Dark Tranquility return after hiatus with a new album of melo-death gems in the form of ‘Atoma’. The band has been plying their trade for a number of years now and have that distinctive Gothenberg sound. Whilst their 11th album ‘Atoma’ doesn’t break any new ground it’s great to see the band back in action, sounding refreshed and producing great, heavy songs.
It’s a ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ model that DT have used. Whilst other similar bands have moved in different directions (In Flames), DT have stuck to what they know and delivered an album that gets better and better with each listen. ‘Encircled’ kicks things off in style and the band sounds tight. The production and mix are good, allowing each instrument to breathe and Stanne’s vocals sound superb. He is a vocalist I really enjoy listening to and I certainly feel his voice has gotten better with time. Things really kick into gear with the excellent title track up next. It is a song that has been floating around on social media for a little while and similarly with the rest of the album it gets better with repeated listens. ‘Forward Momentum’ is immense as is ‘Neutrality’, but it is ‘Force of Hand’ and ‘Faithless by Default’ that really get the head moving. ‘Force of Hand’ particularly shows a real energy to the band and I think it’s one of the best songs the band has produced throughout their existence. ‘The Pitiless’ keeps the momentum going before ‘Our Proof of Life’ slows the tempo down a little but features a nice balance of spoken words and growls. ‘When the World Screams’ sees the band explode out of the gates and ‘Merciless Fate’ is a slower, brooding number. ‘Caves and Embers’ closes things off in some style with an explosive opening before drifting off into more thoughtful musical passages. The nihilistic lyrics are another tick for me.
All said, ‘Atoma’ is a fine, fine album with some great tempo changes, lyrics and musicianship. There is a consistency and quality that is a feature throughout the album. I definitely feel it gets better with repeated listens and it is a fine return for Dark Tranquility.
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