Dark Tranquility’s Moment: melodeath veterans step up to the big league

Melodic death metal underdogs Dark Tranquility make their case for superstardom on new album Moments

Dark Tranquility: Moment album review
(Image: © Century Media)

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If we were to make a list of metal’s most underappreciated acts, Dark Tranquillity would be very high on it. Along with In Flames and At The Gates, the sextet were part of 90s Gothenburg’s holy trinity, paramount in defining the melodic death metal genre. Yet, for whatever reason, Mikael Stanne and co rarely enjoy the same notice as their equally game-changing contemporaries. This is in spite of a 20-year-long career with no bad albums, and their development into a unique soundscape mixing melodeath with Paradise Lost-like gothic metal.

Created by men who seem as sick of their ‘B+’ popularity as their fans are, Moment is a jugular-seizing demand for recognition. Rarely have its creators sounded as urgent as they do here, packing all of their strengths into one 50-minute voyage. Dark Tranquillity’s 12th album commences with its most aggressive and flashy feet forward, before gradually unfolding into a forlorn serenity that, although softer, feels no less essential. Early cuts Phantom Days and Identical To None establish a charming backbone, channelling melodeath mainstays with their simple, grunted hooks and heroic guitar leads.

However, it isn’t until Moment’s second half that the newcomer-wrangling potential rears its head. A Drawn Out Exit satisfies the intellect with its surprisingly progressive time signatures; the following Eyes Of The World boasts one of DT’s strongest choruses to date, balancing raw growls with catchy yet sorrowful goth rock singing. Failstate’s barrelling, synth-backed refrain juxtaposes with an appeal to the vigorously primal, and lastly, In Truth Divided proves a decidedly not-metal epilogue, defined by its beautiful keys and chilled-out percussion.

Anthemic, pummelling and heartstring-plucking, Moment is the outing with which DT deserve to grab that elusive brass ring. On a par with contemporaries At The Gates, this is a grand effort worthy of genre acclaim.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.