ALBUM REVIEW: Dark Tranquillity – Moment

Melodic Death Metal pioneers, Dark Tranquillity, release their twelfth studio album Moment (Century Media Records). The twelve-song album began recording shortly after founding member Niklas Sundin announced his departure from the band (Editor’s note: although he is still involved with the band behind the scenes) on their social media platforms, after touring members, Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda) formally joined Mikael Stanne, Anders Jivarp, Martin Brändström, and Anders Iwers as part of the official dT lineup.

Overall, longtime fans will rejoice in knowing that despite the lineup changes, this album is a cohesive and mostly unsurprising entry into the dT discography. The album, from start to finish, is a solid addition to the genre, with generous use of keyboards, growls, and clean vocals, harmonies, and melodic elements strewn throughout. As a matter of fact, most tracks, like the album”s first single, “Phantom Days,” “Transient” and “Identical to None,” carry over the Atoma (Century Media) sound so seamlessly that they could have just as easily been added as bonus tracks to their 2016 Grammy-nominated album. Beyond a handful of guitar solos, I found it otherwise difficult to pinpoint how, or whether, Amott or Reinholdz” contributions actually impacted the writing on Moment.

Whether this is concerning or relieving is likely going to be a matter of some debate no matter who you ask. Stylistically, dT found their niche decades ago; it would be jarring and unthinkable to see them suddenly pivot. However, I found that the album dragged a bit due to the lack of novelty; tracks like “The Dark Unbroken” and “Empires Lost to Time” are so safe, so indistinguishable from any number of songs that dT has released over the last thirty years of their existence, that they become entirely forgettable almost as soon as the track is over. That being said, the album is certainly far from unredeemable; many interesting tracks fall squarely into that iconic dT sound without needlessly bloating the album. “Remain in the Unknown,” for example, is catchy and boldly leans into the keys in a very satisfying way. “In Truth Divided” is a melancholic slow ballad with clean vocals and piercing lyrics. “Standstill” also showcases singer Stanne”s hypnotic vocals, while “Eyes of the World” has an intoxicating groove and an unforgettable hook that lingers long after the album is over.

It will be interesting to see whether the new lineup impacts dT’s long-standing sound as they expand into their roles and begin to influence the creative process. In the meantime, what we have here is a safe, uncontroversial, solid Dark Tranquillity album; perhaps, given how much uncertainty the world is facing during these unprecedented times, this level of unwavering consistency is welcome.

Pre-order Moment here. The album will be available as a digipak, black LP, silver LP, and CD jewel case.

6 / 10