Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dark Tranquillity - Construct

I think that Dark Tranquillity is one of the most consistent bands in metal. No, they may not have always released albums that appealed to all fans. No, they may not have always been as heavy as a melodic death metal band should be but their creativity should never be called into question. As a matter of fact, I think there are some albums by these Gothenburg originals that get way more shit than they deserve. Their tenth full length, Construct, is one of those albums. It's taken me a lot of listens to actually come to appreciate this album for what it is. There is some really good music and a killer atmosphere on this album and it's time people recognize it. It's not without flaws but it's not the abomination some make it out to be.

Some people think that the band was trying to create another Projector here but I don't see it that way. What I see is the perfect successor to We Are The Void, an album that I enjoyed. It didn't blow me away like Damage Done or Character but it was filled with an atmosphere that had me drawn to it for some reason. Don't get me wrong, Construct is not without its flaws as I feel the album opener, "For Broken Words," is a weak track that should not have opened the album. "The Silence of Noise" is a much better song where the keys provide melody and the riffs are pure Dark Tranquillity. Mikael Stanne's voice is as solid as it's ever been. The leads towards the end of the song are nice and melodic even if they don't provide anything else. "The Silence In Between" is another that has some decent riffing as well as some really melodic parts provided by the keyboards. The softer passage in the middle adds atmosphere adding another dimension to this album. "Apathetic" is a beast of a song that just kicks your ass. This song has some of the heaviest riffing the band has done in year as well as a godly solo.

I will admit that "What Only You Know" would not have been out of place on Projector or Haven. It's a good song with some wonderful melodies provided by the keys. Mikael Stanne's clean vocals are better than they were on any previous release. It appears that he has been working on his vocals because they were not flat in any place. I've never been a huge fan of his cleans but I can't deny that they work here. They tried their hand at it again on "State of Trust" but it did not work near as well as on "What You Only Know." The song is quite chaotic trying to go in too many places at once. Stanne sounds good but not enough to save the song. Then you have a song like "Endtime Hearts" that is a nice mix of the aggressive riffing and melodies. The chorus has a catchy melody that makes the song that much better. The keyboards in the background create a nice atmosphere that mixes well with the rest of the sounds on this song. There is a nice solo going on in this song making it that much better. "Weight of the End" is another song that has some nice riffing as well as those signature DT keys providing the melodies. This song could have been on Character. It's heavy in places and melodic in others but the mix of both has always worked for this band and it works on this song as well.

It's funny that this album is a culmination of everything that makes Dark Tranquillity the great band that they are but it takes some serious heat. I'm not afraid to admit the album's faults because there are a few. "None Becoming" is one of these moments. This is a song that just does nothing for me. It's slow and plodding. It could have been much more because the keys provide a nice atmosphere. However, I think the highlights I have mentioned here is enough to not disregard the album as a whole. Even the worst moments here are not horrible. I suggest that you get the limited edition 2 CD for "Immemorial" alone. Even though this is a slower song it's got some beautiful melodies, nice riffing and a melodic solo that just makes the song a nice addition as a bonus track. The second disc is a live disc and if you have ever heard this band live you know that it is a nice treat. Love them or hate them, they can pull it off in the live setting.

So here it is, I have made my case for this album. With all it's flaws and given the fact that they have moved away from the sound that a lot of DT fans have come to love, this album has some damn fine moments and should not be disregarded in any way. This is the direction the band seems to be going in right now. Who knows what the next album will bring. This band seems to reinvent itself every few albums so the sky's the limit for this band. But in the mean time, I'm not afraid to admit that I like this album. I suggest a few more listens as I have done. You may see that it can grow on you.


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