An in-depth look at the visual approach to a contemporary melodeath staple.
Amidst the crimson skies of Niklas Sundin's atmospheric prowess lies DARK TRANQUILITY's Moment, a composition of perspective intrigue and controlled melodic aggression. Released last week on November 20th via Century Media, Moment finds frontman Mikael Stanne and the ex-DARK TRANQUILITY guitarist revisiting their audiovisual partnership once more, a partnership that stems back as far as their Kindergarten days. Not only is the cover illustration before you magnificent, it serves a guide towards understanding the themes at play. Those who have embarked on the journey through a vinyl copy can attest to the depth, but we look to dive into it even further.
We go Behind the Cover of Moment with frontman Mikael Stanne and Niklas Sundin to dissect the wondrous landscape that fronts their latest spectacle:
As we celebrate the arrival of ‘Moment’, it’s important to highlight how you’ve led Dark Tranquility through several line-up changes, genre polarity, and of course, the inevitable shifts in the music industry. As you finish this 12th full-length cycle, where do you see Dark Tranquility now compared to when this all began as Septic Broiler in ‘89?
Stanne: Everything is different, but in a way, so much is still the same. We’re the same adventurous kids at heart who want to make music and make the most out of it. We’re still inspired by the bands that we love and devoted our lives to being fans of. We’re still trying to kind of push the limits of what death metal can be. Somehow, we’re still trying to figure out our way into this world of music in a way that we feel is interesting. We started out not knowing if we could be a part of this, but now that we are, we’re trying to find our place there and make the most out of it.
With the music industry being what it is, there are different opportunities for the big cool bands who cater to the biggest crowds and for the bands who truly want to be underground and not play by any rules. We’re somewhere in between. Our heart is still in somewhat of a punk attitude of trying to be as different as possible to what was the standard when we started. Our idea from the beginning was to make music that we love and feel strongly about, and eventually people would get it and understand. If the five of us could agree on something, then hopefully more than 5 other people would agree on liking it, and here we are 30 years later. We’ve built up a fan base and a following that is incredible. With all of the different lineups and things going on, we’ve focused on us and that has been most important.
That said, is the pre-release excitement still as high for you as it was for ‘Skydancer’ (1993) and ‘The Gallery’ (1995)?
Stanne: Things are different now. Back then, we really didn’t talk to anyone. You couldn’t gauge any anticipation or what people thought until the album was out, which took months because that would happen until we went out on the road and saw the reaction. This is now different, but it’s as exciting of course. This album, especially with having two new guys in the band, is an album that we worked harder on than almost any other album I can recall. We wanted to get it right and we kind of afforded ourselves the luxury of taking our time with it because of the pandemic, not having time constraints, and deadlines. We just focused and made the most out of our time off from touring, festivals, and all that. The anticipati