Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

70 guests

Welcome to our newest member, Nlcookuk

Dark Tranquillity - Moment Award winner

Dark Tranquillity
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 30 November 2020, 6:53 AM

In case you have been living under a rock, DARK TRANQUILLITY is the original melodic death metal band, forming way back in 1989.  As for me, their music has been with me for a long time. Way back in 2002, after knowing just a few songs of theirs, I bought "Damage Done," and the rest is history. After devouring their previous albums and following each subsequent one, their music has continued to speak to me like a voice in the dark. Through three children, my college years, and even my wedding (the groomsmen and I walked down the aisle to their music), DARK TRANQUILLITY has been by my side.

For obvious reasons 2020 has been a year that most of us want to forget. I could name all those reasons but even at its worst, there is still some good in this world. You just have to seize your moment (tee hee), as it were. DARK TRANQUILLITY's own music and lyrics have challenged us for thirty years now. Vocalist Mikael Stanne always asks a lot of the listener but, perhaps, he is asking more from us than he ever has.

For me, finding a moment of clarity in the darkness was easy. My wife gave birth to our third child. That, of course, comes with its own challenges but nothing worth doing is ever easy. But I think that is the point. No matter what, the dark will not be unbroken (sorry, had to say it). The key is to not defeat the darkness but instead to not let it beat you. The bad times, the dark…all that is wrong in the world will always be there. But so will the light you carry within. So will all that is right in the world.

Among other things, I feel that is what "Moment" is asking of me on a personal level—–find the greatness in the adversity that will always be present. The stress, anxiety, depression, hate, fear…all these bad things that we  battle every day are as part of us as the  good things. But what "Moment," asks is that we face these monsters head on. We don't need them but we can use them to find the light at the end of the tunnel. For we will always walk in darkness—darkness is too easy. The real experience is making it through and grabbing that piece of light, moment, clarity and holding on to it and let it pull you to greener passages. That is the hard part but the part that is worth it all.

But there is always a broader world beyond our own and I don't think that has ever been such a present idea than right now, in these times. I listen to songs like "Standstill" and "Remain In The Unknown," and hear a call to action. We are more than ourselves. Every loved one, every friend, every stranger. We are simply all in this together, all on this Earth as one. "Moment" is an important album for the band as well. It is their 12th studio full length album! There are thousands of bands who never release more than a few demos. To make it 30 years and 12 albums is a big deal in and of itself.

However, this is their first album without founding member Niklas Sundin. In previous years, he took a step back with song writing and touring so, sad as it is, it wasn't a huge surprise when his departure was announced. Still, his contributions to the band, to the scene, and to music itself have cemented his legend. Thank you for the music and I wish you nothing but luck and success with your future endeavors.  He does continue to do artwork and other things for the band—the cover to “Moment,” is their best artwork yet. Yet another change is the introduction to the band's two touring guitarists Johan Reinholdz and Christopher Amott as official members. Both lend their unique styles to “Moment” and they go along way in making this album sound very different from their previous albums.

Although both albums share a more straightforward approach to song writing, “Moment” and “Atoma” are like night and day. Whereas “Atoma” was a dark and brooding album, “Moment” is considerably more atmospheric and "upbeat" in its approach. Sure, it does have its brooding tracks but even those are more dynamic than some precious efforts. As I said before, the very melodic guitars go a long way in creating this sound but Martin is on fire as well. The synergy he has with the guitars is nothing short of memorizing. Often times, they all play as one. Sometimes it is even hard to tell what is a guitar riff or keys..which is just perfectly fine for an album such as this. On top of all that, his production really boosts the album—this is the band’s best sounding album by far.

The opening track, "Phantom Days," hits home because it is a song about these strange times we live in. It is immediately obvious that Mikael's voice only gets better with age. His growls are controlled ferocity but with intelligence behind all the power. The song itself is nicely paced with a catchy as hell chorus. The keyboard riffs are a nice touch as well. "Transient" has guitar melodies and harmonies that will be stuck in your head for days. Once again, the chorus is out of this world catchy which seems to be a common element on this album. Jivarp and Anders lay down a solid framework for this one, thus once again proving how underrated they are in some circles.

"Identical To None" is laden with lyrics that make you think and guitar/keyboard synergy that is untouchable. The songs mid section where that nice guitar lick with post metal influences comes through while Mikael growls "The frustration of never being seen," is spine tingling awesome. "The Dark Unbroken," is the first song to feature clean vocals–Mikael's cleans are the best in the business and improve upon each album.  The guitar solo is emotional and nails what the song is going for. "Remain In The Unknown," is my favorite on the album. It is a beautiful gothic song with very well done cleans and lyrical verses that hit right in the feels. The chorus has that perfect balance between rage and clarity.

"Standstill," is a call to arms and another song where Mikael's cleans prove to be just as potent as his growls. The guitar and bass during the chorus are worthy of pressing the replay button over and over. "Ego Deception" and "A Drawn Out Exit" are interesting in their placement together. While both arresting experiences, the former alternates between heavy stanzas and catchy choruses. The latter is all grit and darkness, their most harrowing song in years and another personal favorite. The combination of two very different tracks side by side is present again in the next two tracks, "Eyes of the World" and "Failstate." "Eyes…"is an ear worm that got stuck in my head for days. I loved the unexpected excitement and tempo change before the second repeating of the chorus. The solo rips too.  "Failstate" is a fast and furious song gets to the point fairly quickly. I can see this song ripping up the most pits for sure.

"Empire Lost To Time" is another personal favorite song because it has a sort of tragic feel within the lyrics and the growls are drop dead deadly. The final track, "In Truth Divided,"  continues their tradition of making the last track very special. In short, this song alone is a journey and must be heard. Mikael sings all cleans on this track but does so in a moving, poignant way. The atmosphere reminds me of ambient tinged doom.

DARK TRANQUILLITY's "Moment" is the album I need this year.  Hell ,we all need it. Listening to this album is like coming home or seeing a friend that you haven’t crossed path with for years. Is it their best album? Of course not. DARK TRANQUILLITY are the innovators of their style, the first of their kind. As such, their classic albums have long since been cemented in the annals of time. But "Moment" is yet again another modern masterful example of not only melodic death metal itself but also a band that is able to push their sound into new dimensions while still sticking to their roots.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Phantom Days
2. Transient
3. Identical To None
4. The Dark Unbroken
5. Remain In The Unknown
6. Standstill
7. Ego Deception
8. A Drawn Out Exit
9. Eyes Of The World
10. Failstate
11. Empires Lost To Time
12. In Truth Divided
Anders Jivarp – Drums
Mikael Stanne – Vocals
Martin Brandstrom – Electronics/Keys
Anders Iwers – Bass
Johan Reinholdz – Guitars
Christopher Amott - Guitars
Record Label: Century Media Records


You do not have permission to rate

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green