Although I am a big fan of the Swedish melodic death metallers, for a while I haven’t thoroughly checked what the band has done until the release of their eleventh album ‘Atoma‘. I think that this “pause” helped me to appreciate this album probably more than other fans who are up to date with Dark Tranquillity. First of all, this album gripped me to listen to it more than once, and even find favorite tracks like the title song ‘Atoma‘, ‘Force Of Hand‘, ‘Our Proof Of Life‘.

Second reason, I enjoyed the album’s duration. It’s almost an hour long and includes everything a melodic death album could have: aggression, slow moments, growling and clean vocals, inspiring riffs, and the Dark Tranquillity signature (along with In Flames) which is the breaking bridges of the keyboards. However, I have the feeling that this album has more guitar solos, that achieve this comparing with older stuff of the band. The vocals of Mikael Stanne remain charismatic, since 25 years seem like yesterday. His clean vocals are not – and never were- pretentious, and amazingly you can understand the lyrics even when he growls.

The lyrics have always been a big advantage of Dark Tranquillity, as they seem to be written after some serious thinking. They really have something to say, instead of being just dark lyrics to go along with the music. A good example are the tracks ‘Faithless By Default‘ and ‘When The World Screams‘.

The album includes two bonus tracks which come as a calm after the storm. Slow tracks with clean vocals, giving a more ‘gothic’ atmosphere and reminding in a way Amorphis. Should I repeat how great are the vocals of Mikael which serve perfectly our ‘dark tranquility’? To conclude, I won’t deny that the band follows its known recipe through the years. Personally, I don’t find it boring or uninspired. What Dark Tranquillity do, they do it with great talent. ‘Atoma‘ is rightly considered one of last year’s best releases.

Mary Kalaitzidou