The early 1990’s saw the birth of melodic death metal, or “Gothenburg metal” if you will. In Flames had “The Jester Race,” Carcass had “Heartwork,” At The Gates had “Slaughter of the Soul” and Dark Tranquility had “The Gallery.” The difference that Dark Tranquility had from the other bands was that they kept putting out great albums. There have been many imitators throughout the years, but to this day, Dark Tranquility is still the reigning champion of melodic death metal. With every release, they pushed themselves by trying more sounds and different techniques. With the release of “Projector,” they started a new era for the band, introducing a more progressive and experimental sound, using clean, baritone vocals in some songs. It wasn’t their best album, but it was a show-piece that proved that they could tear down any confinement that they had and still have a solid sound. Their new abilities brought about masterpieces such as “Damage Done” and “Fiction.” For the longest time, “Damage Done” and “The Gallery” have been the most talked about albums between fans. Well now, there is a new one to add to the “talked about” list. Their tenth album, “Construct,” is Dark Tranquility at their best. This album combines all the good parts from previous efforts and creates an amazing aural experience.
The album opens up with “For Broken Words,” which explodes into a frenzy of melodic guitars and growling that never lets up except for the slow, beautifully played bridge. “For Broken Words” is an incredible track and one of the best on the album. “The Science of Noise,” “State of Trust,” and “Uniformity” sound like songs off of “Projector” that are perfectly refined and have more layers. “Uniformity” is one of the slower songs on the album with more clean vocals than screaming, but it works so well. Stanne’s singing voice has never sounded this good. Singing on death metal records is a touchy subject for me, but he nails it. “Apathetic” and “Endtime Hearts” are incredible tracks and the best ones on the album along with “For Broken Words.” The beginning riff in “Apathetic” is just crushing and it brings me back to the “Damage Done” days. In “Endtime Hearts,” the chugging riffs combined with the gorgeous keyboard create an epic sound they haven’t reached since their song “The Lesser Faith.” The last track, “None Becoming,” might be their most ambitious song to date. It’s the most melodic, atmospheric, and progressive song they’ve ever written and it’s a great way to close the album.
The album as a whole is sleeker and more refined than anything they’ve ever done in the past. The layers of instruments create a new sound for the band that no one can imitate. Even though I’ve been comparing “Contstruct” to “Projector” and “Damage Done,” don’t be fooled, they’re not one in the same. In all actuality, it’s the freshest sound they’ve had in years. I was a big fan of “Fiction” but this blows it out of the water. It has everything that a Dark Tranquility album should have, and then some. The production is tight and the song-writing is better than ever. It’s their most progressive and experimental release in their twenty plus years, but it still retains the Dark Tranquility sound that fans know and love. This album is mind-blowing. “Construct” is a beautiful, thought provoking journey that should not be missed.
- Brian DuBois
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