Getting Into: Dark Tranquillity


Written by: musclassia
Published: 26.10.2020


With Dark Tranquillity soon to be releasing album number 12 Moment upon the world in late November 2020, now seems as good a time as any to plug this clear gap in our Getting Into series, for an established and beloved band with a wide and varied discography. Dark Tranquillity, along with In Flames and At The Gates, comprised the Gothenburg trio of bands that helped to pioneer the Swedish melodic death metal sound in the mid-1990s, particularly with their records The Gallery, The Jester Race and Slaughter Of The Soul, respectively.





The bands took very different career paths following these albums; At The Gates disbanded soon after the release of Slaughter Of The Soul, with a new record not coming until nearly 20 years later with 2014's At War With Reality, whereas In Flames put out several more acclaimed records (Whoracle, Colony and Clayman) before Reroute To Remain marked a career move towards an increasingly accessible and polarizing sound. Dark Tranquillity, in contrast, got a lot of their exploration out the way in the late 1990s, before 2000's Haven kicked off a series of records that made the group arguably the most highly esteemed of the three bands. Whilst In Flames' reputation is down in the gutter for a number of metal fans, Dark Tranquillity remain revered in many circles, with anticipation for Moment high. For those that have yet to get on board the Dark Tranquillity hype train, hopefully this guide can serve as a useful resource if you attempt to delve into their now extensive catalogue.

In an ideal world (Radu's ideal world, to be specific), this article would cover the array of EPs that the group have put out over the decades; however, I have heard almost none of them, and am too busy to try them all out, so given that this is intended to be an introduction to the band, the article will only focus on full-length studio albums. If you are more fully acquainted with these EPs and would like to share your opinions on them, please post them in the comments thread below this article.








1993 - Skydancer



Skydancer was Dark Tranquillity's debut full-length, and is unique for the band in several ways, most of which the group are better off for being unique. First off, this is the only album that doesn't feature Mikael Stanne on lead vocals (here he is restricted to rhythm guitar duties, duties he would relinquish to become their frontman in time for their second album). Instead, Anders Fridén took on vocal responsibilities on Skydancer, before leaving Dark Tranquillity to join In Flames (fun fact: Stanne performed lead vocals on Lunar Strain, the debut record by In Flames, meaning that the two groups effectively traded the frontmen from their debut records in time for their sophomores). Fridén's rasps are adequate here, but Stanne would prove to be a far superior fit for the band. Aside from personnel, the album also stands out for its compositional style. The songs, as noted by Niklas Sundin himself, are at times chaotic, with frantic chopping and changing of riffs rather than the more conventional structures observed on later albums. "Nightfall By The Shore Of Time" sets the tone for this early on, with the song moving from riff to riff, most of which are of breakneck speed and many of which are tremolo-heavy, without any hesitation. The group also finds time to take occasional detours into acoustic guitar territory (see the opening to "A Bolt Of Blazing Gold"), along with other novelties for such a heavy record at the time, such as the use of clean vocals, male and female (both feature on "Through Ebony Archways"). The combination of the kitchen sink songwriting approach, frequently rapid tempos and rawer production compared with subsequent records gives Skydancer a distinctly unpolished vibe; it sounds obviously like a debut record, released by a band overflowing with ideas but still learning how best to translate them into effective songs. Much like Opeth's Orchid and Amorphis' The Karelian Isthmus (both debut records I gave similar ratings to in their respective Getting Into articles), Skydancer certainly has its champions, particularly from individuals with tastes geared more towards the underground of metal, but whilst I find aspects of this album to enjoy (the mid-tempo melancholy riffs midway through "In Tears Bereaved", or the guitar harmonies towards the end of "Shadow Duet"), as a complete package it is comfortably my least favourite full-length Dark Tranquillity album, and one that I feel minimal inclination to return to.

Standout tracks: Nightfall By The Shore Of Time, A Bolt Of Blazing Gold, In Tears Bereaved




1995 - The Gallery




If Skydancer was the immature prototype, The Gallery was the refined finished article that would be used to define Gothenburg melodeath as a concept. The frantic riffs and elaborate guitar harmonies that open "Punish My Heaven" indicate that the genre is the same; however, the song feels more deliberately structured than something like "Nightfall By The Shore Of Time", with sections that bear some resemblance to choruses, as well as a more engaging ebb and flow as the song progresses, thanks to the mid-tempo bridge (featuring an early clean vocal cameo from Stanne) and soft instrumental break. The production has been improved a notch to give the album a fuller mix, whilst still retaining some of the rougher edges that an album of this style should really have. Whilst the tracks on Skydancer felt like collages of breakneck riffs, the songs on The Gallery give off the impression of having been planned out and built around specific ideas, whether it be the slower, moody "Silence, And The Firmament Withdrew" or the blistering "Edenspring". This approach enables the ideas within each song to more effectively stand out; the barrage of similar riffs on Skydancer tend to blend together, whilst those on The Gallery consistently embed themselves in your brain, which is helped by the variation in riff style and tempo (for example, slowing things down and dialling down the intensity on "The Dividing Line" after the laser-speed assault of "Edenspring"). The dalliances with clean vocals (male and female) and acoustic guitars on Skydancer were retained on The Gallery; however, they felt a bit more naturally and effectively implemented into tracks, with the extended acoustic and cleanly sung stretches of the title track standing out. Furthermore, the band also takes regular softer, melodic detours without necessarily bringing the acoustics into play, with "The Dividing Line" featuring a particularly effective melancholic break. Overall, The Gallery saw Dark Tranquillity take the promising ideas from Skydancer and massively improve on their implementation, producing a cornerstone of the genre in the process. The band would veer away from this approach on The Mind's I and even more so afterwards, leaving the band's most iconic release as something of a novelty in their discography.

Standout tracks: Punish My Heaven, The Dividing Line, The One Brooding Warning, The Emptiness From Which I Feed



1997 - The Mind's I



The Mind's I is in a slightly awkward position in the Dark Tranquillity discography, after the iconic The Gallery and before the more experimental Projector, meaning it has a tendency to get somewhat forgotten. Whilst it doesn't rank amongst the best records in the band's career, it arguably deserves more attention than it receives. The first couple of songs suggest that the formula isn't all that different from The Gallery, albeit with the aggression markedly toned down; however, as the album progresses, the greater prominence of middling tempos and more overtly melodic riffs becomes increasingly apparent. Probably the first notable departure on the album, and for a long time my favourite cut from it, is "Hedon", which opens with a slow melancholic guitar melody and generally exhibits greater Gothic influences, something that would be expanded upon on Projector. "Hedon" never approaches the venom of the faster-paced riffs on The Gallery, and after its conclusion The Mind's I rarely flirts with that sound before the record is over, with such moments mainly confined to the short tracks "Scythe, Rage And Roses" and "Dissolution Factor Red". In contrast, the acoustic guitars and female cleans that appeared in brief cameos on previous records have their own song to shine on with "Insanity's Crescendo", whilst songs such like "Tongues" feature more classic melodic guitar leads than appeared on The Gallery. A lot of the discussion of The Mind's I focuses on comparisons with other records, mainly because it fulfils this awkward role in this discography of not being as frenetic as The Gallery, melancholic as Projector or hook-laden as their modern classics from the 2000s; nevertheless, whilst not quite excelling at anything, it's a solid record, just one to maybe dive into after checking out some others from the band first.

Standout tracks: Zodijackyl Light, Hedon, Tongues



1999 - Projector



The opening few seconds of "FreeCard" might give an indication that Projector is a sonic departure for Dark Tranquillity; 20-odd seconds of solo piano announces the greater incorporation of piano and keyboards, which would lead to the subsequent addition of a full-time keyboardist, Martin Brändström, to the group's line-up, a role he has fulfilled ever since. The rest of the track once the full band arrives isn't that huge a jump from The Mind's I, but the clean vocal chorus is just one of many such stretches on Projector; Mikael Stanne has never utilized his singing voice as frequently on a record since this album. Between the increased role of clean vocals and piano/keyboards, it is probably not a surprise to find out that Projector is the softest album in the Dark Tranquillity catalogue. The pronounced Gothic influences give songs such as "ThereIn" and "To A Bitter Halt" a unique feel compared to the vast majority of the band's discography. If one was to compare "Day To End" with songs from Skydancer and remember that the albums are only 6 years apart, there might be confusion as to why Dark Tranquillity aren't branded with the same 'sell out' label as In Flames. I would assume that there are two reasons for this: first, this was but a one-off detour towards this sound before the band returned to melodeath on Haven, and second, compared with the clearly mainstream metal-aimed 2000s material from their fellow Swedes, Projector has a really distinctive sound that feels driven more by curiosity and experimentation and less by financial ambition. It also doesn't hurt that the group managed to pull off what they were attempting here with substantial success; "FreeCard" and "ThereIn" are genuinely gripping tracks that make a strong early impression, and the band carry a lot of heft on slower cuts such as "UnDo Control" and "To A Bitter Halt". Last, when Dark Tranquillity upped the intensity on a song like "The Sun Fired Blanks", they demonstrated that they had not lost their ability to write riffs with hooks and sharp edges. Even more so than the three already distinctive records that preceded it, Projector really is a curious oddball in the Dark Tranquillity catalogue; on the one hand, it's probably not the most representative introduction to the band, but on the flipside it might be about as palatable as the group have ever been to newcomers with limited taste for metal's harsher elements.

Standout tracks: ThereIn, The Sun Fired Blanks, Dobermann



2000 - Haven



Haven could be considered as both the bridge between Projector's experimentation and the establishment of the distinctive melodeath style that came to define Dark Tranquillity in the 2000s, and the first record in the hottest streak of the band's career, the one that saw them become the frontrunner of the Gothenburg sound in the continued absence of At The Gates and as In Flames turned away from melodeath. The inclusion of Brändström is made clear early; however, instead of piano taking a lead role, "The Wonders At Your Feet" is dominated by synths and electronics, and the soundscape of much of the record is similarly styled. There are still some clean vocals from Stanne, but generally harsh vocals dominate here. Much of Haven is comprised of hook-filled, to-the-point melodeath anthems, with all songs (excluding lengthier album closer "At Loss For Words") falling between 3 and 4.5 minutes; this is a direct record, with the brooding elements of Projector mostly forgotten. This lack of variation in approach has been noted by Niklas Sundin, who considers the album one of his least favourite by the band due it being overly safe. I wouldn't argue that Haven is equal to the two albums that followed it; however, I think it's a solid record that laid the necessary foundations for those fantastic albums to build upon. Starting off on a strong note with "The Wonders At Your Feet", Haven throws enjoyable song after enjoyable song at listeners, but with only a couple of killer blows landing, such as the emphatic synth flourishes on the title track and the Projector call-backs on "Ego Drama". The album also ends on a high note, with the lengthy, brooding "At Loss For Words" being in my opinion the obvious choice cut from the record, thanks to its ominous build-up, powerful riffs and memorable chorus.

Standout tracks: The Wonders At Your Feet, Haven, At Loss For Words



2002 - Damage Done



Haven was a solid album that promised at better things to come; Damage Done is one of those better things. The second-highest rated album in Dark Tranquillity's discography on our website, and my second-favourite album by the band, Damage Done saw the band further push back towards melodeath, but a more direct and accessible brand than was found on The Gallery, between the regular verse/chorus-oriented song structures, keyboards and 'lead guitar riffs' that are featured heavily on the album. Damage Done doesn't necessarily have the complexity of some of their earlier work, but what it does have is a frankly ridiculous abundance of memorable hooks, whether razor-sharp riffs, lead guitar melodies, keyboard motifs or catchy screamed choruses (Stanne leaves the clean vocals on the sidelines for this outing). From the off, "Final Resistance" makes a very strong statement of intent with its cutting verses and bouncy chorus, but there is very little downtime from then onwards, with almost every song delivering something to love. "Monochromatic Stains" and "The Treason Wall" deservedly get consistent live outings, which bring out the best in their anthemic choruses, but I am also a big fan of the hypermelodic "Single Part Of Two" and "Cathode Ray Sunshine", as well as the more mid-tempo "Hours Passed In Exile". The closing few songs after "Cathode Ray Sunshine" see the band stray into slightly different sounds, such as the melancholy of "The Enemy", and electronics of "I, Deception" and instrumental finale "Ex Nihilo", but never does the quality waver. There are arguments to be made that The Gallery or Character are the best places to start with the band, but Damage Done may have a stronger case than either; it's simply a stellar piece of work.

Standout tracks: Final Resistance, Single Part Of Two, Cathode Ray Sunshine



2005 - Character



For me, the hardest part of this article was deciding which album, if any, justified receiving a full 5 stars; Damage Done is arguably a bit more consistent quality-wise than its successor Character, but the latter has a greater share of my favourite Dark Tranquillity moments. The sound isn't all that different between the two; a comparison of "The New Build" with fellow album opener "Final Resistance" on Damage Done shows a lot of the same characteristics on display, albeit with a slightly more aggressive approach. I would say that there is perhaps a slightly greater diversity in approach on Character, particularly in song structuring; the song lengths are very similar on both albums, but tracks such as "Out Of Nothing" and "Lost To Apathy" feel perhaps a tad more expansive than those on Damage Done. I would also say that this album features slightly more direct melodies at times, and slightly more melancholic ones at that, such as those featured in the two previously mentioned tracks, "One Thought" and "Am I 1?", whilst still delivering its fair share of rampaging aggression, such as on "The New Build" and "Through Smudged Lenses". There are perhaps very slight ups and downs in quality on Character, with "Senses Tied" in particular feeling a level below the rest, but also a couple of other tracks not quite matching the excitement of those immediately surrounding them ("Mind Matters", "Dry Run"). The trade-off to this is that a majority of the most personally satisfying moments in the Dark Tranquillity discography can be found here, such as the melodic breaks on "Out Of Nothing", the choruses of "One Thought" and "Am I 1?", and pretty much the entirety of "Lost To Apathy", perhaps the band's crowning achievement. It's also rounded off with a fantastic track in the way of "My Negation", a lengthier song than most from the band, and one with a poised, laidback sensibility. As such, I think Character may be the best record for a novice to first try out Dark Tranquillity, even if Damage Done may just pip it in terms of consistency.

Standout tracks: Out Of Nothing, Lost To Apathy, Am I 1?



2007 - Fiction



Fiction is the last album of what I consider to be the golden age of Dark Tranquillity; at the same time, however, it does represent a slight dip in quality that would be amplified on the pair of albums that followed. Fiction starts off much the same as the last two with one of the fastest and most aggressive tracks on the record, "Nothing For No One", a solid effort, if not quite the juggernaut that something like "Final Resistance" is. Fiction in general is a tad more mid-paced than the last two records, and with arguably greater emphasis on the keyboards in terms of carrying the melody; the approach works well, and the band deliver some absolutely killer cuts, but the overall quality of the album tracks outside of the highlights isn't quite at the same level of those on the two records that preceded it. What it might lack in sheer quality it somewhat makes up for with distinctiveness; between the Gothic male/female vocal duet on "The Mundane And The Magic" and the predominantly clean vocal approach on "Misery's Crown", elements from Projector-era Dark Tranquillity were starting to slip back into the band's sound. Beyond that, the spacious, dynamic approach on "Inside The Particle Storm" is something the band has rarely flirted with previously, making it one of the most interesting tracks in their discography. Beyond that, the band remain capable of writing memorable hooks whether operating a slower ("The Lesser Faith") or faster ("Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)") speeds. Fiction doesn't quite live up to the 'all killer, no filler' brilliance of Damage Done and Character, but it's still an extremely strong piece of work, and arguably the last record in their discography to which that applies.

Standout tracks: Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive), Inside The Particle Storm, The Mundane And The MagicStylistically, there's not a big jump between Fiction and We Are The Void; a mixture of full-pelt and more mid-ranged (leaning more towards the latter this time around) melodeath riffs, keyboards (a bit more prominent), Stanne's harsh but easily comprehensible vocals, and yet this album is widely considered to be a cut or two below the bunch of records that preceded it. So what's the issue? At least for me, even if the songs are very similar in approach, they are consistently less memorable than those on Damage Done thru Fiction, and sometimes the more memorable parts are memorable for the wrong reasons, such as the almost cheesily dramatic keyboards in the chorus of opener "Shadow In Our Blood" and elsewhere. There's nothing inherently bad about this record, and overall it makes for a perfectly decent listen, but it's hard to generate as much enthusiasm for the likes of "Her Silent Language" or "At The Point Of Ignition" as it is even the deepest of album cuts on the preceding records. There are gems here, for sure; the title track kicks off with an instantly attention-grabbing riff, and several songs feature nice riffs, solos or other melodies. It also follows the trend of Haven and Character in finishing off an album full of 3/4-minute songs with a long closer, and "Iridium" (mostly written a decade prior to the album's release) has some of the most exciting moments on the album, with a huge, emphatic chorus particularly standing out. However, if you're looking for a place to start when first discovering this band, I wouldn't make We Are The Void a priority.

Standout tracks: Dream Oblivion, We Are The Void, Iridium



2013 - Construct



Probably the most divisive album in the Dark Tranquillity catalogue, Construct saw a departure from the typical writing approach, with founding member Martin Henriksson greatly reducing his role in the songwriting department on his swansong with the group, and it shows in the music. Construct has a lot of detractors, and I don't think it's nearly as bad as some people say, but set against the DT discography, it's one that can be hard to get excited about. "For Broken Words" shows early on that the cutting, energetic melodeath riffs of past records were no longer a priority, and although they pop up throughout, they're not a major contributor, with a lot more time taken up with more simplistic riffs and greater emphasis on the keyboards. There was also a return to Projector territory in a manner that the band hadn't done since that record with "Uniformity", but they pull it off well. What they pull off less well is delivering consistently engaging album tracks; on too many occasions when I listen to Construct, I find myself growing impatient for something a bit more exciting to come along, particularly on songs such as "Apathetic" or "Endtime Hearts". There's nothing I particularly dislike on Construct, and there are very enjoyable songs featured, such as the evocative "What Only You Know" and brooding closer "None Becoming"; as a complete package, it's a perfectly decent addition to the DT catalogue. However, I wouldn't suggest it as a first port of call, more one to work your way towards if you enjoy Fiction.

Standout tracks: Uniformity, What Only You Know, None Becoming



2016 - Atoma



Heralded as a return to form by some, I wasn't as excited about Atoma as many when it first released, even though it moved closer to their 2000s sound compared with the trends on We Are The Void and Construct; I still don't rate it close to the Damage Done-Character-Fiction holy trinity like certain circles do, but my opinion of it has improved over time. One thing that hasn't changed over time is my love of the opening track; "Encircled" is far and away the best song Dark Tranquillity released in the decade just gone for my money, an atom bomb of an introduction to Atoma, with ripping verse riffs and a huge chorus. Perhaps the sheer immense quality of "Encircled" compared to the rest of the record was what left me somewhat indifferent to Atoma for a while, but there are other strong songs here, particularly in the first half. The title track has a real Fiction vibe to it, in terms of keyboard use and memorability, whilst "Neutrality" features some terrific riffs and lead guitar melodies. As the album progresses, however, I do find my attention consistently begin to wane, with only "Clearing Skies" reliably regaining it with its incredibly hooky main riff. Overall, Atoma features a lot of what made Dark Tranquillity very popular in the 2000s, so those that enjoy that period of their career are likely to find a lot to enjoy here, even if I feel it falls short of replicating the success of the best albums from that period.

Standout tracks: Encircled, Neutrality, Clearing Skies





So that's my summary of the long and predominantly highly successful career of Dark Tranquillity to date. As we wait to see whether Moment is another gem or one that falls closer to the middle of the pack when it comes to their discography, hopefully this will be a useful entry point for anyone hoping to familiarize themselves with this titan of the melodeath genre. If you work through these albums and still aren't satisfied, as mentioned before there's plenty of EPs to try out as well; however, these albums should keep you busy for a while.



 



Written on 26.10.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 21   Visited by: 189 users
26.10.2020 - 20:45
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Of course I would've added some extra material to cover, but actually everything extra interesting is in the early EP and demos, which are conveniently packaged into the Yesterworlds compilation, hence why I had mentioned that.

The debut album vocalist switchup with In Flames was always a fun trivia, and also why that is my favorite In Flames album. What do you think about that one?

Pretty good live band.

Now with Devin Townsend and Dark Tranquillity covered, we need a Dream Theater article to wrap up the DTs.
----
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 20:48
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
To me this all is about skydancer. Trought the ebony archways, Bolt of the blazing gold, Crimson winds, shadow duet. It has crushing speed riffs like mad autumn wind Howling before first snow storm. Drumming is insane, like Aurora is dancing in mid winter skies in mid October.
Following 2 are ate cool melodic death classic, agresive, melodic beasts as at the gates, the moaning, the everdawn, gates of ishtar, scheiten first. Just 4 examples from north.
I love projecor.
Then i listen as new albums, will do it soon, but never on regular play list. I hoped Christofer will bring some old school agresive melody into, but....... Let classic lives on,

Radu can fix ep hehe

Great description about skydancer, but you miss few killer songs.

You miss action, imo its their best song ever and lyrically as well
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 20:51
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 26.10.2020 at 20:45

Of course I would've added some extra material to cover, but actually everything extra interesting is in the early EP and demos, which are conveniently packaged into the Yesterworlds compilation, hence why I had mentioned that.


Well now with your little plug here, anyone wanting to know where to go next can try out Yesterworlds.

Written by RaduP on 26.10.2020 at 20:45

The debut album vocalist switchup with In Flames was always a fun trivia, and also why that is my favorite In Flames album. What do you think about that one?


It's a great piece of trivia, used it when I had to do a quiz round for a metal quiz during lockdown. Lunar Strain is good, I prefer to Skydancer for sure, but I'd probably choose to listen to anything from The Jester Race to Reroute To Remain inclusive before it; I'd pick Lunar Strain over anything after RTR though

Written by RaduP on 26.10.2020 at 20:45

Now with Devin Townsend and Dark Tranquillity covered, we need a Dream Theater article to wrap up the DTs.


I could probably do that as well, although if I'd written it from my perspective as a Dream Theater fan 10 years ago it would've been a lot more positive, I don't listen to Dream Theater much these days. However I've been planning to do this Dark Tranquillity article for years without ever getting round to it.
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 21:00
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 26.10.2020 at 20:51

I could probably do that as well, although if I'd written it from my perspective as a Dream Theater fan 10 years ago it would've been a lot more positive, I don't listen to Dream Theater much these days. However I've been planning to do this Dark Tranquillity article for years without ever getting round to it.

Idea: a Dream Theater article that also includes everything Mike Portnoy was part of.
----
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 21:01
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 26.10.2020 at 21:00

Written by musclassia on 26.10.2020 at 20:51

I could probably do that as well, although if I'd written it from my perspective as a Dream Theater fan 10 years ago it would've been a lot more positive, I don't listen to Dream Theater much these days. However I've been planning to do this Dark Tranquillity article for years without ever getting round to it.

Idea: a Dream Theater article that also includes everything Mike Portnoy was part of.


I mean, that would involve an awful lot of time being spent listening to and summarizing mediocre (or worse) records based on his last decade of activity
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 21:11
MetalManic
"There are arguments to be made that The Gallery or Character are the best places to start with the band, but Damage Done may have a stronger case than either; it's simply a stellar piece of work."

So true. Oddly enough, last evening I was having a discussion with a friend about which album I should introduce to another friend, who was interested in checking this band out. We both concluded that 'Damage Done was' indeed the best choice.
----
MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 22:39
musclassia
Written by MetalManic on 26.10.2020 at 21:11

"There are arguments to be made that The Gallery or Character are the best places to start with the band, but Damage Done may have a stronger case than either; it's simply a stellar piece of work."

So true. Oddly enough, last evening I was having a discussion with a friend about which album I should introduce to another friend, who was interested in checking this band out. We both concluded that 'Damage Done was' indeed the best choice.


The Gallery, Damage Done and Character are definitely the 3 key records for me; each has their own strengths but for sheer consistent excellence DD is really hard to top
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 23:37
jblanco
I've had a hard time getting into the albums past fiction, but thanks to your great breakdown I'll get them another listen. This is one of the bands that was an instant love for me. Even though these days I don't listen to much melodeath other than them and At The Gates, I remember hearing Monochromatic Stains in a promo disk back in 2002 and it hit me instantly.
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 23:39
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
I only like this because it aligns almost perfectly with my own ratings 👀
----
I have no memory of this place.
Loading...
26.10.2020 - 23:57
musclassia
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.10.2020 at 23:39

I only like this because it aligns almost perfectly with my own ratings 👀


you say that like it's a bad thing
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 00:15
MetalManic
Written by jblanco on 26.10.2020 at 23:37

I've had a hard time getting into the albums past fiction, but thanks to your great breakdown I'll get them another listen. This is one of the bands that was an instant love for me. Even though these days I don't listen to much melodeath other than them and At The Gates, I remember hearing Monochromatic Stains in a promo disk back in 2002 and it hit me instantly.



Same here. I have all the albums beyond Fiction, but man...it's tough to beat that album and those before it.
----
MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 00:21
Darkside Momo
Retired
Well, well, well...
I regard Skydancer as slightly better than what you give it credit (man, "Shadow Duet" is the real highlight here, with Mikael Stanne answering Anders Friden), but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to discover the band
Totally agree about The Gallery
The Mind's I, however... this is the one I like the least. Apart from the excellent "Hedon" (with Friden as guest) and fantastic "Insanity's Crescendo", this is just a transition album that's not really good at anything...
And thankfully that changed with Projector, still a definitive highlight in their discography for me. Not the best entryway to DT unless you're coming from mellow musical grounds, as you said, but otherwise in their top three
Totally agree with you about Haven
Quote:
As such, I think Character may be the best record for a novice to first try out Dark Tranquillity, even if Damage Done may just pip it in terms of consistency.

Well I'd say the exact opposite. I absolutely love both albums, but I find Damage Done to be more accessible than Character, because it's slightly catchier and to the point while Character's songwriting is a bit more convoluted... And also because I don't think there are any low moments on Character, contrary to Damage Done (the title track, and to be honest I never understood why "Cathode Ray Sunshine" was so highly praised)
Agreed on both Fiction and We Are The Void.
Construct, however, has grown on me quite a bit, and while I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner - I love "For Broken Words" but it sure is a purposefully anticlimatic way to start an album - I'd rate it higher in the end.
And, well, Atoma would stand between Fiction and Damage Done to me, great album (even if some songs on the second half aren't that great), catchy and agressive. I think it's a very good entry point to DT's discography!
----
My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 10:49
musclassia
Written by Darkside Momo on 27.10.2020 at 00:21

The Mind's I, however... this is the one I like the least. Apart from the excellent "Hedon" (with Friden as guest) and fantastic "Insanity's Crescendo", this is just a transition album that's not really good at anything...


It's not one I find myself revisiting, but on the rare occasions that I do play it, I find it much better than I ever remember.

Written by Darkside Momo on 27.10.2020 at 00:21

Well I'd say the exact opposite. I absolutely love both albums, but I find Damage Done to be more accessible than Character, because it's slightly catchier and to the point while Character's songwriting is a bit more convoluted... And also because I don't think there are any low moments on Character, contrary to Damage Done (the title track, and to be honest I never understood why "Cathode Ray Sunshine" was so highly praised)


Perhaps, I feel like there's a greater number of memorable melodic hooks on Character than DD, but the writing is more convoluted. And slander, Cathode Ray Sunshine is super super fun
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 10:59
Enemy of Reality
I mostly agree with your scores. And i'm glad that someone else thinks Character is a pinnacle in DT's career.
What i love about this band is that despite moving through a sound that has brought many bands to creative halts, they manage to come up with some form of reinvention for better or for worst. Projector did that in 99, Haven did it in 2000 and Fiction did it in 2007. However, it's undeniable that after Fiction, DT lost a bit of their magical touch. Atoma was a cool album with a few good songs, but when compared to previous albums it does not have that aura of reinvention or pushing the envelope further. I prefer when a band risks a little bit into uncharted waters and releases a weird album (Haven or Fiction) than putting out a samey samey album like Construct.

I'd grade their discography like this:
Skydancer 7/10
The Gallery 9/10
The Mind's I 7/10
Projector 9/10
Haven 7/10
Damage Done 9/10
Character 9/10
Fiction 8/10
We Are the Void 7/10
Construct 6/10
Atoma 7/10

And if you're just getting into DT, this is my best of DT playlist
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1hSR1Fz7YZPPUzsijO2oWx?si=4lgAYbSURm-whoVFm9VZFA
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 12:20
nikarg
Mod
Nice work
I am not a fan of the Gothenburg sound in general, I find it too polished for my liking. This explains why I'd rate Skydancer much higher than you, and why I consider The Gallery to be very comfortably DT's top album.
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 18:06
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by nikarg on 27.10.2020 at 12:20

Nice work
I am not a fan of the Gothenburg sound in general, I find it too polished for my liking. This explains why I'd rate Skydancer much higher than you, and why I consider The Gallery to be very comfortably DT's top album.


Neither do I, I like melodic death metal and its not same, IMO band was pure melo dm in first 3 albums
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 18:41
EricAxel36
Lost to Apathy is my favourite DT song, but I think Damage Done is the better record from top to bottom.

I also prefer Construct to We Are The Void.

Haven lower rating, Skydancer higher rating.

Pretty good breakdown, I agree with most of it!
Loading...
27.10.2020 - 18:55
musclassia
Written by EricAxel36 on 27.10.2020 at 18:41

Lost to Apathy is my favourite DT song, but I think Damage Done is the better record from top to bottom.

I also prefer Construct to We Are The Void.

Haven lower rating, Skydancer higher rating.

Pretty good breakdown, I agree with most of it!


Lost to Apathy is probaby my favourite DT song too; Encircled and Inside The Particle Storm are the only ones I can really see topping it. I think Character and DD are so close in quality that having either over the other makes complete sense.

In a previous discog playthrough I would've felt the same about Construct, but on this most recent revisit I was underwhelmed.

I think the Skydancer rating is probably the one that will have most disagreement; I just find the writing too choppy, I've never liked it that much, but I can see why others would disagree.

Thanks!
Loading...
28.10.2020 - 15:41
WorpeX
This is great! Almost perfectly matches what I feel about the band. The only changes I would make would be to make DD the 5* and Character the 4.5*. I think its all-around the better record but they're both absolutely incredible! I also think some of my all-time favorite DT tracks didn't get much love in the highlights like The Endless Feed, Misery's Crown and The Fatalist.

Anyway, great write up and I really enjoyed reading it. I still haven't given Haven a go yet, that's my next stop for this band. I've heard Wonder's At Your Feet live many times and love it so i'm sure i'll love the rest of the album too!
Loading...
28.10.2020 - 15:53
musclassia
Written by WorpeX on 28.10.2020 at 15:41

This is great! Almost perfectly matches what I feel about the band. The only changes I would make would be to make DD the 5* and Character the 4.5*. I think its all-around the better record but they're both absolutely incredible! I also think some of my all-time favorite DT tracks didn't get much love in the highlights like The Endless Feed, Misery's Crown and The Fatalist.

Anyway, great write up and I really enjoyed reading it. I still haven't given Haven a go yet, that's my next stop for this band. I've heard Wonder's At Your Feet live many times and love it so i'm sure i'll love the rest of the album too!


Misery's Crown was one of my introductions to the band alongside The Mundane And The Magic and Focus Shift, so I do feel warmly towards it, but it's probably in my bottom half on Fiction, whilst The Fatalist is one I've never really gotten into. Funny that you mention The Endless Feed though, that song has been in a semiregular loop in my head since I posted this; it is a fantastic track no question, it's just it's squeezed between two of my top 5 DT songs (Out Of Nothing and Lost To Apathy) so it's very difficult to stand out.

Haven's a good one - my opinion on it has fluctuated between a 3* and a 4* in the years since I've come across it, but it starts and ends very strongly if nothing else; The Wonders At Your Feet is great and At Loss For Words is another strong contender for my top 5-10 Dark Tranquillity songs
Loading...
03.11.2020 - 01:18
Batlord666
Great write up! Dark Tranquility has been a favorite of mine since I discovered metal. I wouldn't agree with you on every review: I'm a huge fan of Construct and I've never quite understood why it's not well-liked in general. But, regardless, I love their sound Projector and post. The gloomy, industrial electronica they mix in to hugely memorable yet still melancholy melo-death just absolutely does it for me. They're one of those bands where almost every record is a favorite at any given moment, aside from the couple I don't really enjoy: The Mind's I, Haven, and We Are The Void.
Loading...

Hits total: 2184 | This month: 1174