Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity returns with their eleventh full length album Atoma which was released November 4th, 2016 by Century Media Records. The album is probably the band’s most atmospheric and experimental out of their extensive discography. The group is known for their hard work in being one of the forefathers of the “Gothenburg death metal” sound that we have grown to love alongside bands such as In Flames and At The Gates in the 1990s. Atoma is the band’s first studio album with new bassist Anders Iwers, who replaced founding member Martin Henriksson, after Henriksson left the band in early 2016. Atoma features elements that show evolution in the genre by incorporating tracks of clean vocals, dissonant guitar riffs and melodic elements that stand out among the other bands in the melodic death metal realm.
Tracks such as “The Absolute” and “Time Out of Place” have a darker, softer and more brooding sound relying on only clean vocals by Mikael Stanne. His clean vocals provide a haunting yet entrancing element in these songs making them stand out through the album as a cloud that remains over you even after listening to the whole album. Other tracks such as “Atoma” and “Forward Momentum” revives old elements of Dark Tranquillity’s signature Gothenburg sound while still incorporating the melodic elements including a mix of clean vocals and dissonant riffs.
All and all, this album is a great addition in Dark Tranquillity’s catalog while sounding like true progression from one of Sweden’s finest and oldest melodic death metal acts. There is a track on this album for any metalhead to enjoy from the heavier moments to the somber and more emotional moments found throughout the album. Either way, this album will invoke some feelings that will be both sadness but a calming and beautiful kind. I highly recommend this album if you are a fan of Opeth and Katatonia.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Neil Andersen