Review Summary: The construction of a new era.
To fully understand and appreciate Dark Tranquillity is to understand their evolution as a band. It is indisputable that the 'classic' era of Dark Tranquillity is from Skydancer
to The Mind's, I
. An era that is riddled with spectacular guitar melodies and riffs, acoustic passages, poetic lyrics, fierce vocals that have merit, drumming that is centered on innovation rather than being a background metronome (Lars Ulrich and Ringo style). There are too many positive things to say about Dark Tranquillity’s ‘classic’ era. However, they step out of their comfort zone and tackle a new monster in the second era of Dark Tranquillity with Projector
. A monster that Construct
echoes, and arguably amplifies. It’s true that this monster wasn’t perceived with open arms right off the bat. In fact, it had quite a bit of negative reactions from reviewers and fans alike - something Dark Tranquillity is not accustomed too – but it’s safe to say that Projector
have been gaining quite a bit of respect over the years from previous past ills. Now it’s not uncommon to hear someone say that Projector
is genius; an underrated classic. Afterwards we see Dark Tranquillity shed its skin just like a snake. Damage Done
, and Fiction
stand side-by-side with the ‘classic’ era as “Part 2 – Modern Day Classics”.
In 2010, We Are The Void
is and was the first of many leaps, rather than steps, into uncharted territory. By doing so, they released their most criticized album to date. However, We Are The Void
, just like Projector
, is strange and criticized heavily, but there is a good chance that it will be looked upon with positive opinions later on. Who knows? Life is always full of surprises. But it is important to look back on We Are The Void
to fully understand the direction and ambition Dark Tranquillity is trying to grasp. That ambition and direction is hardly seen consistently in every other album prior to 2010 with the exception of Projector
, and it’s atmosphere. It’s all about the atmosphere: dark, haunting, sporadic, ire filled, melancholic - if there’s anything else you can petition by all means fill it in - but that is the general direction they’ve been pursuing. Once listening and understanding the direction Dark Tranquillity is pursuing it becomes evident that Construct
fits the album perfectly.
From the very start of Construct
Dark Tranquillity unleashes the beast with full force on “For Broken Words”. This song sets up the precedent of what to expect from the rest of the album: melodic guitars (something to expect), slightly disturbing lyrics (matter of opinion, still cool though), progressive elements, and a solo section that focuses on emotions rather than shred (something Dark Tranquillity has always been none for), and most importantly an odd song structure. The follow up,”The Science of Noise”, plays it safe but maintains the quality of enjoyment with “classic modern day” elements [Dark Tranquility elements], which makes it look like a song that could have been seen in 2002-2007. Other songs that follow in the same footpath of “The Science of Noise” are “Endtime Hearts”, “The Silence In Between”, and “Apathetic”. However, “Apathetic” is a thrash-esque song that has a straightforward structure, and “Endtime Hearts” is just a flat out strange song… but it’s amazing though… It has everything: the rage from Stanne, the quasi-pop chorus, the haunting pre-chorus, and a spectacular solo.
Another interesting region that Construct
showcases are the 3 songs that amplify and echo Projector
: “State of Trust”, “Uniformity”, and “What Only You Know”. “What Only You Know” and “State of Trust” grasps the concept of inner struggles in oneself; however, both songs can be accused of being carbon copies of each other. Despite this, there is reason to detest that claim for each song is different and unique in tempo, mood, and atmosphere (melancholic), but the vocals are structured the same (verse = clean, chorus = harsh). As for “Uniformity”, it’s probably without a doubt the most difficult song to get into, mainly because of the its lethargic mood, repetitive guitar denouement, and the drum solo. It’s an odd song, but any listener should give it time to grow on oneself.
In the past few albums, Dark Tranquillity has always concluded with a dark, atmospheric song. In Construct
they deliver with just that, and more. Just like “Uniformity”, “None Becoming” requires a great deal of listens to fully appreciate, that difficulty was also seen in We Are The Void’s
“Iridium”, but not in Fiction’s
“The Mundane And The Magic”. “None Becoming” isn’t exactly a spectacular song based off of the first listen and there’s nothing flashy about the song either. As I said before, one needs to give it time. In addition, Dark Tranquillity gives more to the listeners (who bothered with the bonus tracks). “Immemorial” could have easily taken the spot of “None Becoming” as being the denouement of the album. There is vast wonder as to why it wasn’t included on the album, for it stands as one of the strongest efforts on Construct
. Lastly, there is “Photon Dreams”. A song that is structured with nothing but dissonance. It’s a shame actually, one can only wonder if they [the band members] could have expanded the song into some gem. Alas, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the dissonance limits the song writing process.
In conclusion, Construct
has a great deal of things to offer. Whether it is in your face thrash (Apathetic), Gothic melancholy (State of Trust, What Only You Know), or even instant hits (The Science of Noise, Endtime Hearts); Construct
has it all. Even if you may not be a fan of the entire album, there is however, at least one song everyone can enjoy. In addition, we should not ignore the progress of Dark Tranquillity’s pursuit. We Are The Void
are very similar when it comes to the general direction of experimenting with atmosphere, however, Construct
perfects what We Are the Void
failed to accomplish despite the mash-up of the different types of songs (thrash, gothic). Construct
is just the construction of a new era in Dark Tranquillity’s career, and it is nowhere as bleak as it was in 2010, rather it’s anticipated with hope and excitement.
As a side note: We Are The Void would’ve been better if they didn’t write so many songs and just focused on improving/lengthening the guitar leads along with other melodies
The Science of Noise
State of Trust
The Silence In Between