After they released Construct 3 years ago, which wasn’t really what you wish to hear from Dark Tranquillity, the Swedish melodic death metal band has made a great comeback by releasing Atoma this year 2016. By great I meant everything you would love to hear from a melodic death metal band, especially Dark Tranquillity.
Earlier this year we heard the great news that Anders Iwers (Ex: Ceremonial Oath, Tiamat and In Flames) has officially been a permanent bassist for the band after performing on their live shows for quite a long time. This made most of us optimistic and we started to have high hopes for this release. And we weren’t wrong. As we can notice melodic death metal as a genre has started to die 5-6 years ago or something, maybe more. Many bands have become repetitive and there has been an obvious lack of creativity in their works. Some other bands have changed their style completely.
But to still be able to release an outstanding melodic death metal album like what Dark Tranquillity did this year, and few others out there who can still do that, that’s a great step forward for the band this year. This will add a lot to their history too.
So let’s talk about the album. Atoma is their 11th album and it contains 12 songs + 2 songs in the Limited Mediabook Bonus. The album had various styles: The heavy fast beat songs, the slow ones, the catchy riffs, the beautiful solos, the astounding drum beats and the awesome harsh and clean vocals. Mikael Stanne still got it, his vocals hasn’t changed much all over the years (it’s normal to change due to aging, but we can’t see much difference in the case of Mikael). Generally, the guys proved that they still can introduce a solid album.
The album started with “Encircled”, one of the fastest and heaviest songs of the albums. Not one of my most favorite tracks but still a solid start of the album. The riffs were so catchy and the drums were played perfectly. It was a great warm up.
Then comes “Atoma” which is the album’s title track too. It’s one of the reasons why most people have had high hopes for this album as they released it previously with a couple awesome tracks before the official release of the album.
The melodies of this songs are beautiful and the vocals were put exactly in the right place. The song is just perfect and definitely one of the best tracks of this album.
Third track is “Forward Momentum” which is a typical Dark Tranquillity song. That doesn’t make it bad as it has every good thing you find in their music. Mellow clean vocals mixed with harsh vocals and it was very strong musically too.
The album then takes you to the 4th stage, which is “Neutrality”. Another outstanding track to follow “Atoma”, so energizing and so enjoyable musically. Near the end you can hear a very fine solo too that completes the track.
The fifth track is “Force of Hand”, another awesome track and absolutely one of the best tracks. In my opinion it can be classified as one of their all-time best tracks. Great melodies, awesome drum beats and very good riffs. At the minute 02:45 a soothing piano part starts, followed by another fantastic solo. The track is very well-sorted.
Track no. 6 had a slower tempo than the past 5 tracks. Still with harsh vocals and beautiful melodies but musically it is a little bit less than the other tracks of the album. The vocals were still great though and I give this track alone 7/10. It’s really not a bad track but it’s like when you hear the first 5 tracks you just ask for more.
And here comes what you asked for, track number 7 “The Pitiless” is one of the highlights of this album. Another well sorted track following “Force of Hand”. The melodies and the drum beats are the strengths of this track, in addition to the dark gloomy atmosphere. It was a very good decision by them to release this track firstly as it gave a very good idea about what is going in this album. Definitely one of the best.
After that you can hear “Our Proof of Life”. Another great track that gives you goosebumps whenever you hear its melodies. Musically it was perfect, a very good solo at the end that’s followed by some fantastic riffs and then comes Mikael to put an end to the masterpiece.
The ninth track is called “Clearing Skies”, it has a slower tempo and it felt like the band wants you to take some rest and slow down your heart beats after the joy of what you heard before. The placement of this track to be near the end of the album is a very good decision and I really didn’t mind hearing it after what I heard during the past 8 tracks.
Track number 10 is a come back to the fast tempo with the extremely catchy melodies. It’s like the band is telling you “Hey, we aren’t done yet!”. A great track to end this awesome album with and not to forget to mention the track’s name, which is “When the World Screams”.
The last two tracks (number 11 & 12) are “Merciless Fate” and “Caves and Embers”. “Merciless Fate” seemed like “Clearing Skies” as it has got the same tempo. “Caves and Embers” had a faster tempo but musically it wasn’t as good as the previous tracks too. Both of these tracks seemed a bit like filler tracks but they don’t bore you at all as they are more than just average tracks.
Now let’s talk about the two additional tracks from Limited Mediabook Bonus. The first track is “The Absolute” and the second and the last track is “Time out of Place”. They are soothing as they are just clean vocals with a slow tempo and catchy melodies. Mikael’s clean vocals are as good as his harsh vocals and you don’t usually find vocalists like that (Mikael Åkerfeldt is a very good example too).
I give this album an overall rating of 9/10. Highlights: Atoma, Neutrality, Force of Hand and The Pitiless.
Nabil Hossam / Metalheads Forever
DARK TRANQUILLITY – Atoma (OFFICIAL VIDEO)