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A Review of the Album "The Gallery" by Swedish Melodic Death Metal Band Dark Tranquillity

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Dark Tranquillity’s 1995 studio album The Gallery is often times referred to as a masterpiece from that era and that is not too far from the truth. Note: because of the death of guitarist Fredrik Johansson on January 25, 2022 of cancer related causes, it is necessary to do this review also as a tribute to him for his contributions in the band’s early years.

Songs such as “Edenspring” with its guitar work being soft as the song builds up shows once again that these guys are not just about speed at all. Even though The Gallery was released in November 1995, in 2020 it would be 25 years since its release. Even if the band had said that acoustic guitars with the use of clean vocals were unorthodox for this time period, these two aspects are the foundation of the melodic death metal genre. “The One Brooding Warning” is one of those songs that we have not really touched upon yet and it could be one of those forgotten songs by some fans. The song is basically trying to tell us that in this world of our things are not always as they appear so be careful of deceptive forces.

The acoustic guitar is so magically composed that it leads into one of the finest songs ever in any genre of music called “Lethe.” I hope that even those of you that are not fans of the genre can appreciate the beauty of this song! The song lyrically is a sarcastic way of looking at life as drinking the certain fluid rather than cleansing us can make us feel like we hate others.

Who would have known that this person back in 1998 (me) would have even gotten into melodic death metal and I’m glad that I did and in 2022 I see the brilliance of an excellent band of the genre. Back then, Mikael Stanne was the better vocalist for this band. I am sure most fans of the genre will agree that The Gallery is a melodic death metal masterpiece more than 25 years later and even at that time for those of us that were old enough to know about this genre of metal. The album gets off to a thunderous and melodic start with the powerful song “Punish My Heaven.” This is one song that appropriately begins an album in this genre because of all instrumental aspects especially the drums.

In fact, that different analysis has already begun as of June 2020. The Gallery was reissued on April 5, 2005. There is an expanded edition of the album which has five bonus tracks. These tracks are cover songs that Dark Tranquillity did. These include covers of Iron Maiden’s 22 Acacia Avenue and Metallica’s My Friend of Misery. The songs Punish My Heaven and Lethe are on the band’s LIVE Damage album. This is the band’s first LIVE DVD album. This DVD is from their Damage Done tour. The Gallery is indeed a special album and it is perhaps so special that the band decided to release an expanded edition of this album.

Additional Perspective On This 1995 Album

What are other reviewers saying about this 1995 album that is basically a masterpiece of melodic death metal? A reviewer on the website Angry Metal Guy calls “The Gallery” a genre defining album and a case could certainly be made for this album to be just that. From the drum sound into a furious riffing structure in the song "Punish My Heaven" to the acoustic starting song “Lethe,” The Gallery has pretty much everything that you would hear in a melodic death metal album.

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Final Thoughts

A tribute to Johansson was made by Mikael Stanne who started the post by saying “One of us is gone.”[1] Too true indeed as one of Dark Tranquillity’s almost original members has left us too soon. He also added that our time on this planet is nothing but temporary and that we should make the most out of the connections that we have and treasure the people that we have chosen to surround ourselves with. The end of the song “Lethe” has that part where Mikael sings “take me away.” It is simple yet so powerful at the same time. Fredrik was indeed taken from this world but far too soon. His musical legacy will always live on because he was part of this band at the time when they made what may still be their strongest studio album.

“Mine is the Grandeur” is a beautiful classically influenced instrumental and what Dark Tranquillity album would be complete without a song such as this?

Reference

Childers, Chad. “Former Dark Tranquillity Guitarist Fredrik Johansson Has Died.” Loudwire, January 28, 2022. Accessed on May 6, 2022. https://loudwire.com/former-dark-tranquillity-guitarist-fredrik-johansson-has-died

Footnote

[1] Chad Childers, “Former Dark Tranquillity Guitarist Fredrik Johansson Has Died,” Loudwire, January 28, 2022. Accessed on May 6, 2022. https://loudwire.com/former-dark-tranquillity-guitarist-fredrik-johansson-has-died/


© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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