Dark Tranquility - Atoma album review

Melodeath mavens reassemble on solid ground

A press shot of Dark Tranquility taken in 2016

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As one of the godfathers of the Gothenburg sound, you just can’t deny the impact that Dark Tranquillity had on the face of metal music when bursting onto the scene back in 1989. Some 27 years of service, 10 albums, and many imitators later, and the Swedes are still going strong as they unleash album number 11.

Despite founding member and main songwriter Martin Henriksson departing the fold earlier this year, it’s pretty much business as usual for Dark Tranquillity here as thrashy opener Encircled kicks things off in fine style and the likes of the storming Neutrality and The Pitiless go on to whip up a melodeath storm. Atoma is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, however, and it’s during some of the quieter moments found in the likes of Forward Momentum that the band can lose their way in an overly polished, albeit well-performed, haze that sometimes acts to drain the power of the punches landing around it. That said, plenty of those punches still connect, and when they do so it is with a power and verve that goes to prove just what a force Dark Tranquillity still are to this day.