I have nothing but respect for veteran bands who continue to release great music. It is no small achievement. Dark Tranquility is back with a new album called “Moment”, and it is certainly a strong offering. The album releases on November 20th through Century Media Records.
Dark Tranquility have been at it since 1989, hailing from the legendary music city of Gothenburg, Sweden. They are often considered pioneers of the metal scene there. The current lineup includes Anders Jivarp on drums, Mikael Stanne on vocals, Martin Brändström on keyboards and programming, Anders Iwers on bass, and Johan Reinholdz and Christopher Amott on guitars. Johan and Christopher, while playing live for the band for a few years, are officially members of the band now as of this year.
The band has always ridden the line between melodeath, atmospheric rock, and bits of black metal. They have some progressive tendencies, but like fellow Gothenburg metallers Evergrey, they are more defined by their local sound than anything else. You will hear chugging, writhing, fantastic guitar work, concise keyboard melodies, harsh and clean vox from Mikael, and lots of wonderful transitions.
I cannot emphasize enough how great the guitar work really is. Johan and Christopher should be proud of how engaging and spiraling their playing is here. In some ways, it reminds me of the poetry of Insomnium’s towering style. Before anything else, the guitars are what won my attention.
Three singles have been released thus far, and they are all great. However, I would probably say that they represent some of the weaker tracks overall. “Phantom Days” is a good opener that gets the blood flowing nicely, and the chorus is probably the best harsh chorus on the album. “Identical to None” is a thought-provoking piece with a great climax. “The Dark Unbroken” is definitely my favorite of the singles, having a luscious, melodic chorus and a memorable central lick.
As with several albums this year, this record takes a few songs to get going. Having 12 songs, I feel the album really gets moving with “The Dark Unbroken”, and continues that energy with the pensive “Remain in the Unknown”, the kinetic, awesome “Standstill”, and the guitar-heavy “Ego Deception”. All three of those songs are fantastic.
I think the best songs occur later, though. “Eyes of the World” has a superb primary melody, and it only gets better every time I hear it. “Failstate” feels meaningful lyrically, and also somehow urgent and cautionary. My favorite song overall, though, is the closer “In Truth Divided”. In fact, it may be a favorite song this year from any band. It is probably the softest song overall, and its melodies are patient and powerful. Mikael sings brilliantly here, and the guitars are emotional and pining. I love the chorus, the lyrics, and the effect this song has as the closing track.
Dark Tranquility have a long and illustrious career. Fans probably won’t consider “Moment” to be their greatest record, but the fact remains that it is a strong outing that keeps me engaged and satisfied. The artwork, too, is phenomenal, which is icing on the cake. If you love Swedish metal, you will definitely love this.
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