26 May, 2013

Dark Tranquillity: Construct – new album


Twenty years ago DARK TRANQUILLITY released their debut album ‘Skydancer’, and tomorrow, May 27th, 2013 (May 28th in North America), “the guardians of the Gothenburg sound” – as they are generally referred to – will unleash, in partnership with Century Media Records, their latest, tenth album called ‘Construct’:
[Explained vocalist and lyricist Mikael Stanne:] “A construct is something that exists in your own mind. A kind of fantasy. I’m intrigued by the human need to make stuff up. That we create something to believe in to feel more at ease. I’m primarily thinking of religion, of course. In the context of the album, a construct is a negative thing. Half of the songs deal with every-day things while the other half have a more philosophical angle. I’m trying to work out why things end up a certain way. The bottom line is that you can’t trust the human brain, that everything’s subjective and that you’re always wrong. You don’t know everything. You can’t even trust your own memory.”
Recorded at Rogue Music owned by keyboardist Martin Brändström and mixed by Jens Bogren at his Fascination Street studios in Örebro, with bass duties handled by guitarist Martin Henriksson following the departure of Daniel Antonsson, and with artwork designed by resident artist, guitarist and songwriter Niklas Sundin (“Construct” is a noun but of course also a verb. I aimed for a mechanical feel in the same vein as Fritz Lang's “Metropolis”. And there’s an X in there, since it’s our tenth album.”), get your own copy of the record which is already exciting the metal press here (CM Distro Europe), here (CM Distro USA) or here (DT store). The promotional video for DT's new tune ‘Uniformity’ was directed by Patric Ullaeus.

Formed in 1989 by vocalist and guitarist Mikael Stanne and guitarist Niklas Sundin (who, for a while, thought “Septic Broiler” was the right name under which to try for stardom) and soon joined by singer Anders Fridén (now IN FLAMES), drummer Anders Jivarp and guitarist/bassist Martin Henriksson, DARK TRANQUILLITY released multiple demos before issuing their debut studio album, 1993's ‘Skydancer’, on Spinefarm Records. When Fridén switched allegiances, Stanne became the band's lead vocalist and Fredrik Johansson was recruited on rhythm guitar. DARK TRANQUILLITY's second full-length was issued in 1995 on Osmose Productions; described by John Serba, AllMusic, as “a bona fide masterpiece that helped further stretch the boundaries of death metal in the '90s” (more here), ‘The Gallery’ helped to expand the band's international fan base. 1997's ‘The Mind's I’, originally published through Osmose Productions, was re-released in 2005 by Century Media, containing DARK TRANQUILLITY's EP ‘Enter Suicidal Angels’, recorded during the sessions for their third longplayer. According to AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia, this was the record on which “DT were still experimenting with all manner of ulterior motives in search a distinctive voice with which to challenge their inner-city rivals” (more here). They seemingly found something on its follower, since 1998's ‘Projector’, their Century Media debut, was consequently nominated for Swedish Grammy. Fredrik Johansson departed from the band after ‘Projector’s release and Martin Henriksson switched from bass to guitar as a result. DARK TRANQUILLITY's fifth full-length, 2000's ‘Haven’, also introduced keyboardist Martin Brändström and bassist Michael Nicklasson:
“Finally, DARK TRANQUILLITY has achieved just that - tranquil balance, both in songwriting and musical approach, and it is all combined with a melancholic heaviness bands like IN FLAMES or TIAMAT have long forgotten. Amazing, all should hear this subtle masterpiece,” [exclaimed Jason Hundey, AllMusic – more here]
The band continued to add extreme metal to melody on 2002's ‘Damage Done’. Sticking with the formula that worked only this time diving further into aggressiveness, DARK TRANQUILLITY recorded their seventh studio album, 2005's ‘Character’. Recorded already in 2006, ‘Friction’ was issued in 2007; reconciling the old and the new writing styles and bringing back Stanne's clean vocals, ‘Friction’ turned out to be the last album recorded with bassist Mikael Niklasson. The vacant position was soon filled by Daniel Antonsson, only featured on DT's 2010's album ‘We Are The Void’:
“So consistent have DARK TRANQUILLITY's albums been throughout the years, that it ironically takes an especially spectacular effort like 2010's ‘We Are The Void’ to make one realize that the prior few - specifically 2005's ‘Character’ and 2007's ‘Fiction’ - had actually left something wanting. … OK, so stylistically, there are really no revolutionary changes afoot - not even mild ones, in fact - just stunningly accomplished songs playing to DARK TRANQUILLITY's strengths on a scale not heard in some time,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]

DARK TRANQUILLITY features: Mikael Stanne – vocals, Martin Henriksson – guitar and bass, Niklas Sundin – lead guitar, Anders Jivarp – drums and Martin Brändström – keyboards

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