Dark Tranquillity: Zero Distance EP

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Dark Tranquillity: Zero Distance EP
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Dark Tranquillity: Zero Distance EP
Melodic Death Metal
Century Media Records
October 23rd, 2012
Release length: 18:53
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It’s been a little more than two years since Dark Tranquillity released their last full-length effort, We Are the Void. To make up for the gap, the band has brought together five of the b-sides from that album to compose a brand new EP titled Zero Distance. Clocking in at just under nineteen minutes, does this collection stand as something any Melodic Death Metal fan will enjoy, or is this nothing more than a release the die-hard fans will be happy to hear, if only once?

The audio quality to these tracks isn’t the greatest, but does hold a decent crispness to them. The overall sound seems a bit thin, holding a little more treble than the deeper bass sound. The guitars carry a nice mid-range pitch to them that does come off rather heavy, but the bass guitar itself isn’t that strong, though still giving the final product a hint of a blunt edge. The keyboards really shine through and take advantage of the lighter audio, which should come as absolutely no shock considering the band’s heavy focus on the instrument through the years. Thankfully they aren’t always too overbearing. The drums sound good as well, though a bit lower in volume than you expect. The cymbals sound crisp and are heard better in areas that are a little more tense, which can also be said for the click of the bass kicks. However, the snares are a little lighter with a varied hollow or tight sound. Finally you have the harsher vocals that suit the lighter output and somewhat calmer, fluid performances well, and the additional lower gutturals that appear time to time make for a nice extra bite, all at a level you can easily hear and understand.

But, as far as the quality of the songs themselves, it’s a bit surprising given these were kept off the album. “Zero Distance” kicks things off with a traditional Dark Tranquillity offering driven by the keyboard to create a darker world the laid back instruments can play off of. Some passages find a little more aggression in the riffs, and around the two-and-a-half minute mark, the pace slows down to include some clean singing and a keyboard solo that sounds great. It helps to establish a grander sound, and even pick up the pace for the climax. “Out of Gravity” has a slower pace that is actually really catchy with some excellent and enthusiastic vocals. The guitar solo suits the continued laid back trait, but still offers some additional atmosphere to the somber, even depressing musical world being created. But, it’s the closing track “The Bow and the Arrow” that proves to be the most enjoyable. Jumping between mid-pace to faster passages, the chords end up a bit more technical than before, using the keyboards as a background enhancement this time. This also allows the bass to have a stronger presence, causing the whole song to sound far more rich, as well as heavier than the previous four allowed.

If you’ve heard a Dark Tranquillity album before, then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. This EP really isn’t anything major, or even all that fresh. Fans will see why it’s obvious these songs were omitted from We Are the Void, being that they didn’t fit the concept the band went for, and thankfully not because they simply weren’t good like many would expect going into this EP. Atmospheric, fluid, and solid, Zero Distance provides a nice companion piece to We Are the Void, and it’s a shame that we’re only just now given these songs. If you enjoy the Melodic Death Metal style, you’ll more than likely enjoy this as much as any devoted Dark Tranquillity fan will. So, if you get the chance to check this one out, it’s well worth the eighteen plus minutes it would take to do so.

01. Zero Distance – 4:30
02. Out of Gravity – 4:32
03. Star of Nothingness – 2:06
04. To Where Fires Cannot Feed – 3:51
05. The Bow and the Arrow – 3:53
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10
Dark Tranquillity (band)
Dark Tranquillity
Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.