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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - DARK TRANQUILLITY - Skydancer + Of Chaos And Eternal Light

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Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer + Of Chaos And Eternal Light (9,5/10) - Sweden - 1994/1995/2000

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Spinefarm
Playing time: 67:35
Band homepage: Dark Tranquillity


  1. Nightfall By The Shores Of Time
  2. Crimson Winds
  3. A Bolt Of Glazing Gold
  4. In Tears Bereaved
  5. Skywards
  6. Through Ebony Archways
  7. Shadow Duet
  8. My Faeryland Forgotten
  9. Alone
  10. Of Chaos And Eternal Night
  11. With The Flaming Shades Of Fall
  12. Away, Delight, Away
  13. Alone '94
Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer + Of Chaos And Eternal Light
Has anyone realized how similar DARK TRANQUILLITY and IN FLAMES' history truly are, at the beginning at least (Yup, even did a whole article on that one ;) - Alex)? They're both from the same town (Gothenburg), play the same sub-genre of Metal. Furthermore, IN FLAMES' current singer, Anders Fridén, did the vocals on the first DARK TRANQUILLITY album, and vice versa. And now, both bands have re-released their debut album and the EP that follows it as a single release.

The CD starts of with "Nightfall By The Shores Of Time", and it introduces the band's most famous elements in one song: Their ability to mix melody and technicality, beauty and brutality, catchiness and progressive song writing, writing intertwining melodies and guitar lines that play around each other. However, the band's better and more subtle abilities surface after repeated listens.

Such abilities include:

- The band playing a slightly modified (be it a changed tempo, time signature, picking pattern or some added/removed notes) of a previously played riff later on in the song, giving the riff a certain freshness when it shows up, all while making the song smoother.

- Their generally free-formed song structures. It's almost as if the music took on a life of its own and decided to forge its own path.

- Their experimentation with acoustic guitars, clean and female vocals.

- Their harmonies are intricate guitar lines that play around each other, each with different rhythmic patterns, creating a sense of both tension and coherence.

- Riffs in odd time that don't sound awkward.

- Their uncanny ability to mix the above features into a single whole, making their songs much more than just the sum of their parts.

All of the characteristics mentioned above would be improved and further explored in their following albums, but it's nice to see that a DARK TRANQUILLITY were on the track to forge their own identity ever since they first started out. This is a near perfect record. The only bad thing about it is the production, where the vocals are somewhat drowned out sometimes, but for a debut, especially during the era it was released, it's pretty good.

There are check-out tips a'plenty on this CD, but the better songs are: "Of Chaos And Eternal Night" (title track of their first EP), "In Tears Bereaved" (featuring that INSANE opening riff), "Through The Ebony Archways" (A ballad that features beautiful female vocals, classical guitar sections, and with Death vocals that actually FIT) and "Shadow Duet" (The best song on the album, where Anders Fridén and Mikael Stanne share the vocal duties in a Death Metal duet, each vying for the control of the listener's ear).

Highly recommended. (Online September 19, 2003)

Armen Janjanian

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