Originally written by Ramar Pittance
Dark Tranquillity’s discography is a varied one indeed, ranging from the early Gothenburg days of Skydancer and The Gallery, to the more experimental leanings of Projector and Haven, finally culminating in the genius combination of both styles in their most recent studio release Damage Done. Exposures – In Retrospect And Denial offers an interesting perspective of the band’s 15 storied years, giving fans a chance to get their hands on unreleased tracks, early demos and other previously hard to attain rarities. Also included in this two-disc set is a live recording of a 2002 concert in Krakow, Poland. It’s the same concert at which their recent Live Damage DVD was recorded.
As with any compilation, the quality of songs is extremely erratic and the focus is more on presenting the songs in a sequential order rather than creating any musically engaging flow from one track to the next. Therefore, it’s practically pointless to describe how this album works as a whole. Instead, it’s best to try and find a few key tracks and enjoy the novelty that Exposures offers.
The first two songs, “Static” and “The Poison Well” are outtakes from Damage Done and easily the most intriguing cuts on Exposures. They both receive a high quality mix, with the “The Poison Well” being lavishly layered with an intense amount of guitar and piano orchestration. In fact, the songs are of such high quality that I’m a little confused as to why they didn’t end up on Damage Done. Aside from these two songs, there’s not too much to be found here that’s too compelling. “Misery in Me” is a ballad from the Haven sessions that features a clean vocal performance from Mikael Stanne that’s a tad reminiscent of Curt Smith from Tears For Fears. Not a bad thing, but certainly not a track I see myself going back to many times. That’s pretty much the story with the rest of the cuts on this album. There are plenty of solid efforts, but nothing that grabs you by the throat and demands a second listen.
Exposures – In Retrospect And Denial is certainly not the album for you if you are new to Dark Tranquillity. You’d be well advised to first check out classics like The Gallery or Projector to get a better idea of what this band is all about. However, if you’re an avid Dark Tranquillity fan who simply cannot wait for a full-length album of new material, then this may be just the thing for you. It’s a fun little trip down memory lane that presents a side of this band that you may not have been aware of. Packaged along with with an audio version of the Damage Done DVD you’ve been watching all winter, Exposures – In Retrospect And Denial is a deal that Dark Tranquillity diehards would be foolish to pass on.