Dark Tranquillity Construct

Dark Tranquillity Construct
8
Record number ten for Gothenburg, Sweden's Dark Tranquillity kicks off dark and strong, offering a fresh rendering of a definitive melodic death metal sound. By third song "Uniformity," we're reminded of the band's slower, moodier side (including Mikael Stanne's Depeche Mode-esque clean vocals). This "softness" shows up in a couple of later songs as well, but much of Construct has a heavier, aggressively insistent vibe, as if Dark Tranquillity are intent on getting straight to the point. Of the 12 songs, "State of Trust" stands out for its catchiness and for capturing most of the record's variations in tone (darker shades), texture (from fluid to harsh) and musical styles (melody, groove and speed). Things sound ready to wrap up with "Weight of the End," but the album's final quarter has a stranger, almost unsettling and vaguely cinematic quality, finally closing with a death metal lilt and an eerie instrumental. Construct is an impressive release when it's demonstrating a known quantity — what we already know Dark Tranquillity do very well. But it's most memorable when it departs from the expected and hints at wells of untapped musical potential. (Century Media)