“May I take a Moment of your time to talk about this new Dark Tranquillity album?”
All joking aside, it’s been around 4 years since the melo-death heavyweights from Sweden last release Atoma. Since that time, the line-up in the band has changed a bit and there’s been a few tours as well, including one in Paris in 2018. There’s also been the small issue of human malware this year, but that’s not stopped the band from working to provide what is a rather impressive album.
Kicking the album off “Phantom Days” is as classic a Dark Tranquillity song as you can get. Flowing melodies on both the guitars and keyboards and harsh vocals from Mikael create an almost “welcome home” feeling whilst also sounding as good as always. “Identical to None” follow with both them featuring solely harsh vocals and a whole load of amazing riffs. The latter in particular has amazing lyrics which resonate on a personal level, in particular the line “Why this disparity of thought? When you are identical to none.”
The album as a whole, is kind of what you might expect from a band that’s now on it’s 13th release. There’s the tracks which keep the themes from across the previous albums, with album opener “Phantom Days” being a great example of this. Flowing melodies on both the guitars and keyboards coupled with the harsh vocals from Mikael create an almost “welcome home” feeling whilst sounding just as good as always.
There are also some tracks that change up the proceedings slightly, with “Standstill” being one that stands out. Featuring the excellent clean vocals of Mikael and also having a slightly stripped back feel in the verses keeps things fresh and injects something new to the soundscape. The addition of new guitarists Chris Amott and Johan Rheinholdz will likely have influenced some of the song-writing and as such things are slightly fresh.
Only slightly however, as the album is still predominantly a Dark Tranquillity album. And that’s where a part of the problem lies. The album just feels a bit too similar to previous releases that after a few listens it kind of loses its magic a bit. Which is a bit of a shame, as the earlier tracks on the album are very strong and showcase a lot of the great things that make DT such a good band. It’s just the latter half that feels a bit… samey.
However, it is still a good album and one that will be a fine addition to any Dark Tranquillity fan’s collection. It is, if you pardon the pun, definitely worth spending a “moment” to listen to it, but don’t expect much beyond what you have already heard.