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ALBUM REVIEW: Atoma – Dark Tranquillity

It’s been three years since the release of the Construct by DARK TRANQUILLITY, time has flown by but it is finally time for DARK TRANQUILLITY to show the world how melodic death metal is done once again. With persistently good realises for the past 20 years it’s no surprise that this album is just as good.

Atoma is DARK TRANQUILLITY’S 11th full length record and it is completely recognisable from the get go which is one of the many brilliant qualities at DARK TRANQUILLITY‘s disposal. Throughout the past 27 years they’ve always had their own sound which is fuelled with fast rifts, harmonic guitar lines and the keyboard that always adds a little more depth to the atmosphere. What makes it all the more beautiful to metal heads is the punchy death metal that is incorporated into the band’s sound. It’s no wonder or surprise that DARK TRANQUILLITY are one of the pioneers of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene in Sweden along with AT THE GATES and IN FLAMES.

The album starts off with Encircled. A perfect opening song with its fast paced riffs and ferocity, it really feels and sounds more aggressive than Construct. There’s no steady opening for the album, it just jumps straight to the good stuff. Encircled is a great song for head banging and singing along, due to Mikael Stanne‘s vocals being that great level of growling that you can easily understand but doesn’t take anything away from the emotion and power growled vocals give a song.

The title track of Atoma is a perfect show of the melodic death metal singing going straight from growls to clear strong singing. The song is catchy and makes you tap your foot without even realising but it isn’t as gutsy as Encircled but gutsy doesn’t always mean better, it really is a terrific song sounding like classic DARK TRANQUILLITY with a steady beat and echoing riffs.

Forward momentum has a much stronger opening, focusing on the drums and bass then bringing in the riffs and the traditional DARK TRANQUILLITY sound. Sadly at the start of the year their founding guitarist and bassist of late Martin Henriksson left DARK TRANQUILLITY but it doesn’t seem to of affected the overall sound negatively as Anders Iwers stepped up to the task and did just as great a job.

The game changer for this album is the bonus CD that pulls them apart from their older stuff. It isn’t brutal or aggressive. It’s beautiful, soft and eerie. Mikael Stanne has some of the best clean vocals in metal and you get to truly hear that with the two songs on this CD. The Absolute is stunning but it’s after Mikael Stanne‘s voice echoes into the distance that all the instruments combine into one thick wall of a riff which distorts out beautifully. Time Out Of Place follows this perfectly keeping to the same style, it’s not a song to bang your head to, but more to sway and sing your heart out.

DARK TRANQUILLITY have made another solid album to add to their pile of great albums. Not much has changed but that’s what people love about DARK TRANQUILLITY, their consistent sound. They’re a reliable band that please fans year after year. They’ve never done wrong or sold out, they have a comfort zone and they stick to it, yet they escaped the bounds of it for the bonus tracks on Atoma, as they’re beautiful and really give the album that something different it needed for it too stand out from the others.

Rating: 7/10

Atoma - Dark Tranquillity

Atoma is out now via Century Media Records.

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