I think I hold the world record for the number of times I have missed a Dark Tranquillity concert. I missed them in Dallas, TX a bunch of times, and again in Atlanta in 2014. Needless to say, I was distraught and drowned my sorrows in bottomless bottles of cheap vodka and over every single Dark Tranquillity album that has been released to date in hopes that I would be able to see them once before my time on this earth ran out. Okay, I’m being dramatic but you get the idea.
When the time finally arrived to see them last week, I was sick with a stomach bug, had had no electricity for the past 24 hours, and was battling my inner road-rage demons due to traffic induced by the wrath of hurricane Irma. But I was determined to not let any of that get in the way of me witnessing one of my favorite bands of all time. Despite arriving at the venue late and missing big chunks of the opening acts’ sets, it was clear to me that the early crowd—an especially thin crowd due to the storm—was having a great time. Unfortunately, Dark Tranquillity’s North American tour, featuring supporting acts Striker and Warbringer, kicked off with a bunch of canceled dates in Florida due to Irma and the extensive damage brought on by it.
In spite of the unfortunate circumstances, the show went on without a hitch and was a total success. Warbringer were as impressive as I had seen them a few months ago, playing their signature neo-thrash style to perfection. But the night no doubt belonged to Dark Tranquillity. From digital backdrop projections to the raw energy, the band careened down the highway that is their illustrious career in impressive fashion. I’ve been particularly impressed with Atoma so I was very happy to hear the band kick things off with Force of Hand and then move onto to The Lesser Faith, and Atoma.
They finished off a 70-minute set with State of Trust, Through Smudged Lenses, and Misery’s Crown. Johan Reinholdz and Chris Amott were both very impressive on stand-in duty on guitars, as were the rest of the band, including Mikael Stanne, who in addition to being one of the most legendary members of the entire Swedish melodeath scene, is also an incredibly cordial and high-caliber person in general.
Overall, there is not much to say here except that Dark Tranquillity are undoubtedly one of the most talented bands to have come out of the goldmine that is the Swedish metal scene. To be sure, the material isn’t easy to replicate live due to the intense melodic nature of compositions and the crucial role that keys/synths play in them. However, Martin Brändström did a fantastic job of pulling off the intricate arrangements live in a way that gave me the chills. Overall, I would rank this show among one of the best melodeath shows I’ve been to and suspect so do the people that were at the venue that night.