DARK TRANQUILITY - Yesterworlds (FLOGA Records - LP 2011)
I will be honest with you. For me bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquility may have never existed. I simply do not care about most of their albums, Dark Tranquility especially, whose very softened sound with weak vocals and boring pop metal music makes me sleepy and sick. I don’t give a shit if someone calls it melodic death metal, because for me there’s no death metal in their music at all, I also don’t care if they are popular… Dark Tranquility means zero to me. Recently though I decided to buy this vinyl compilation titled “Yesterworlds”, released by Floga Records, only because it contains very early Dark Tranquility recordings and I remember that years ago I used to like their 7”EP. If it wasn’t for this EP, then I would probably never bother to check “Yesterworlds”. And I must say that I surely do not regret getting this LP. It is quite cool, well done compilation, with some good songs and surely I can say that it is the only release from the vast discography of the band, which for me is worthy to have.
And first I must say that Floga did awesome job, when released this LP. A very nice shiny gatefold cover (I like that it is all white with golden print, it looks awesome). Inside of the gatefold there’s a huge archival photo of the band, while the record is housed in additional inlay. On top of that, the whole comes with eight pages 7”size booklet, with original graphics, photos, liner notes and all lyrics (which are damn long!). Yes, very good job.
“Yesterworlds” contains “Trail of Life Decayed” demo 1991, “A Moonclad Reflection” EP 1992, “Promo 1994” and one song from a rare compilation (1994). Musically most of this stuff is way different to the pop metal, which Dark Tranquility is so famous for. It is way harsher, more aggressive, quite technical death metal, with some melodic accents and dark atmosphere, which will surely remind you early At the Gates first of all. Take “Trail of Life Decayed” first and foremost. It is not my favourite demo, to be honest, but it is all right, I guess. I am quite surprised that a very young band in 1991 managed to get such a good sound quality on their first studio recording (surely they sounded way better than such Crypt of Kerberos or Afflicted). The music is rather weird and not so easy to describe. It has some small melodic stuff like the excellent finishing part of “Void of Tranquility “, but at the same time it is really raw and basic, with some frequent tempo changes, even quite fast playing in places (like the beginning of “Beyond Enlightement” and “Vernal Awakening”). The vocals are screaming maybe not as much as Tompa usually does, but are in similar harsh, screaming style, not growling. It may be a severe recording, but I can assure you I like it more than any full length albums Dark Tranquility ever did.
“A Moonclad Reflection” EP on the other hand already sounds more mature, it is slower, more atmospheric, more melodic. The guitar playing is more harmonious, the band uses some acoustic guitars, etc, so the progression is very obvious. And certainly this is my favourite recording in the entire Dark Tranquility discography. “Yesterworld” is simply amazing song, love how it begins and some parts later are also great. It’s very memorable, great quality melodic dark death metal. For me sometimes it’s almost close to some melodic black metal bands like Naglfar or Dissection, mainly because the vocals of Anders Fridén were again screaming and harsh. So, the end result is quite obscure, for my pleasure! Mind that both songs from “A Moonclad Reflection” are really long (almost eight minutes long each), so maybe this is why the whole material is not so easy to dig and requires some more listens. The remaining songs on the LP are from “Promo 1994” and well… They are good, all appear I think also on “The Gallery” album, but they already are a bit over the edge for me. I can probably listen to them with no problem, but also with no excitement at all. Just typically boring melodic “death” (hmm) metal with bad vocals (sorry but I never liked the vocals of Mikael Stanne!); take the song “The Gallery” – fuck, I am yawning already after a minute and the clean vocals in it are simply shit! So… I rather play the demo and EP again!
So, to conclude… for sure “Yesterworlds” is a great compilation for the fans of Dark Tranquility and Floga did great job, when releasing this vinyl. Musically it is OK, but as mentioned already, I only like the demo and EP, everything after that is boring for me (“Skydancer” still being OK, but from “The Gallery” further on the band can be flushed in the toilet for me!). So… I like half of this LP, so I give a mediocre plus final rate.
Final rate: 69/100