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Dark Tranquility, live in Anaheim

Support: Insomnium

Dark Tranquility and Insomnium announced this tour seven garment-rending months prior – a cruel and seemingly interminable wait for fans of these two melodic death metal giants. To say that expectations are somewhat high tonight would be an understatement worthy of Smithsonian recognition.

Finland’s Insomnium notched more than a few ‘Best Of 2014’ nods for last year’s magnificent Shadows Of The Dying Sun and tonight, they dive straight in with the seismic chugging that album’s opener, The Primeval Dark. Stretching the track’s final riffing into a taut, pulsating groove, the musicians tease out the inevitable payoff that every punter in the joint breathlessly awaits. When the band finally launch into the prismatic, double-fretted eruption of While We Sleep, the Grove goes positively apeshit. Insomnium devote half of their ten song set to the new album, including bruising updates of Ephemeral and The Promethean Song. Ending with two bludgeoning epics from 2006’s _Above The Weeping World The Gale_ and Mortal Share – Insomnium have set the stage precipitously high for the headliners and most certainly attracted a host of new acolytes into their fold.

Among melo-death outfits, few boast the panoptic influence of Gothenburg’s Dark Tranquility. Although the heart of the band’s sound beats with dark, oozey malice, their live show is anything but a pouty-faced gloomfest. In fact, frontman Mikael Stanne might well be the happiest guy in metal, storming onto the stage with his splashy golden locks blowing past his face, flashing the biggest smile in the house. They kick it off with The Science Of Noise, from Construct, and waste little time moving through White Noise/Black Silence and the title track of 2002’s Damage Done.

Film clips, animation and vignettes roll across a screen behind the stage but it’s hard to pay too much attention to the graphics when Stanne rarely stands in one spot for more than a few seconds, hurtling back and forth like a pinball, pausing only to coil into a sharp howl or to reach out and slap five with the front. Behind a sustained onslaught of steroidal riffage and chest-beating hooks, tonight’s ruthlessly-paced, 17-song setlist includes The Wonders At Your Feet – the evening’s highlight – as well as Therein, from 1999’s Projector and roof-destroying closer, Misery’s Crown. Expectations for this evening were perhaps unfairly inflated and to our eardrum-battered delight, the two Scandinavian behemoths met, crushed and exceeded every single one.

Dark Tranquility Setlist

The Science Of Noise White Noise/Black Silence Damage Done The Silence In Between The Lesser Faith The Wonders At Your Feet The Mundane And The Magic The Treason Wall Through Smudged Lenses State Of Trust ThereIn Monochromatic Stains Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive) Uniformity Final Resistance Endtime Hearts Misery’s Crown

Joe Daly
Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.