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Classic Review: Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer
Dark Tranquillity

Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 1993
Duration: 47:45
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: August 21, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating

Rated 3.53/5 (70.67%) (30 Votes)

In the beginning…there were three mighty warriors who arose from the pits of Gothenburg to establish an art so graceful yet extreme, it defied logic; and in turn spawned an entire genre of metal. (At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames). Today, two of those warriors have fallen…but one of them remains and is still charging through stronger than ever. Dark Tranquillity are that band that set the bench mark for what melody in death metal stands for; and "Skydancer" was the initiating work that brought on the onslaught and set the bar for what melodic death metal should be ultimately compared to. (Ok, "Slaughter Of The Soul", and "The Jester Race" deserve some credit too, but "Skydancer" is an album that very few out there can even touch.)

Dark Tranquillity never did manage to top this album, despite coming dangerously close a couple of times ("The Gallery", "Haven","Damage Done"). "Skydancer" features a rather different DT as we have Anders Friden (In Flames) on vocals and Mikael Stanne doing the guitars. The thing about Friden was that he was just brutal. Simply brutal. The second track here "Crimson Winds" displays how absolutely insane this guy was. During the chorus (if you can call it that) he sounds like he is being exorcised and doesn't want to let go. You know how they say 'this stuff will scare you'? Well it is this kind of stuff that 'they' are talking about. Melodic DM is 'pussy' death metal? Please! I've listen to plenty of death metal…few vocalists out there capture the viciousness that Friden demonstrated on this album and their 1992 "A Moonclad Reflection" EP/Demo.

In an endless barrage of highly poetic lyrics which will get you pondering for a long, long time, Dark Tranquillity attack the listener on many fronts with intricate song patterns that seem to flow out of their own will, complex riffery and guitar lines and a drummer worth mentioning amongst the best. This is a true masterpiece. Dark Tranquillity's magnum opus. This album was extremely rare until 2000 when the band re-released it along with their 1994 EP "Of Chaos & Eternal Light". That is probably why this is such a hidden gem. At The Gates weren't the only game in town. Something far superior was always lurking in the background.

Highly recommended for melodic death metal fans and death metallers alike. Trust me…this is still more death metal than anything else, but clear vocals do surface every once in a while. Buy!

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