Not a memorable one, though
There are good and bad things about routine. Among the good things is how there’s reliability in predicability. Sometimes people don’t want spontaneity monotony. Among the bad is fairly obvious—the boredom. Outside of how this applies to real life, the way it plays out in music can either be incredibly comforting or incredibly disappointing. This concept seems to surely apply to the Swedish melodic metal band Dark Tranquility. For almost 30 years, they’ve stayed static within the limbo of routine, never straying at all from the theatrics of drawn out crooning and expansive riffing. If you’re already a fan of Dark Tranquility’s type of approach, it’s likely you’ll think their latest album Moment is yet another considerably solid release in their discography. If you’re not already a fan, chances are Moment won’t make you one.
Probably the most standout thing Dark Tranquility have done with this record is the addition of two new guitarists. Founding member Niklas Sundin has since left to permanently join Mitochondrial Sun, leaving a gaping hole within the band that took two guitarists, Johan Reinholdz of Nonexist, and Andromeda; and Christopher Amott of Armageddon and Black Earth, to fill. Still, these new additions didn’t rock the band’s boat in any way, which is both a testament to each of their abilities to adapt, as well as the band’s overall commitment to what they’ve been doing.
Opening track “Phantom Days” sounds like it could come right off of their Projector or Haven albums—something the band seems to have done with intention. This is mainly because of vocalist Mikael Stanne’s cleaner-than-usual vocal approach, which gives “Identical to None” a similar feel.
Still, Reinholdz and Amott particularly shine in their solos. The 40 second long one on “Eyes of the World” is of note, as it carries on in an unwavering and honestly surprising fashion. It makes for an appropriately dramatic backdrop for Stanne’s near sterile singing output. They’re mainly used to carry the harmonious exaggerations typical of the band, though Martin Brändström’s keyboarding is crucial to their incredibly gothic atmospheres. He takes it to fairly corny levels on “Standstill,” though the guitars and Stanne’s gruff growling ground it from going totally off the rails. It works a bit better on “A Drawn Out Exit,” where Brändström takes the octane air the other members established and melodically punctuates it, particularly around the three-minute mark.
While there are elements on Moment certainly deserving of attention, there’s not much about it that makes it stand out from the rest of their discography, or that would call people to it more than any of their other releases. How quickly and well Amott and Reinholdz fit into the existing sonic dynamics of the band could be considered a good thing, though it’d be nice to hear what they as individual musicians could bring to the table. Moment is Dark Tranquility doing Dark Tranquility, so existing fans will be pleased. New listers may not be impressed, though.