Review Summary: One of the first Melodic Death Metal albums, and one of the best.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Dark Tranquility... one of the founders of Melodic Death Metal and one of the greatest Melodic Death Metal bands. Skydancer is definitely a great album. But its also different from there other albums. Even The Gallery. Skydancer has more of a death metal feel to it rather than a melodic death metal feel to it. The vocals are also done by Anders Friden from In Flames, while Mikael Stanne is doing rhythm guitar. So that definitely brings a different feel to it as well.
This album has strange song writing similar to The Red Sky is Ours album from At The Gates. The songs have strange structure. Also a lot of tempo changes like in Nightfall By The Shore Of Time. It can be fast then be slower or a random acoustic guitar section will come in, which is no problem. But it is strange sounding. As i said before this album has more of a Death Metal feel to it, it seems they were going for a more heavy, fast, and brutal sound, rather than focusing on melody. That doesn't mean that you won't find any melodic stuff on this album. Cause you will find melody its just not as melodic as something like The Gallery.
The production of the album is ok. At times you can hear the bass at other times you can't. Its quiet so you have to turn up your volume to listen to it.(Its a lot like Lunar Strain from In Flames) The guitar tone is solid, very raw sounding. The vocals are brutal, Anders Friden does really good on this album. He has this dark screeching scream(Or Growl) that is mostly deep or in the middle range. Never does any real high screams. Mikael Stanne does his clean vocals on some of the songs they are great as well, just as good as they are now.
I want to talk about the two tracks that really shine. The first being A Bolt Of Blazing Gold. A Bolt Of Blazing Gold reminds me of The Gallery. It has a clean guitar intro, then turns heavy and melodic and back to a clean part with Female vocals just like in The Gallery, though i think the ones on The Gallery are better. Its also one of the more catchier melodic songs. Great song 5/5
Now Shadow Duet is just simply heavy, catchy and melodic. It Starts off with this bass and drum intro which will hook you in right away, then the guitar comes in with a more of a melodic riff and slowly progresses on. Also has some interesting vocal work, like Mikaels clean vocals. 4.5/5 I recommend these two songs.
This is a must listen to anyone who listens to Dark Tranquility or death metal. Great Album 4/5
Anders Fridén − vocals
Niklas Sundin − lead guitar
Mikael Stanne − rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Martin Henriksson − bass guitar
Anders Jivarp − drums