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 three of its original members - Mikael Stanne (Lead Vocals), Niklas Sundin (Lead Guitar) and Anders Jivarp (Drums) still with the band.
- Mikael Stanne (Vocals)
- Niklas Sundin (Lead and Rhythm Guitar)
- Anders Iwers (Bass)
- Anders Jivarp (Drums)
- Martin Brandstrom (Electronics, Piano)
- Anders Friden (Vocals on Skydancer, their first album, left the band to lead In Flames)
- Fredrik Johansson (Guitar)
- Martin Henriksson (Guitar)
- Mikael Niklasson (Bass)
- Daniel Antonsson (Bass on We Are the Void)
- 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)
Dark Tranquillity provides examples of:
- Dark Is Not Evil: Their death growls are relatively light, 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.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted. Stanne is known both for his distinctive growling and his enunciation while doing so.
- 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.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Generally ranges from a 7 to a 9.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, existtrace, Mayan, early Cormorant and Fleshgod Apocalypse.