Over the past ten years Dark Tranquility have become one of the most consistent bands in modern metal. What’s more, they’ve managed to maintain a level of relevance beyond that of their peers (ahem… In flames). To have done all that while only making subtle changes to their sound is an achievement that should be applauded. In 2013, along comes an album to break the mould: Construct.
Opener for broken words showcases a darker, more mature side of DT. Listening to it feels like being engulfed by a thundercloud. The solo in the silence of noise feels like a warm ray of sunshine when it turns up half way through the track, though the respite is only temporary, as the of the song feels like a blizzard. Uniformity finds vocalist Mikeal Stanne in imperious form. His clean vocals have never sounded more earnest, or more emotional. While we’re at it his growls are pretty epic to. If Construct was a volcano, then the silence in between and apathetic would be its molten core. Both tracks would have sat comfortably on fiction or we are the void. The solo in apathetic is a potent reminder that DT can still shred as well as, if not better than, many of the young upstarts they helped inspire two decades ago (yes they’re that old!). What only you know is a slow, thoughtful track featuring lyrics that will resonate with any long-time headbanger. Although its not the strongest cut on the disc, endtime hearts still has an ingredient to offer to the pot in the form of some industrial seasoning. State of trust leans heavily on electronics and sounds as if it could have come off of character. Weight of the end and none becoming round the album off in style. The keys in the latter track are a master stroke. Somehow, DT manage to sound both depressing and uplifting at the same time.
I think that’s the key to this album, it’s an emotional journey just as much as it auditory one. Simply put, this is the best thing DT have done for a decade. This is the sound of a band reinventing themselves. Here’s to the next ten years lads.