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Dark Tranquillity > Skydancer > Reviews > PKendall317
Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer

The Prototype of Melodeath - 79%

PKendall317, November 26th, 2011

The first Dark Tranquillity album I listened to was Fiction, which I greatly enjoyed so I decided to go back in time to their first album, Skydancer.

At first glance, Skydancer reminds me of In Flames' early work, but less refined and less polished. The similarity to In Flames becomes obvious when one checks the lineup and finds that the vocals are performed by Anders Friden, Mikael Stanne performing backing vocals and guitar at this point.

I'd describe Skydancer as being "proto-melodeath." The music, although good, and in the case of "Shadow Duet," great, sounds very experimental, as if they're still attempting to polish and refine their sound. Throughout the entire album the band uses accoustic guitars, clean vocals, and on "A Bolt of Blazing Gold," female vocals. All of these are basically inserted onto a melodeath framework to see how they work together. And for the most part, it all fits together nicely if one ignores the production and seemingly prototypical sound.

Despite this the album does have several highlights. In my opnion the best songs on the album are "Shadow Duet," and "A Bolt of Blazing Gold." "Shadow Duet," is a duet performed by Anders Friden and Mikael Stanne, but if it didn't have the word "duet" in the title, the average listener would just assume its one or the other. The problem is that Friden and Stanne's vocals are too similar to be distinguashable from one another. On "A Bolt of Blazing Gold," the band experiments with using backing female vocals,. These are pleasing to the ear, but they also seem somewhat out of place during the portions ofhe song that they're featured on.

Musically, there's nothing really new or innovating other than the bands style. The guitars play both accoustic melodies and more fast paced almost early death/thrash metal sounding riffs. The drums don't do anything special either. The main problem with the bands playing at this point in their career is that they haven't really defined themselves yet, they're still trying to decide what kind of style they're going to play.

Skydancer is a decent album but it's nothing special. It's fun to listen to especially if you want to hear what the band sounded like in their early days.