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Perennial artisans of the Gothenberg melo-death sound they helped create back in the nineties, there's been a general feeling from many critics and fans that Dark Tranquillity have regurgitated the same formula for the past few albums. In one sense, satisfying what people expect by efficaciously delivering what they do best time and again but, simultaneously, quelling any hope of progression within their established aesthetic. Too many sideways steps one could say. 'Construct' is set to change all that and marks the Swedes biggest forward step for years; perhaps their biggest innovative jump ahead since 1999's 'Projector'. I'm guessing their change of logo is supposed to be indicative of such. The expected idioms of the Gothenberg melo-death sound they helped create are present throughout but, this time, they're presented within the context of a pervasive, broody and, sometimes, menacing atmosphere. There's less intricate riffage this time around although it's still present in places and prominently so on certain tracks ('Apathetic' being a prime example). And when Martin Henriksson and Niklas Sundin do let rip with bursts of up-tempo, palm-muted riffery, it feels more integrated with the compositions rather than dominating them. There are discernibly more passages where each of the elements in the instrumentations strike a harmonic unity - guitar chords ring out over atmospheric keyboards to create lavishly textured sounds of emotionally and atmospherically driven music. Also, the duality of Mikael Stanne's incisive growls and the sublimely smooth tones of his clean vocals are used to good effect throughout, accentuating and contributing to songs' shifting moods. In one sense, this is the essence of 'Construct'; it's best digested as a whole, and an album that can both feed and create your moods rather than a series of discrete compositions where attention is drawn to particular sing-along chorus or riff-based sections. At a time when self-pastiche had started to become a little too predictable and tired in their output, this is the album Dark Tranquillity needed to make at this stage of their career.
Century Media
Review by Mark Holmes
27th May 2013
1) For Broken Words
2) The Science of Noise
3) Uniformity
4) The Silence in Between
5) Apathetic
6) What Only You Know
7) Endtime Hearts
8) State of Trust
9) Weight of the End
10) None Becoming
"...the Swedes biggest forward step for years; perhaps their biggest innovative jump ahead since 1999's 'Projector'."