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darktranquillity atoma
Artist: Dark Tranquillity
Title: Atoma
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: 4th November 2016
Label: Century Media Records

Album Review

Ten albums, two Swedish Grammy nominations, several EPs, and twenty-seven years of ‘Gothenburg Sound’, these are barely some facts about the Swedes from DARK TRANQUILLITY. This year, the melodic death metal band returns with the eleventh release ‘Atoma’.

The line-up might have changed a little since the last album, ‘Construct’ from 2013, but DARK TRANQUILLITY still appear hungry. Mikael Stanne delivers the lyrics, singing and growling and breathing life into every song. Niklas Sundin plays the lead guitar, firing off riffs to bang our heads to, while Anders Iwars on the bass and Anders Jivarp on the drums provide for the rhythm and drive of DARK TRANQUILLITY. Finally, Martin Brändström plays the oftentimes quite distinct keyboards we can hear well on ‘Atoma’. The album starts with a strong opener, ‘Encircled’. Somewhere between heavy and melodic riffs, an overall dark and desperate atmosphere, and Mikael Stanne’s deadly growls, we are delighted by the first three minutes of the album. Next comes the title track ‘Atoma’, a very melodic and catchy piece of music that combines clear vocals during the verses with rasping screams during the chorus, rounding up the song nicely. After that, we are thrown into ‘Forward Momentum’ with its twangy and harsh intro that leads us into a calmer and yet passionate song about moving on – yet again with clear vocals until the last chorus where Mikael Stanne growls at us again. And never forget the guitar solo right before, it sounds just great.

Three songs into the album, we feel that DARK TRANQUILLITY can, after all these years, still attack and pull us into the abysses of ourselves. The following ‘Neutrality’ adds to the impression, sometimes balancing between hard and melodic but in the end, it never reaches the atmosphere and intensity of the first three songs. However, ‘Neutrality’, ‘Force of Hand’, and ‘The Pitiless’ are good material for this album. ‘Faceless by Default’ cannot convince us though and ‘Our Proof of Life’ feels strangely out of place. ‘Clearing Skies’ is presented with a catchy melody and provides for more than hopelessness until it breaks down after two minutes. The next two tracks, ‘When the World Screams’ and ‘Merciless Fate’ are dark, driving, and urgent at times, and especially the latter gets stuck in our heads before ‘Atoma’ is concluded with a decent but fairly neglectable ‘Caves and Embers’. The media book edition has two bonus tracks to offer. First, we get the quite confusing ‘The Absolute’ that sounds like a pop ballad while the lyrics speak of restlessness and anxiety. ‘Time Out of Place’ has a more dramatic character but it also feels – out of place.

‘Atoma’ cannot reach the fulminant ‘We Are the Void’ from 2010 but it is a more than decent DARK TRANQUILLITY album. It is melodic and dark, the composing is overall good, and the clear vocals are more than satisfactory. We get twelve songs and a runtime of forty-nine minutes, with two additional tracks for the media book edition. Personally, we think that ‘Atoma’ does better without these bonus tracks. And although not entirely satisfied with the album, we can only say that DARK TRANQUILLITY have done a good job and that fans around the globe are going to enjoy this release.


CD 1
01. Encircled
02. Atoma
03. Forward Momentum  
04. Neutrality
05. Force of Hand
06. Faithless by Default
07. The Pitiless
08. Our Proof of Life
09. Clearing Skies
10. When the World Screams
11. Merciless Fate
12. Cave and Embers

CD 2 (Media Book Bonus Tracks)
01. The Absolute
02. Time out of Place


Mikael Stanne – Vocals
Niklas Sundin – Guitar
Anders Iwars – Bass
Martin Brändström – Keyboards
Anders Jivarp – Drums

Websites /

Cover Picture

darktranquillity atoma


Music: 6
Sound: 8
Total: 7 / 10

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