Dark Tranquillity - Moment review


175 users:
Band: Dark Tranquillity
Album: Moment
Release date: November 2020

01. Phantom Days
02. Transient
03. Identical To None
04. The Dark Unbroken
05. Remain In The Unknown
06. Standstill
07. Ego Deception
08. A Drawn Out Exit
09. Eyes Of The World
10. Failstate
11. Empires Lost To Time
12. In Truth Divided
13. Silence As A Force [2 CD edition bonus]
14. Time In Relativity [2 CD edition bonus]

There have been a number of stellar moments in the impressive career of Dark Tranquillity to date. Moment is not one of them, but it's not a disaster either.

Anyone who saw my Getting Into Dark Tranquillity article last month will know the level of esteem I hold the Gothenburg giants in, as well as my more muted opinion concerning their output in the past decade. None of We Are The Void, Construct or Atoma were bad albums, but they weren't the group's best work, and the first two in particular had several tracks lacking the emphatic nature of their best work. As such, I approached Moment, the group's first album without founding guitarist Niklas Sundin (replaced with Christopher Amott of Arch Enemy fame, as well as Johan Reinholdz from Andromeda and Skyfire) with diminished expectations, which it has matched, but not really exceeded.

As far as the sound of the album goes, if Atoma was a step back towards their 2000s sound after Construct, Moment sees the band changing course and heading back towards Construct territory. There are a few up-tempo tracks here, but a lot of the album is more measured tempo-wise, and the keyboards remain as prominent as they've been since Fiction. Perhaps the most notable thing about Moment is the prevalence of clean vocals; they don't pop up until "The Dark Unbroken", but after that point this might be the most extensive use of them on a Dark Tranquillity record, or at the very least since Projector. The cleans generally work fine, although I do prefer their incorporation into an album like Projector, where they have more gravitas.

I commented in the album thread that Moment sounded like Dark Tranquillity playing it safe, which may not be entirely true, as the increased use of cleans is a departure from Atoma, albeit not a big jump from albums such as Construct, Fiction or Projector. However, "Phantom Days" is a classic cut from the band stylistically, from the memorable lead guitar riffs, tempo shifts from verse to chorus, and signature rasps from Mikael Stanne. It's not a modern classic for the band, but it should easily satisfy fans of the group. The song does feature an unusually extensive solo section (or more, duet, with both guitars contributing leads and harmonies), which has been highlighted as a distinctive feature on Moment, although reactions have been mixed as to how naturally they are incorporated into tracks. Personally, I enjoy their inclusion on certain tracks, with the bleeding of the solo back into the chorus on "Identical To One" working especially nicely; however, I can see why people may find the features on "A Drawn Out Exit" or "Standstill" to be slightly unnatural.

After "Phantom Days", the next couple of tracks are enjoyable enough, particularly "Identical To None", one of the fastest and most energetic cuts on Moment. However, as Moment progresses, a degree of apathy begins to develop. "The Dark Unbroken" isn't a bad song, but aside from quite a pleasant chorus, it's not particularly exciting, nor is it all that moving. If it was featured on a more generally exciting album it wouldn't be an issue, but when it's subsequently followed by the likes of "Remain In The Unknown" (which sounds every bit like a song that just missed the cut for Construct), "Ego Deception" and "Eyes Of The World", their combined (lack of) impact accumulates, resulting in a mild sense of indifference. It's probably not helped by sticking the clean vocal-heavy, slower tracks together in a bunch (4-6 in particular, but the couple that follow as well to a lesser extent).

I think the comment I made above about "Remain In The Unknown" does a decent job of summarizing my thoughts about Moment in general; it's an enjoyable listen, and does have some good highlights (the aforementioned "Phantom Days" and "Identical To None", as well as the highly memorable main riff of "Empires Lost To Time"), but outside of those songs, there are a few too many here that feel like tracks left on the cutting room floor during writing sessions for their albums since Fiction, managing to deliver the general sound you would expect for the band without featuring the memorable hooks that make their stronger songs so vital. It's probably not their worst album (I would rank it above Skydancer, Construct and possibly We Are The Void), but it does seem to indicate that for those dissatisfied with their post-Fiction output, Atoma is likely to be an exception rather than a return to form.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: -
Production: 8


Written on 22.11.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 16   Visited by: 204 users
22.11.2020 - 18:54
Being a fanboy of DT, I was always attracted to them because of Mikaele's 'gravitas' where at any point of time I cannot imagine DT minus his mild melodious growls. So for me those shift towards more clean vocals is bit on a negative impact on me. First half of the albums seems to be more stronger compared to the later half. In fact i am little bit disappointed this time with the whole output bcos i am not finding more than 3 tracks which are repeatable for the first time from DT. I am still waiting for a 'Fiction'.
In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
22.11.2020 - 19:15
The well is, has been, bone dry for years now.
22.11.2020 - 20:26
This is perfectly digestible.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
22.11.2020 - 20:37
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Stanne can growl, but I thin if band has keyboards best effects is he uise calm vocals, because his best was frist 3 albums even frist was Friden , wanna grow get rid of keyboards IMO even they make music comnples and richer
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
22.11.2020 - 21:34
A "letdown"? Probably...
One of their weakest albums IMHO. Not bad, just simply boring, thats all. The clean vocals are most welcome addition overall, but somehow it all feels flat.
Need a few more spins...
22.11.2020 - 23:19
Tapping The Vein
Always interesting to see the array of opinions when a new album from a long-running band like this comes out. I've been on this train since Projector in 1999, and I remember getting shit for not being into Character or Fiction when they came out (which I found to be boring and nowhere in the same universe as Damage Done or Haven), but I really enjoyed We Are the Void, Construct, and Atoma. I'm also really enjoying Moment. Hitting the spot for me.
Congratulations. God hates your guts!
23.11.2020 - 00:20
I see no number next to "originality"

Now, I don't mind the clean vocals at all, in fact I wouldn't mind if the whole album had just cleans (I know this statement of mine sounds ridiculous but I have mentioned in way too many threads how all this melody paired with growling does not resonate with me one bit). Overall, I think the album is undoubtedly inferior to Atoma but I quite like "Phantom Days", "Ego Deception", "Failstate", and I absolutely love "In Truth Divided". I have a feeling sometimes that Dark Tranquillity sound like Depeche Mode with heavy guitars and growls, so it makes sense for me to love the closing track where the growls are missing and the chorus is pure Depeche Mode worship. For me, Moment is bookended by its best tracks which leaves me with a positive impression of it.
23.11.2020 - 06:24
The Melting Snow
I see you took my request of leaving out originality quite seriously
23.11.2020 - 08:49
"The Dark Unbroken" isn't a bad song, but aside from quite a pleasant chorus, it's not particularly exciting, nor is it all that moving."

Matter of taste as "The Dark Unbroken" keeps sending shivers through my all body and so does "In Truth Divided". Oddly the first time I listened to the full album I could hardly spot the main melody in most songs, except for the 3 songs I have been listening to ever since they came out. At second spin, Moment started acting as a grower and it still does. I find it different from their usual albums, guess you can spot it from the new members but it rocks and their live show was amazing and proved that the unity is stronger than ever. To me DT has never disappointed and keeps doing so.
23.11.2020 - 15:48
Enemy of Reality
From the singles one could already tell that it would be a tough listen. If Phantom Days was the best or at least the most representative song of the album, than we would end up with average DT. I struggle to listen to it from start to finish. Halfway through I just want to go back to Damage Done and Character. It sounds... unenthusiastic. Just like Construct.
23.11.2020 - 20:00
I agree.

The problem with the album is it stagnates very quickly. After Phantom Days and Identical to None, so many songs with those cleans vocals bleed into eachother. If I go back and try to think of how one particular song goes... I can't really, I'll be mixing up parts of different songs. The one song like this that does stand out is Eyes of the World due to the vocal lines that stick with you, a real earworm (Now the eyes of the world are upon you, we all want to know)
The other song that kind of comes close to this is Failstate (To the tune of the apocalypse, to the tune of the apocalypse)

I really enjoyed Atoma, much more than We Are The Void and Construct, but this is a bit of a step back, even though it has the same direction of Atoma. They're basically making gothic rock at this point.

Still enjoyable, just not great. I appreciate it though.
23.11.2020 - 20:06
Written by Tapping The Vein on 22.11.2020 at 23:19

Always interesting to see the array of opinions when a new album from a long-running band like this comes out. I've been on this train since Projector in 1999, and I remember getting shit for not being into Character or Fiction when they came out (which I found to be boring and nowhere in the same universe as Damage Done or Haven), but I really enjoyed We Are the Void, Construct, and Atoma. I'm also really enjoying Moment. Hitting the spot for me.

Not trying to give you shit but I find it strange you love Damage Done but not Character, they're basically the same album, just Character might have the best song!
26.11.2020 - 01:30
The worst part is the two special edition bonus tracks, "Silence as a Force" and "Time in Relativity", are much stronger than most of the main album. This would be a very different album flipping those two in and taking two of the six or seven fillers out.
26.11.2020 - 01:39
I dig it. It´s far from the quality of old Dark Tranquility releases, not a doubt about it, but it´s a really well done record nontheless. I specially like the clean vocal parts and the bonus tracks are killers in my opinion.
26.11.2020 - 15:50
I like it a lot as I like all DT albums since Projector. Period.
26.11.2020 - 17:57
I did try the bonus tracks based on the above recommendations; I can see why people are more positive towards them given that they're closer to the 00s sound, but still wasn't that wowed by them

Hits total: 2157 | This month: 2157