Dark Tranquillity: Construct – Album Review

by Mike Lawrence on May 31, 2013

Dark-Tranquillity--Construct-album-cover-5-28-2013As a giant fan of melodic death metal, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Dark Tranquillity’s follow up to their amazing 2010 release, We Are the Void.   Dark Tranquillity are one of the the pioneers of melodic death metal along with In Flames and At the Gates.  They have consistently put out great albums over their twenty plus year career.  While In Flames changed their style to a more mainstream metal sound and At the Gates went on a twelve year hiatus, Dark Tranquillity remained the one constant in the Gothenburg metal scene. Because of this consistency many other fans were also looking forward to their latest release and the hype machine went into full effect at the beginning of 2013.  Century Media began saying it was one of the band’s best releases.  Early reviews came back very positive.  The fans even began to buildup the album before even hearing it.  I could not wait to get my hands on it.

Unfortunately Construct did not live up to all the promotion.  That’s not to say that this isn’t a good album.  As usual the lyrics are are awesome and poetic.  There is a lot of solid material here and the album is certainly  pleasurable to listen to.  I would even go as far as to say that I like nine out of the ten songs on the album.    However, I do not feel that the members of the band lived up to their full potential as they have on their other releases.  A lot of their talent was left on the table in favor of easier material.

There are some excellent and well written songs on the album.  These tracks have that great NWOBHM type guitar harmonization that melodic death metal has become known for.  “The Science of Noise” and ” The Silence in Between” have some of the most amazingly well written and beautiful riffs that really pull in the listener.  “Apathetic” and “Weight of the End” is easily some of the group’s best material.  The song structures are complicated  and the musicianship is nothing short of amazing.  The cream of the crop is definitely “Endtime Hearts”.  It has the perfect mix of heaviness, harmonization, excellent vocal work and an extremely well played guitar solo.  The only issue is this is the only solo on the entire album.  With amazing guitarists the likes of Martin Henriksson and Niklas Sundin, there should have been more.

dark-tranquillity-2013Although these tracks are great and are amongst some of the most well done melodic death metal songs, the rest of the album did not showcase the copious talent and songwriting abilities that the band has to offer.  “Uniformity”, “What Only You Know” and “State of Trust” are all very catchy and listenable songs, but they are more akin to gothic metal than melodic death metal.  The dual harmonized guitars took a back seat to pedestrian riffs and clean vocals were mixed in with the usual death growls.  Nothing against clean vocals, but Mikael Stanne is an accomplished death metal growler and his sung vocals are just not as good. Experimentation is great and bands should evolve their sound, but these songs just did not do justice to to the unbelievable musicianship and songwriting capabilities of the band.  This brings us to the one song on the album that just did not fit and did not at all work.  “None Becoming” is a slower paced song that really falls under death/doom.  Dark Tranquillity was just not made for this genre of metal and the song sounds totally out of place.

Again, the album was enjoyable and you should definitely check it out if you get a chance.  The majority of the songs are catchy and can be listened to over and over.  The signature tracks are amazing and should not be missed.  However, if you are looking for an album as incredible as their past releases, you may be disappointed.  The songwriting and  display of the band’s immense skills are just too inconsistent for Construct to be considered one of Dark Tranquillity’s best.

Rating: 3/5

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