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Music / Dark Tranquillity

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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 Stanne 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 one of its original members - Mikael Stanne (vocals) still with the band. In 2021 he collaborated with several other former members of In Flames to create the supergroup The Halo Effect.

Current Line-Up:

  • Mikael Stanne (vocals)
  • Martin Brandstrom (electronics, piano)
  • Johan Reinholdz (guitars)
  • Christian Jansson (bass)
  • Joakim Strandberg-Nilsson (drums)

Former Line-Up:

  • Niklas Sundin (lead guitar)
  • Anders Friden (vocals on Skydancer, their first album, left the band to lead In Flames)
  • Fredrik Johansson (rhythm guitar)
  • Martin Henriksson (rhythm guitar)
  • Mikael Niklasson (bass)
  • Daniel Antonsson (bass on "We Are the Void")
  • Anders Iwers (bass)
  • Anders Jivarp (drums)
  • Christopher Amott (guitars)


  • 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)
  • Atoma (2016)
  • Moment (2020)
  • Endtime Signals (2024)

Dark Tranquillity provides examples of:

  • Dark Is Not Evil: Their death growls are guttural yet understandable, their instrumentation is as often soaring and epic as sinister, and their lyrics, while dark, are generally not horribly offensive.
  • Deranged Animation: The video for "Iridium", a Mind Screw of assorted apocalyptic imagery to match the lyrics.
  • Gorn: "Still Moving Sinews" is an arguable example. It describes the violent murder of a woman and the subsequent decay of her corpse in a poetic but fairly detailed manner, although the narrator doesn't exactly sound proud about the whole thing.
  • 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).
  • Gothic Metal: The band plays this style combined with their signature melodeath sound in their fourth studio album, Projector. They also have trace elements of the genre in their material after it.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted. Stanne is known both for his distinctive growling and his enunciation while doing so.
  • Industrial Metal: Construct and subsequent albums dial up the EBM and dark electronica elements that the band has experimented with over the course of their career, adding a cold, dystopian feel to their music.
  • Melodic Death Metal: The band's signature sound.
  • Metal Scream: Type 3
  • 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.
  • New Sound Album: Projector introduced elements of Classical Music and Gothic Metal, resulting in a more flowing sound compared to the previous albums. Construct was the start of the band's increasing experimentation with electronic and dark ambient influences to create a cold, dark, and industrial sound.
  • Religion Rant Song: "The Lesser Faith" from Fiction and "The Treason Wall" from Damage Done are Type II. Construct is an album-sized version of this.
  • Signature Style: Frequent time signature changes, slow to 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.
  • Surreal Horror: A few of their album covers have shades of this.
  • Title Track: The Gallery, The Mind's I, Haven, Damage Done, and Atoma have one.
  • 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, The Agonist, DEADLOCK, Kokuyasou, Barren Earth, Persefone, DIO - Distraught Overlord, exist†trace, Solution .45, MaYaN, early Cormorant, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Eluveitie.