Dark Tranquillity are a band well known for their part in the development of the famous ‘Gothenburg sound,’ alongside other iconic Swedish acts in the movement, such as In Flames and At The Gates.
The sound is characterised by its emphasis on melody, unlike its darker counterparts in strains of ‘pure’ death metal.
Construct is something of a landmark for Dark Tranquillity, as it is their tenth studio album. It also, according to the band, will usher in a whole new era for them, in terms of musicality. Songs have been sharpened up, in an effort to refine their sound and keep a pioneering place at the cutting edge of the genre.
Dark Tranquillity certainly don’t shy away from experimentation, and their music incorporates both bleakness, equivocal to the slow shuddering pace of Katatonia, and catchy twists in their construction of melody. What sets them apart from the other bands of the Gothenburg scene is their approach, which is distinctly more progressive than the thrashier At The Gates, or In Flames‘ trademark melodic death metal sound. They have a good system of dynamic writing, which incorporates programmed electronics and atmospheric layerings to great effect.
After ten albums, you might think that there’s a good chance that enthusiasm has waned. But Dark Tranquillity have not, by any means, released a lazy record just to make up the numbers. It’s not exactly a surprising record, for all I spout about prog nuances, but it’s certainly a decent listen – even if they run the risk of cliché. The original Gothenburg elements will forever haunt the tracks of Construct. All the same, the choruses are as powerful as ever, and it would be an acceptable album for anyone who has ever enjoyed melodic death metal (i.e. everyone who has an ounce of sense).
Particularly good tracks from the record include the horribly titled yet rather good Endtime Hearts, and melancholy State Of Trust. Their record label, Century Media, have released a promotional video for For Broken Words, which is the first track of Construct. Watch it below:
Construct is the hard evidence that Dark Tranquillity‘s illustrious career is definitely not over. While there’s been some concern over the quality of recent In Flames albums, and At The Gates seem to be perpetually embarking on farewell tours (though there have been whispers of a new album), Dark Tranquillity are still pacing studio floors, laying down some really solid material.
Maybe it’s not really the turning point they claim, but it’s still a reminder that they’re a really good band, who have been around for two decades and have been highly influential on the melodic metal circuit.
Fans who have followed them since their early days will be happy with this new album, but it might also prove attractive to groups of people with modern tastes.