Dark Tranquillity – Moment (Album Review)

It is a daunting task for any band to remain relevant, let alone dominant, for over thirty years. The trials and tribulations often prove too much for even the most successful groups to overcome at times. Proving they are up for the challenge, Melodic Death Metal trailblazers, Dark Tranquillity, are set to release their long awaited twelfth studio album Moment on Friday, November 20, 2020 via Century Media.

Looking back, it has been four years since their last Swedish Grammy-nominated release, Atoma. Sustaining some changes in recent years, the band currently consists of longtime members Mikael Stanne (lead vocals), Andrew Jivarp (drums), Martian Brändström (keyboards, programming), and Anders Iwers (bass). Additionally, after founding Guitarist Niclas Sundlin announced his departure from the band in 2016 to focus on family, Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Nonexist) were made permanent members of the Dark Tranquillity following their stint as touring members.

Coming together for Moment, the new collection consists of 12 new songs that were recorded at Nacksving Studios and Rogue Music by Martin Brändström and then mixed/mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios. These factors in mind, “Phantom Days,” the first pre-released single begins the journey with upbeat drums, symphonic riffs and guttural death growls. This is followed by “The Dark Unbroken” which pulls you in with some soft keyboards and drums that build up to the first verse. Both powerful pieces of the early part of the album, another highlight comes with Amott’s heavy riffs and Jivarp’s intense drums steadily leading up to a guitar solo that is beyond epic for “A Drawn Out Exit.”

Now, if you are a Dark Tranquillity fan, you are well aware that Stanne has mixed and balanced clean and harsher vocals through the years. Alternating them from album to album, while some fans may be split on Stanne’s clean vocals, there are several songs on Moment that really bring them to the forefront; “Remain in the Unknown,” “Ego Deception,” “Standstill,” along with “Eyes of the World.” And if you are someone who is less of a fan of this approach, not to worry, because these tracks certainly do not lack any aggression. That in mind, another track sure to delight is “Ego Deception” where Stanne alternates between raspy death growls and melancholy clean-vocal verses. Emulating a Jekyll & Hyde vibe, it sounds like an altercation between himself in darkness and light seems to culminate with evil emerging victorious.

Lastly, as the album comes to a close, the penultimate “Empires Lost to Time,” arrives with bright guitars and deep bass, before “In Truth Divided” ends the album on a lighter note with Stanne’s hauntingly beautiful vocals proving to be the apex.

Overall, three decades and counting, Dark Tranquillity are still the kings of the European Melodic Death Metal scene. Well worth the wait, Moment unleashes strong lyrics backed by the intense riffs and killer double bass drums fans have come to know and love from these Swedish masters. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Moment 4 of 5 stars.

Dark Tranquillity will be performing their upcoming album in its entirety live from Gothenburg’s famed venue Stora Teatern. The full show will be streamed online on Saturday, November 21st at 2pm EST/20:00 CET – a day after the album makes its debut. Tickets and merchandise are available on Tickster.com


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