Dark Tranquility, one of the more prominent Swedish melodic death metal bands, has been dishing out one great album after another since their 1993 release Skydancer. For 13 years they have been defining the genre, so it is completely disheartening to hear their latest album, Atoma. The meat, albeit bland, is definitely in the middle of the album: “Neutrality,” “Clearing Skies,” and “When the World Screams,” have the elements of a classic DT song: the speed and the energy a longtime fan has come to expect.
However, it’s not enough to make up for the watered-down goth rock that infiltrates the first few songs, overshadowing the rest of the album. The overbearing clean vocals, are way too prominent throughout and don’t offer up a pleasant contrast with the harsh – as is the expected – melodeath formula.
Coming into this expecting any of the passion we heard on Haven, or more recently We Are the Void, is a huge disservice. A few of the tracks on the album are almost redeeming, but the oscillation between the bland, hard rock-styled songs and the traditional melodic death songs is far too unstable, unpredictable and unenjoyable. There is just too much uninspired fluff to make this a notable album.
Originally published on December 9, 2016 at Beatroute.ca