Dark Tranquillity: Construct

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Dark Tranquillity: Construct
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Dark Tranquillity: Construct
Melodic Death Metal
Century Media Records
May 27th, 2013
Release length: 42:24
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When Dark Tranquillity announce a new album, the Metal community stands at attention. One of the driving forces behind the Melodic Death Metal movement, this keyboard-infused Gothenburg act has evolved and devolved many times over the years. Their latest effort, Construct, has promised to bring something new and different to the mix, acting as sort of a rebirth. With fans eating up the recently released audio streams on Youtube, as well as music video, one can only get more anxious the closer the release date comes. But, does Construct really end up a solid, gamechanging entry, or is the impact far less spectacular?

One major difference is how subtle the keyboards end up being. Instead of dominating the mix, the guitars end up the main priority once more, and it works out great to create a dark, even mechanical atmosphere right away. “For Broken Words” introduces an energetic performance with strong melodic riffs played faster than the rest of the music, effectively replacing the keyboards, which end up simpler and lower in volume throughout the song. The lower tones of the bass guitar give it a gloomy, lifeless tone that hits the mark just right. There’s also “Uniformity,” which find clean singing in the most miserable of atmospheres. The main verses are a bit more aggressive, but the chorus and various other areas have a dismal, hopeless tone that casts a bleak environment police-state Science Fiction nuts will feel right at home with. “What Only You Know” puts a little more enthusiasm and range into the singing, a nice touch to the sombering performance. The chorus is the only area that truly sticks out, being a little thicker and more unique compared to the somewhat barren and uninspiring music in the main verses. Sadly, much of this can also be said for “State of Trust,” proving that this approach needs to be handled with a certain atmosphere for it to work in Dark Tranquillity‘s favor.

Surprisingly, some of the songs that don’t really rely much on atmosphere stick out the most. “The Silence in Between” is a catchy, somewhat upbeat track with truly infectious hooks that offer a glimmer of hope. There is still a sense of hostility to be found, but the chorus uses the added harmonization of the aggressive rhaspy vocals to compliment the rich, uplifting material perfectly. Then you have “Apathetic,” which seems to blend in a bit of Thrash against a traditional Melodic Death Metal template, immediately hitting you with a message of the band simply being pissed off with the world and all that’s been going on. This is something pretty evident throughout, but this is the most obvious. While there’s plenty of unique tracks, the energy and hostility presented here makes this one of, if not the most memorable cut, destined to be a pit favorite. Sadly, it’s after this point Construct starts to lose steam, though “Immemorial” presents some of the tightest, richest material compared to the rest of the five songs. The lead chords offer a little more tone, and the slower passages find a stronger focus on the booming drums that may only be for brief moments, but they’re scattered about throughout. There’s also a nice keyboard solo that follows the guitar solos.

Overall, Construct really doesn’t deliver much on the promises that were made. Yes, there are some interesting elements to the album, especially the dismal atmospheres and shades of machines that amplify the environment. It’s also great to hear the keyboards a little more restricted compared to their most recent efforts. There isn’t really any middle ground here either. There are songs that stand out with powerful performances and emotional tones, while others are just typical Dark Tranquillity tracks that vary in how catchy they can be. If you liked the group’s previous effort, We Are the Void, you will feel right at home here given how obvious it is that they are trying to expand on it like they did with Fiction about two years after Character. While not the most memorable, Construct does end up a solid album that fans will come back to time and time again.

01. For Broken Words – 4:34
02. The Science of Noise – 3:45
03. Uniformity – 5:31
04. The Silence in Between – 3:32
05. Apathetic – 3:29
06. What Only You Know – 4:01
07. Endtime Hearts – 3:59
08. State of Trust – 4:06
09. Weight of the End – 4:56
10. None Becoming – 4:31
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Dark Tranquillity
Dark Tranquillity

Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.