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Dark Tranquillity - "Zero Distance" (CD/EP)

Dark Tranquillity - "Zero Distance" CD/EP cover image

"Zero Distance" track listing:

1. Zero Distance
2. Out Of Gravity
3. Star Of Nothingness
4. To Where Fires Cannot Feed
5. The Bow And The Arrow

Reviewed by on November 3, 2012

"'Zero Distance' offers itself as a respectable standalone release."

It’s been nearly three years since Gothenburg metal mainstays Dark Tranquillity unleashed their ninth masterpiece “We Are The Void,” [2010] and in most other cases, a band pushing leftover scraps from the last meal when the next one is painfully overdue would be quite irksome indeed. However, Dark Tranquillity isn’t just any band, and “Zero Distance,” while lacking even a single note of new music, is still worthwhile, for two reasons. It gathers a handful of previously scattered “Void” B-sides into one efficient package, and to those who’ve heard them all before, it offers itself as a respectable standalone release.

Essentially, you’re getting the five bonus tracks present on the definitive tour edition of “We Are The Void,” in the same running order. Several of these tracks surfaced prior to that release. The ghostly instrumental “Star Of Nothingness” and traditionally oriented rocker “To Where Fires Cannot Feed” appeared on the initial limited edition in March 2010. The progressive, multilayered “Out Of Gravity” was made available only to the infuriatingly lucky Japanese for a time. The grooving and galloping “The Bow And The Arrow” debuted on iTunes. “Zero Distance,” the most recent of the bunch, became a video single in late 2011. As far as the music alone is concerned, fans of “Void” and the band’s preceding three albums – “Fiction,” [2007] “Character,” [2005] and “Damage Done” [2002] – can’t possibly go wrong here. The quality is right on par with the official album cuts, and the recycled redundancies are few, if not nonexistent.

Of course, there is the unavoidable likelihood that many diehard fans will have already heard these songs in one way or another. If you own a copy of the tour edition of “We Are The Void,” then you already own this release. However, if you missed that edition, this EP will neatly fill the complete gap between “Void” and the next Dark Tranquillity album – whether you haven’t heard these songs or simply wish to complete your catalogue. Stopgap EPs are curious and unpredictable things; some serve a limited purpose and are largely discarded once a studio album hits, and others, like In Flames’ “Subterranean,” [1994] become memorable standalone works in their own right. Fans of Dark Tranquillity and Gothenburg metal ought to give “Zero Distance” an independent listen, without the rest of “Void” overshadowing it, and see if that makes a difference. I’ll bet you it will.

Highs: Five quality tracks of the "We Are The Void" era that work quite strongly as an independent release.

Lows: There's nothing new. Zilch.

Bottom line: If you own the tour edition of "We Are The Void," you needn't bother, but if not, then "Zero Distance" will tie you over nicely until the next album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)