Four years ago, in November 2016 Dark Tranquillity released their 11th album Atoma. It was highly acclaimed by fans, got some complimentary reviews from critics and even Grammy nominated. The band went to a long tour after the release, then started to work on a new material and went through line-up changes but now everything is finally settled and the new album named Moment is ready.
Actually, Dark Tranquillity got in an interesting situation with their line-up: guitarist and the founder member Niklas Sundin worked on music in studio and for the tours the band recruited Christopher Amott (Arch Enemy, Armageddon) and Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda, NonExist). However, in March 2020 this situation has been resolved: Niklas leaved Dark Tranquillity. “I’ve always enjoyed the creative process more than the performance aspects of being in a band, and the required extensive touring held less and less appeal with every album” – states Sundin.
Ok, the line-up is changed now and quite dramatically, especially if we recall that a year before Atoma‘s release another founder, bassist Martin Henriksson left the band also. But has it affected Dark Tranquillity‘s music? I’d say in a way but without some radical changes. Melodism still prevails here, sometimes it is even catchy. There is a melancholic atmosphere, heaviness and from time to time there can be heard some elements of “that one” “true” Swedish Melodic Death Metal, from which Dark Tranquillity are as far now as their colleagues In Flames, though.
The first single “Phantom Days”, which was already listened for thousands times by lots of people precisely combines the memorable melody, melancholic mood and heavy sound – an expected merit of Jens Bogren. The next “Transient” is also very melodic, with measured verse, pretty chipper chorus and great solo. Martin Brändström’s keyboards and synths are also worth to mention: there aren’t much of them in this song specifically, but with their small amount they create an awesome melancholic atmosphere.
“Identical To None” and the ending “Failstate” are classic Melodic Death Metal with quite catchy melodies, aggressive riffs and solid drumming. Mikael Stanne sings solely extreme vocals here and Johan delivers an interesting guitar solo in “Identical To None”.
However, starting from “The Dark Unbroken” the band fully goes to atmosphere, putting the heaviness somewhere on the background. Mikael alternates clean and extreme vocals and there are much more synth and electronic samples, which give the songs diverse moods. “Remain The Unknown” leaves some bright feeling despite it is riddled with greyness. “Standstill” transmits the feeling of being lost greatly, going quite far from Melodic Death at the same time. “Ego Deception” is fast and mighty; Mikael sounds pretty evil in verse but there is nothing of it in chorus, just sadness. And “A Drown Out Exit”, which combines darkness and quite cheerful choruses, attracts with the changes of tempo and main melodies.
At the same time I can’t call this album “great”: I personally don’t have enough of catchy and memorable melodies, which are inherent to Dark Tranquillity. Of course, there is couple of them here, but after listening to this album a few times, it is only “Phantom Days” and the chorus from “Identical To None” stayed in my head but this isn’t happening to the other songs. Essentially, Moment is a strong and professional work with the band’s recognizable trademarks but still I can’t call it “outstanding”.
On the other hand, I think it’s early to talk about some changes: Christopher and Johan just start to engage in the creative process, so it is quite possible that the next album will be really surprising.
Moment will be released on November, 20 via Century Media Records.
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