Dark Tranquillity - Moment
Century Media
Melodic Death/Gothic Metal
Disc 1: 12 songs (49'59") Disc 2: 2 songs (7'19")
Release year: 2020
Dark Tranquillity, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex

I like doing Dark Tranquillity reviews. The Swedes have probably been my favorite band of the last 20 years, my life’s second foray into metal which came during my adult life, after the original adolescent years. I like sharing my enthusiasm for another Dark Tranquillity release with the world.

I hate doing Dark Tranquillity reviews. Because the Swedes are one of my favorite bands, I’m always afraid my fanboism will get the best of me and I won’t be objective.

Therefore I am always late in doing Dark Tranquillity reviews. I endlessly walk the plank between enthusiasm and objectivity, writing and then changing the original writeup. I am sure then that the biggest lot of you aren’t interested in the least in my vacillations, and just want to have it in a few short paragraphs whether Dark Tranquillity Moment is worth your time and money. Sadly, this review probably will not provide a yes/no answer. As always, it is complicated.

For Dark Tranquillity fans who have been the followers of the band from the early 90s you know that the band has moved on from that stage in their life, just like their logo kept evolving. The formula presented in Fiction may have turned off many, but I liked it a lot. We are the Void and Construct didn’t connect with me as much, but Atoma massaged and finetuned the formula of Fiction. With Atoma the band aged gracefully, combining the right level of youthful aggression with mature gothic introspection. The partial answer on Moment then - if you hated Atoma, you will be very frustrated with Moment, as it continues in the same vein. The more substantive question then, if Atoma hit high marks in your opinion, would Moment overtake its predecessor? Having listened to the album for what is probably a dozen times now since it came out in late November my personal answer is Moment does a lot of what Atoma tried to do, but consistently punches less strongly. Blessed with an unbelievable production and sound quality, it is if Dark Tranquillity played everything too safe, trying to perfect the path they started on recently, making presentations of it in a slew of palatable, carefully crafted, single-ready 3-4 minute songs, all of them quality, but none of them reaching for the new stars.

Phantom Days delivers a first punch, but its impact is less than that of Encircled, Atoma opener. Transient and Identical to None hold the serve, and The Dark Unbroken introduces clean baritone vocals by Stanne showing him in his best form in that department, probably ever. (I can’t wait to see him doing it live, feeling very blessed I had a chance to chat with him a little on the subject of clean vocals on their 2003 tour of the US). Clean vocals, by the way, are a significant presence on Moment. Enticed by the promise of the album’s beginning, I then consistently searched for Dark Tranquillity to knock it out of the park, but couldn’t feel the magic, instead running myself into a cul-de-sac comparing Moment songs with past precedents which did it. Remain in the Unknown, with its deep clean electronics, searches for My Negation emotion, but doesn’t get there. Standstill is a blander version of Misery’s Crown. A Drawn Out Exit has the rhythmic heavy gait and angry guitar barbs of , yet the latter is something I always start my Atoma re-listening with, and so far A Drawn Out Exit didn’t garner the same consideration with Moment. Ego Deception and Empires Lost to Time want to thrash aggressively, but feel inoffensive in that department needing to yield time to the introspective intermissions. Eyes of the World and Failstate have the Haven angle, guitar chug and dark push in ever catchy choruses, but still don’t overwhelm me completely. It is not until the closer In Truth Divided from my digibook edition that I felt 100% in tune again, and In Truth Divided is a darkwave gothic song which made me wonder if that is the next chapter where Dark Tranquillity can make an EP full of these cuts. (My recommendation is you absolutely get the album’s digibook edition, which will also comes with another pair of songs on the second disc).

As the true fans of the band know, after years enjoying lineup stability, the pair of guitarists Martin Henriksson and Niklas Sundin left recently. (One of my most cherished memories of going to a live metal concert is taking a picture with Niklas in 2006 in Cleveland, having talked to him for a while, and then him waving to me in the pit a few years later). Since all members of Dark Tranquillity normally contribute their portion of the songwriting, maybe Moment was an attempt to fit two new members Johan Reinholdz (from progressive outfit Andromeda and modern thrashers Nonexist) and Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy and ex-Armageddon) into the mold. Maybe the band had a few leftover cuts after the Atoma session and they were re-used. I obviously can’t know that, but that is how the material feels on this album.

My son, who just turned 16, has been getting into metal without me prompting him to do so. I see him sneaking to my CD collection picking things, I watch him playing youtube songs & videos, sometimes at the expense of his school Zooms (something I try to strongly discourage). If he was a total newcomer to Dark Tranquillity, would I recommend Moment as a starting point? Most likely not, and therein lies the answer to the tearing me apart dilemma voiced at the beginning of this becoming too long of an essay. Listening to Moment while reading Stanne’s awesome lyrics is better, so do it that way, buy the album and don’t download. This way you will also experience the album’s stunning cover art (Sundin’s parting gift) and will look at the bandmember’s photos, men almost my age, pushing 50, with age and experience clearly showing.

As far as I am concerned, I will wait anxiously for Dark Tranquillity next album and I will buy it. The truth is I will probably buy all of their albums until either they end their career or I will end my metal listening altogether. I just hope their career doesn’t end with Moment. I yearn for something better next time.

Killing Songs :
Phantom Days, Identical to None, The Dark Unbroken, Failstate, In Truth Divided
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Dark Tranquillity that we have reviewed:
Dark Tranquillity - Atoma reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - Construct reviewed by Jared and quoted 65 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - Zero Distance EP reviewed by Chris and quoted No quote
Dark Tranquillity - The Mind's I reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Dark Tranquillity - We Are The Void reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 16 reviews click here
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