Friday, May 24, 2013

Dark Tranquillity: "Construct"

Going into this I was still under the impression these guys were still Swedish Death Metal , which means lots of harmony guitar parts and thrash influence like  At the Gates or it could also be more crusty like Entombed or Dissection influenced with a little blackend thrown in but instead we get KillSwtich Engage like mall metal. It well produced and effectivly executed though a little slack in the song writing department. Apparently this is what happens even to metal bands who sell their souls  tyring to break into America.

I have seen a  couple of videos here and there and heard two albums at most in passing none of which I own as I generally have regarded them as being pretty bland.  Fans of the band will cite their metal pedigree as the band once held In Flames vocalist and the two guitarists use to play for Hammerfall and the Keyboardist was once in Tiamat, but aside from the traces of power metal in a few riffs In Flames is band they share the most common ground with.

The opener almost has a Katatonia vibe that would be more noticable if it wasn't for the one dimensional growl of their singer, who employs clean vocals much more on this album than past releases. Their is the hardcore stacatto chug of a Killswitch thrown in for good measure. Is there a coat of cheese on this ...sure but the song is well crafted , while I an adverse reaction to it, almost nothing on this album really strikes me as heavy. It would be heavy for Katatonia maybe though "Forsaker" is heaveir than anything on here.

"The Science of Noise" has one of the straightforward beats to it that I don't like before it Katatonia Switch Engage on us , the In Flames like guitar sort of appears here but it pretty cut and dry with the harmony parts as bridges. The blandness I think of them for is actualized here.  The moody "Uniformity"  works off the Katatonia vibe, though the are going for more the stadium metal epics here, so I can hear a little Arch Enemy , though it goes back to the Gothenberg sound  that Arch Enenmy despite being Brits try to emmulate, though the vocal melody here is very Killswitch with a little less dramatic emphasis. The lyrics must have been dumbed down for commercial appeal because I can't imagine grown men would write lyrics like this .

"The Silence in Between" is pretty middle of the road metal and that's my beef with these guys is that metal is not supposed to be middle of the road about anything. Yet there's no sense of darkness , anger or violence in this its prefomed well but sterile. "Apathetic" takes on more of a thrash feel, it sounds like recycled 3 inches of Blood riffs who are recycling riffs from the eighties there is a melodic moment and some effects on the vocals which help vary the sound.

The clean vocal on "What Only You Know" is at least hookier than most of the songs on the new Alice in Chains I just reviewed . It's over articulated more like Opeth. The mall metal quota is reach in the keyboard riff  to this one alone. The guitar phrashing on the verse is very Killswitch as well, as you can see it's pretty much a color by numbers with nothing making this their distinct sound, were they doing this first , sure but there is a conscious effort to indentify with other artist who are somewhat at least more succeful with American crowd, I suppose Katatonia it could be debated .

There's a very simplistic guitar leading intoi "End Time Hearts" the vocals by this point have bored the hell out of me this album is now a test of endurence.  Some of  the guitar melodies on this remind me of J-pop, it's way to happy to be death metal. The clean vocal takes on more of  a H.I.M like tone on  "State of Trust" every thing not only drops out on the verse but the production does as well, the clean recording quality of this makes the guitars very thing, one of the factors keeping this record from feeling heavy. God there's even a Linkin Park styled breakdown , the pop kin not the rap kind at the end.

The  are are always clues to let you know the amount of creative depth that went into making something like this things like the lack of thought provoking song titles , doesn't even prepare you for the riff that sounds like Disturbed's "Striken" on "Weight of the World". The closer "None Becoming" is a little weighed down by the Keyboards but the sense of melody is more impressive than the majority of  the album. They seem almost more comfortable in the Katatonia zone on this album.

I'll give this one a 4 , they are trying but seem out of touch with themselves here and grabbing for straws on a sinking ship, they should have taken a page from Slayer's book and stuck to their guns and made music true to themselves rather than this, but the potential for melody is there, I think if this was a more foucsed effort it could have been more realized.  


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