high level of excellence, but lacking growth and innovation.

Dark Tranquillity

We Are the Void

Label: Century Media
US Release Date: 2010-03-09
UK Release Date: 2010-03-01
Label website
Artist website

Dark Tranquillity is one of the only Gothenburg originators that still have a decent level of credibility on the scene. With At the Gates no longer producing quality material, In Flames barely maintaining a shred of their former stature, and Soilwork producing inconsistent music from album to album, there isn't much left of the Gothenburg core to keep the old fans happy. Therefore, a new Dark Tranquillity album always manages to excite fans of the traditional sound, as well as the newer fans that the band has drawn in recent years. After the masterpieces Character and Fiction, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Dark Tranquillity's ninth studio album would match that level of quality. Dark Tranquillity entered the studio prepared to do just that on We Are the Void, armed with new writing and recording techniques that were intended to make their sound even better.

This album is certainly a solid addition to Dark Tranquillity's discography. There's no denying that these songs have intensity, melody, and technicality blended into the signature Dark Tranquillity sound. Mikael Stanne's vocals are as powerful as always, carrying his unique passion and surprising depth throughout. Stanne also breaks out his clean singing voice once again on the track "Her Silent Language", and after the excellent clean-sung parts of "Misery's Crown" on Fiction, bringing back the clean singing on We Are the Void is sure to please both new and old fans. New bassist Daniel Antonsson delivers an excellent performance, fitting into the sound perfectly and providing a strong foundation for the rest of the sound. His performance is doubly good considering that he normally plays guitar and has not played bass in any of his other bands.

The sole problem with this album is that there is a definite lack of growth compared to the progress shown on previous albums, especially Fiction. The biggest indicator of this is that there isn't a lot of variety in the compositions from one song to the next. Aside from changes in speed and an occasional key change, there's nothing preventing the songs from blending together. A lot of these tracks actually feel like they should be Fiction B-sides, since they have almost the exact same tone and atmosphere. The exceptions to this are "I Am the Void", which almost feels like a thrash song with its straightforward speed and intricate solo; and "Iridium", which has a doom metal atmosphere similar to the style of Katatonia and Swallow the Sun. Apart from these two tracks, most of this album is lacking in inventiveness.

We Are the Void is definitely a good album, and will surely generate a lot of new fan favorites. The songs are what you would expect from Dark Tranquillity, and this is a band that never fails to deliver quality material. However, a little more stylistic variety would have made this album stand out much more from its predecessors. Granted, Dark Tranquillity have been doing this style of metal for over two decades, and there is only so far you can take your sound before you reach the limit of progression. But still, adding a little variety to the sound of their next album will be necessary to avoid the appearance that the band is in a creative rut.





The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.