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Dark Tranquillity - Atoma - 60%

Opus_Oculto, December 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Century Media Records

As a longtime Dark Tranquillity fan, I can’t help but be concerned with the future of this once amazing band. Atoma is the eleventh studio album of the Swedish melodeath masters and even though the band does not seem to be getting out of shape, this new full-length just looks like “more of the same”. I mean, the album was not intended to be a continuation of Construct, but as Construct it lacks a lot of musical elements that were the trademark of the band’s previous releases. Atoma is way too soft. The riffs are too soft. Vocals are boring. Lyrics are just okay. This is something unacceptable for a band that helped to create melodic death metal.

First of all, the presence of keyboards and synthesizers are a constant in Atoma. It wouldn't be a bad thing if they were accompanied by the amazing guitar riffs and melodies that Sundin and Cia have always been able to create, but after several spins on this album, riffs and melodies just seem to be forgettable. The synthesizers alone give a goth-like vibe to the songs that makes them sound like some kind of post-dream pop metal. This album really lacks some amazing guitar melodies that were the strong point of all of the band’s most successful albums.

Atoma also lacks aggressiveness. It is still a melodic death metal album, but it does not have the fury or even the pace of a death metal album. Some tracks like “The Pitiless”, “When The World Screams” and “Encircled” still have that energy and atmosphere which resemble Character or Damage Done (and they are the highlights of the album), but the other ones are just average melodic death metal. Also, Stanne’s clean vocals were never so unnecessary. They are even annoying. Dark Tranquillity made the risky decision to put clean vocals already in the first tracks and simply made them the down point of the album. If they had just skipped the clean vocals, this album would be much more enjoyable as a whole.

Nevertheless, Atoma is not a bad album at all. For a band that’s been almost 30 years on the road, they still have the same heart and passion for composing and playing like in the glorious old days, but this album sounds too soft for what we're used to hearing from these guys. Their songwriting is still amazing, but from the beginning to the end, Atoma simply looks like a continuation of Construct, only a little more fast and better produced. A good choice for new fans, not so much for the old fans.

Originally written for http://naturezadocaos.blogspot.com.br