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Dark Tranquillity



UPC: 194398282312

Format: LP

Regular price $39.95
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Melodic death metal pioneers Dark Tranquillity, part of Gothenburg, Sweden's unholy trinity with In Flames and At the Gates, are the only one of those bands able to maintain anything like an original sonic identity, despite personnel changes and the evolution of recording technology. Moment is Dark Tranquillity's 12th studio album. Though its cover bears another stunning Niklas Sundin design, it is the band's first outing without him as lead guitarist. He has been replaced by veterans Johan Reinholdz (Nonexist, Andromeda) and Christopher Amott (Arch Enemy, Armageddon). The set was produced by keyboardist Martin Brändström, mixed by David Castillo and Jens Bogren, and mastered by the latter. Also compelling is the band's sense of economy here. Though 50-minutes long, none of the set's 12 tracks reaches the five-minute mark.
The new guitar firepower propels the album's earliest tracks such as opener "Phantom Days" with its processional meld of melodic death and black metal tropes (albeit with layered keyboard arpeggios from Brändström). "Identical to None" is a sprint with vaguely blackened thrash resulting in plenty of six-string crunch and burn with kinetic solos. The gears shift on "The Dark Unbroken." Frontman Mikael Stanne moves between his signature dirty vocals and clean, mournful ones, and momentarily sounds like Katatonia's Jonas Renkse. Melody is more pronounced as keyboards and guitar entwine in the bridge. "Remain in the Unknown" weds sweeping death metal, gothic atmospherics, and progressive layers of keyboards and chord changes in a darkly majestic anthem. The album's second half reveals more of the newcomers' influence on songwriting and arrangement. "A Drawn Out Exit" offers unexpectedly progressive time signatures and stop-and-start vamps as melo-death and technical death metal collide. The charging "Eyes of the World" not only paints one of the most imaginatively aggressive backdrops in Dark Tranquillity's catalog, but it also contains one of the band's strongest choruses to date, balancing raw growls with catchy yet sorrowful clean singing. "Failstate"'s careening, synth-drenched intro and refrain juxtaposes prog metal with overdriven, chugging death metal guitars and drums in a primal attack. "Empires of Lost Time" is schizophrenic, wedding progressive melodies and cadence shifts to sinister vocals, power metal riffs, and unhinged tempos. With the exception of distorted guitars, the intensely elegiac closer "In Truth Divided" barely registers as metal. Redolent with a truckload of gated keyboards and guided by a processional tom-tom, Stanne's anguished clean vocals hover above cascading dynamics with funereal grief and resolve. While Moment bears a sonic imprint easily recognizable as Dark Tranquillity's, its songwriting, arranging, production, and performances are rife with fresh inspiration and creativity. ~ Thom Jurek