Dark Tranquillity

The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost Review

The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost Review

“Longtime readers of the AMG Diaries will know my opinions regarding so-called “supergroups.” All too often these star-studded vanity vehicles promise much and deliver little, generally falling way short of anything truly super. With this jaded but entirely realistic worldview, I approached the debut from The Halo Effect, the project composed of Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne and four former members of In Flames. That lineup makes The Halo Effect a supergroup for Swedish melodeth purposes if nothing else, and on Days of the Lost, they largely stick to what they know best, dropping an album’s worth of material that sits roughly halfway between the members’ main acts.” Heroes and halos.

Darkane – Inhuman Spirits Review

Darkane – Inhuman Spirits Review

“I like Darkane. The veteran Swedish outfit has always struck a particular chord with me, especially on their more consistently ripping offerings, such as underrated debut Rusted Angel, and gems like 2002’s Expanding Senses, and 2005’s Layers of Lies. Despite falling into the shadows of their more recognized contemporaries, Darkane’s gnarly, melodic and hooky blend of thrash and melodeath, amply bolstered by chunky modern metal grooves and symphonic touches, offers a damn good time when the band is in the zone.” Rusted angels of darkness.

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

“Melodic death metal is a strange beast for me. It’s one of those genres that almost always sounds good on first listen, but once the novelty wears off, I rarely find myself enamored enough to hang around. I recently joked that Amon Amarth is the only melodeath band I actually like, and while that may not actually be true, the sentiment illustrates what I need in order to like an album of this particular genre. No thanks to sad-boi, contemplative versions of the style; I need riffs and aggression in my melodeath platters.” Burning in elegance.

Unanimated – Victory in Blood Review

Unanimated – Victory in Blood Review

Unanimated is a historical oddity of sorts. Emerging from the Swedish death metal scene in the late 80s, they were one of the first bands to play what we now think of melodeath. Their 1993 In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead debut hit the same year as Dark Tranquillity’s debut and At the Gates sophomore platter, but Unanimated’s music was darker and creepier with a strong black metal element winding through its twisted core. Though the debut has gone on to become a minor cult classic, the band was quickly left behind as their contemporaries garnered all the fame and attention. There was a gap of some 14 years between their second and third release, and now after 12 years, we get their fourth outing, Victory in Blood.” Transcending obscurity.

Grand Cadaver – Into the Maw of Death Review

Grand Cadaver – Into the Maw of Death Review

“Sometimes I forget why I seized a particular promo, as weeks and even months can pass between wading into the primordial muck to retrieve it and finally sitting down to marinate in the righteously poached product. When it came time to get cuddely with Grand Cadaver’s debut full-length, I had no real sense of why I took it beyond the cool name and the vague “death metal” tag emblazoned on its filthy outer shell. As the music washed over me I was greeted with the oh-so-familiar buzzing of classic Swedeath, but as the vocals assailed my ear sockets, I felt an immediate pang of recognition.” Old corpse, new maggots.

Karpenter – Sleepless Review

Karpenter – Sleepless Review

Karpenter plays an Americanized version of the Swedish sound which was foundational to bands like As I Lay Dying, along with the Swedish take on that Americanized Swedish sound which was done by Soilwork and In Flames on Stabbing the Drama, Sworn to a Great Divide, A Sense of Purpose, and Come Clarity. The newest of the above is thirteen years old, the oldest sixteen – Karpenter is an unintentionally hard-hitting commentary on the passage of time.” Sleeping in the past.

GardensTale’s Top Ten(ish) Album Art of 2020

GardensTale’s Top Ten(ish) Album Art of 2020

“We spend every single day of the year on this blog talking about music. The highs, the lows, the marshes of the meh. Occasionally, we give a nod to an especially beautiful cover (or an especially heinous one) to buff our word count for the article, but it’s barely a condiment on the edge of the buffet plate, stacked with pretentious slop, that we throw casually in front of the voracious readership. But this one time a year, I don’t have to talk about the music at all.” Gardens variety galleries.

Dark Tranquillity – Moment Review

Dark Tranquillity – Moment Review

“I’ve always thought Dark Tranquillity was the band that best represented the Gothenburg sound that took hold of metaldom in the early 90s. It’s indisputable that they’re the act that’s aged the most gracefully in the quarter century since the style took hold, as fellow countrymen In Flames and Arch Enemy wandered off into career oblivion. That’s not to say there haven’t been ups and downs in the Dark Tranquillity catalog. That brings us to Moment, their 12th platter of moody melodeath.” Dark moments.

Strydegor – Isolacracy Review

Strydegor – Isolacracy Review

“As 2020 drags itself towards the finish line, dry-heaving and wheezing like the miserable fuck of a year it was, there are going to be bands trying to shine some light onto what’s been a horrific time in everyone’s lives. Few genres can inject much needed life into a shambling corpse quite like melodic death metal, and today, we’ve got the fourth full-length from German quartet, Strydegor.” Isolation nation.

Mitochondrial Sun – Sju Pulsarer Review

Mitochondrial Sun – Sju Pulsarer Review

“It has been a scant nine months since I reviewed Mitochondrial Sun’s debut. Under normal circumstances, I’d be wondering whether nine months is enough to generate a new album’s worth of material. However, 2020 has finally banished any remaining illusions I may have had about the linear flow of time, and calendars are now meaningless.” The genuine pulsar.