Dark Tranquillity – Moment Review

Century Media Records

Progenitors of the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound, Dark Tranquillity return with Moment. The band are fast approaching their 30th year. Their blending of aggression and melody has always been at the forefront of their sound. However, the band have seemed to have been steadily building on the blueprint that was 1999’s Projector.

With that album Mikael Stanne began to make greater use of clean vocals. The album also introduced more keys and electronic elements. As already mentioned, Projector was a sign of things to come. Moment relies much more on electronics/keys and clean vocals. Welcome to the modern era of Dark Tranquillity.

Moment is the logical step from their last album, Atoma, released four years ago. The biggest change since then is the guitar section. The band welcomes new members Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Nonexist). While there is a common thread that runs through melodic death metal, especially the Swedish variety, don’t expect the riffs to sound much like Arch Enemy or Nonexist.

Their guitar sound reflects the trademark DT sound. Nowhere does this ring truer than opener “Phantom Days.” The two mesh well with dueling melodic leads or a single lead soaring over chunky rhythms. The guitars are often used as a harmonious tool, but there are raging moments as heard on “Identical to None” and “Failsafe.” Of course, the two don’t keep their fingers pulling the trigger, heavy parts create dynamic shifts in the action.

There is a lot of depression and gloom in DT songs, and Moment definitely gives off those vibes. Stanne is one of metal’s best poets, offering insight into the human psyche with an ability that outweighs most writers in this genre. His clean vocal passages have an indelible way of hooking the listener with phrases like those heard on “Eyes of the World” and “The Dark Unbroken.” Martin Brändström’s keyboards cast melancholic atmosphere throughout the album, while adding goth touches through electronic sounds. One of the best examples of Stanne blending his voice with Brändström’s keys comes at the end of the album on “In Truth Divided.”

Moment is a modern Dark Tranquillity album, through and through. While the songs don’t resonate as much as Projector, so many of those aspects remain. It requires a certain mood. While there are some definite heavy parts with snarling vocals, the album tends to lean towards melody. Crushing riffs and speed have become ever less apparent in the DT camp. They’ve become more of a melodic band than a death metal band.

Those interested in hearing more of their death metal side should look up early recordings such as Of Chaos and Eternal Night or The Gallery. Moment could benefit from more speed and heaviness; still, it offers so much of what makes the band endearing. It is sure to find the hearts of modern DT fans.

(released November 20, 2020 on Century Media Records)

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Watch Dark Tranquillity – “The Dark Unbroken” Video

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