Dark Tranquillity is one of the first (along with In Flames
and At The Gates
) to create the Gothenburg Death Metal sound, one of the major factors in Melodic Death Metal
Founded by then-Rhythm Guitarist (later singer) Mikael Stane and lead guitarist Niklas Sundin in 1989, Dark Tranquillity is known for an ever-changing style. No two albums sound alike. While most of their albums are definitively in the Melodic Death Metal
vein, their use of keyboards, clean vocals, solos, breakdowns, and occasional female guest-singers (most notably Nell Sigland of The Crest
and Theatre Of Tragedy
) all varies wildly.The Gallery
in particular, has been highly influential, and bands including Killswitch Engage
consider it an inspiration.
Dark Tranquillity is also notable for having four of its original members - Mikael Stanne (Lead Vocals), Niklas Sundin (Lead Guitar), Martin Henriksson (Bassist, later Guitar), and Anders Jivarp (Drums) are still with the band.
- Mikael Stanne (Vocals)
- Niklas Sundin (Lead Guitar)
- Martin Henriksson (Rhythm Guitar)
- Anders Jivarp (Drums)
- Martin Brandstrom (Electronics, Piano)
- Anders Friden (Vocals on Skydancer, their first album, left the band to lead In Flames)
- Frederik Johansson (Guitar)
- Mikael Niklasson (Bass)
- Daniel Antonsson (Bass on We Are the Void)
Dark Tranquillity provides examples of:
- Skydancer (1993)
- The Gallery (1995)
- The Mind's I (1998)
- Projector (1999)
- Haven (2000)
- Damage Done (2002)
- Character (2005)
- Fiction (2007)
- We Are The Void (2010)
- Construct (2013)
- Deranged Animation: The video for "Iridium", a Mind Screw of assorted apocalyptic imagery to match the lyrics.
- Genre Shift: Either subverted or played straight, depending on how you look at it. Projector seemed to be this, with acoustic guitar, piano, clean singing, and progressive and lighter songs compared to its predecessors The Gallery and The Mind's I, but with Haven, the band returned to a heavier death metal approach, yet kept the keyboards (pervasive) and clean singing (infrequent).
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted. Stanne is known both for his distinctive growling and his enunciation while doing so.
- Mind Screw: The music video for "Monochromatic Stains," a The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari-esque flood of random images in which the band never appears once.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The majority of their songs are at 9, but a handful of their later, more keyboard heavy songs get as low as 8. Much of Projector could be 7.
- Signature Style: Frequent time signature changes, mid-tempo power riffs, low, breathy growling, symphonic elements, a Gothic-inspired sound, and unusual key signatures. Of the three big melodeath bands, they were the most avant-garde.
- Soprano and Gravel: Subverted. This trope is so popular in Melodic Death Metal, yet even when Stanne sings clean (which doesn't happen on every album), his timbre is quite baritone.
- Played straight in "The Mundane and the Magic," a duet with Nell Sigland of Theatre Of Tragedy
- Also in "Insanity's Crescendo", "Undo Control", "The Gallery", "...Of Melancholy Burning", a part of "Lethe", and arguably "A Bolt Of Blazing Gold" and "Through Ebony Archways" from Skydancer which feature faint female vocals.
- Trope Maker: Well, co-Trope Maker for Melodic Death Metal along with At The Gates and In Flames, with albums from Carcass and Sentenced being possible Ur Examples.
- Trope Codifier: For the slower, more progressive school of Melodic Death Metal as exemplified by them, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Disarmonia Mundi, Insomnium, Persefone, DIO - Distraught Overlord, Exist Trace and Mayan.