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Seven full-length releases into their career and the near infallible DARK TRANQUILLITY continue to flow with vitality. Character very much picks up where Damage Done left off with more straight ahead aggression and adds a bit more technicality to the mix. Fans looking for a return to the more experimental days of Projector (or even Haven) will be sorely disappointed as the band has clearly moved on. Opener, “The New Build,” makes a grand entrance with an immediate rain of blast beats, something that has been absent in their material for years. But don’t get too attached to them for long as they are the only blast beats you’ll hear on Character. The action continues to pound as much of the album provides more than enough up-tempo energy and bite. In the true DARK TRANQUILLITY-style, the music is powerful, tight, and supreme riffs abound. Buried among all of the more aggressive, up-tempo numbers are the album’s highlights, “Am I 1?” and “My Negation.” These sublime, depressive gems exemplify the progression that the band has been developing through their last four albums. As a whole, it seems that this progression has been a bit stifled, that is, to those who hail Projector to be the band’s best work. And this is the only weak point of an otherwise fantastic album. Cast all the pathetic imitators and posers aside. DARK TRANQUILLITY have clearly proven once again that they are leagues above what a mere “Swedish melodic death metal”-tag could ever describe. (Century Media Records)