(Century Media Records)
From the first track of Dark Tranqullity’s Atoma through to the climatic Caves and Embers, there is little to detract from a headbanging listen that reaches into the heart of the darkest metal fan. The vocals are on point, the lyrics angry and introspective, and the chords pure, black metal.
If there is a drawback, it is that there is perhaps not enough straight up hardcore metal grinding. Much of the album is set against a softer tone to starts songs before diving into the depth of the lyricism and grinding riffs. There are moments when the orchestration takes itself a bit too seriously, which is as much a fault of the genre as it is a band that has been together for 20 years and knows what it is capable of bringing to a record.
Still, it is important to note that the musicianship is top notch. Death metal is all too often shoved aside with a mockery of the growling vocals, all the time ignoring not only the skill it takes to drop the voice into that range and the talent that supports the best of death bands. High speed guitar riffs and pounding bass lines are nearly impossible to maintain in solid steps and Dark Tranquillity manages to do this through each song on the album. Vocalist Mikael Stanne rises above the arrangements with a powerful growl that he switches to straight song structure on a dime – a nearly impossible feat even among the most talented of metal singers.
A worthy download and addition to even the most casual metal fan’s collection, Atoma is perfect scream along to all of that upcoming holiday (and political) stress.
It’s just too bad they can’t spell Tranquility.
-Shauna Brock (@vegawriters)