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Dark Tranquility: Construct

There once was a time, not that long ago actually, when Dark Tranquility were arguably the leaders of the Swedish melodic death metal scene. With albums such as Skydancer, The Gallery, Damage Done, and Character (among others), the Gothenburg band have forever cemented themselves as one of the most important acts the genre has ever seen. However, recent releases such as We Are the Void and Fiction have seen their furious attack being tempered somewhat by gothic and industrial tones, and that trend continues here on their latest Construct.

That's not to say that their two previous releases, nor Construct for that matter, aren't solid albums containing at least some of the trademark Dark Tranquility sounds. Vocalist Mikael Stanne still sounds fantastic here, his death metal growls remain some of the best in the business, and he shows a melodic side to his vocal attack on "Uniformity" that really meshes well with the extreme part of his delivery. The problem however with modern day Dark Tranquility is that the songs they are writing now aren't driven by riffs anymore, instead the focus of these songs are constructed by atmospheric keyboards and layers of guitar textures rather than bombastic, punishing riffage which was something they did so well back on their earlier albums. Quite a few of these tunes, as well done and memorable as they are, could have been so much more successful if the band just concentrated less on colors & textures and more on impact. Tracks such as "The Silence in Between", "The Science of Noise" and "For Broken Words" are all solid tunes, and extremely melodic, but where's the classic DT ferocity? It's not until "Apathetic" that the raging death metal even comes into play, and sadly, there's very little of this kind of material on the album. Take away Stanne's growls, and you would have a very artsy, melodic, atmospheric modern metal album, and to be honest, a pretty good one at that.

For some, there's not going to be enough excitement or brutality here on Construct, as the band seems to be content to continue their move into more melodic territory. However, if you aren't fully on board with all the different facets of extreme metal, but don't mind some death growls mixed in with your heavy music, there will certainly be a lot to like here. I'm kind of on the fence; there's some truly well thought out, memorable material here, and while I miss some of the classic Dark Tranquility savagery and dread the thought of this band becoming the Marillion of melodic death metal (prog fans will certainly know what I mean by that statement), there's a sense that the Swedes are really growing up and maturing, and what they have on display here is where they are at now, with possibly no chance of turning back. And, to be honest, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Track Listing
01. For Broken Words
02. The Science Of Noise
03. Uniformity
04. The Silence In Between
05. Apathetic
06. What Only You Know
07. Endtime Hearts
08. State Of Trust
09. Weight Of The End
10. None Becoming
11. Immemorial
12. Photon Dreams

Added: July 4th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2027
Language: english

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