Dark Tranquillity – Construct

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Review by Brady Deeprose

Century Media

In the history of Melodeath (Melodic Death Metal), Dark Tranquillity are sure to be remembered as one of the biggest and most influential bands to have graced the genre, but with regards to Construct, their tenth release, the Swedes haven’t really captured my imagination.

With what they’ve described as a rebirth for the band, very little seems to have changed. They still bring that great blend of heavy and melodic that was perfected with 2007’s Fiction but with less attack: the album feels a little tame. While it could be said the band have gone for a more ‘laid-back’ approach, it leads me to the point where after many listens, I still struggle to pick out any memorable moments.

Anders Jivarp’s performance behind the kit really shone throughout the album but his attempts at breathing a little more life into the tracks were stifled by what seem to be some ‘so-so’ riffs and melodic passages. From a band that wrote ‘Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)’ and ‘Lost To Apathy’, two brilliant stand-alone metal tracks, I expected at least one song to jump out and grab me, and ‘Apathetic’ gave me some hope: the guitars leaping out from the word go and the depth in the chorus entrancing, but it was short-lived.

Lead singles ‘The Science of Noise’ and ‘Uniformity’ are the strongest of the bunch (bar the aforementioned ‘Apathetic’) showcasing both sides of the band’s sound nicely, but that in itself seems to be the problem. The perceived ‘niceness’ of the album takes away from the fact that, in essence, I’m supposed to be listening to a death metal record. I’ve always loved Mikael Stanne’s vocals: his pronunciation and incredible diction have drawn me to the band in the past, but they don’t seem to pack the usual punch. Track to track, the songs are decent but from a band with a history as rich as Dark Tranquillity’s and a wealth of experience to boot, I wanted more.

Lyrically, Stanne has never really gone for the traditional ‘Death, blood and gore’ route which has earned him a great deal of respect in my books, and 10 albums down the line that’s not changed. The personal insight they provide, coupled with the often intense delivery is usually a potent weapon but wasn’t enough to save Construct.

For those that prefer the more melodic side of metal, I’d definitely suggest this album, the same goes for any die-hard DT fan but personally, I’d hoped for at least a little progression. I feel this album, while great from a technical perspective, just doesn’t deliver what I’d hoped.

Dark Tranquility - Construct5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. For Broken Words
  2. The Science Of Noise
  3. Uniformity
  4. The Silence In Between
  5. Apathetic
  6. What Only You Know
  7. Endtime Hearts
  8. State Of Trust
  9. Weight Of The End
  10. None Becoming