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A Review of the Album Skydancer by Swedish Melodic Death Metal Band Dark Tranquillity More Than 25 Years Later

Updated on April 2, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

The album cover features the photo of a bird. One can only wonder if the bird has any special meaning. The bird seems to be entering a door or portal of some sort.
The album cover features the photo of a bird. One can only wonder if the bird has any special meaning. The bird seems to be entering a door or portal of some sort.

A Little introduction to the band Dark Tranquillity and their importance to the melodic death metal genre

Year of release: 1999 (this is because the album was re-released with the EP (extended play) CD Of Chaos and Eternal Night). But the original release date of the band’s debut was in 1993. Dark Tranquillity are considered to be the founders of the Gothenburg style of death metal. They were formed back in 1989 under the name Septic Broiler. They would be an influence for the Mexican melodic death metal band Buried Dreams. That band was formed in 1995.

Anders Friden and Mikael Stanne share vocal duties on this album

It was released by Spinefarm Records. The vocalist on the album is Anders Friden (songs1-9). He would be fired by the band and would join In Flames. Interestingly enough, Mikael Stanne did the vocals for the first In Flames album Lunar Strain. Stanne was playing the rhythm guitar at this time. Niklas Sundin handles the lead guitar duties, writes the lyrics, and does the artwork for the album. Martin Henriksson plays the bass and Anders Jivarp plays the drums.

Update to This Review of the Album Skydancer

Note: I have decided to make this review a special one since we are heading into the year 2020 pretty soon. Now this article will take a look at Skydancer and how the album sounds over 25 years later.

Niklas Sundin talks about the recording process for the Album Skydancer

Sundin was asked about the album’s style and he said that it was weird and eccentric. He feels the album has more of an acquired taste rather than being one of those albums that is a breakthrough. Most of the songs that were written have 20 or more riffs that were not repeated. The use of clean vocal parts and acoustic guitars were described as being unorthodox for its time. Actually, these are the two elements that are common in the melodic death metal genre. Sundin described the lyrics as being about how to define the world like the way a person can achieve something through a young person’s view. It is said that when we are young, our mind knows and understands everything. Sundin also said that there was much excitement during the recording of the album and that the band felt like they were exploring something new. He felt they had to finish recording, get it on tape as soon as possible so that fans could hear the songs. Recording an album back then was stressful. The band’s budget only allowed them ten days for recording and mixing. That did not leave much time to do any fine tuning. The band had to use what are called first takes. The band knew what they wanted to accomplish but they had a hard time letting the engineers know. The engineers were said to know very little about the genre of extreme metal music which led to tension and misunderstandings.

"Through Ebony Archways"

A Brief Review of the Album Skydancer

Consider this your introduction to the great Dark Tranquillity if this is the first time you are hearing this band.

Regardless of the difficulties the band went through in recording the album, the album is a nice collection of songs that should appeal to someone who is open-minded and willing to listen to something other than standard death metal music. Nightfall by the Shore of Time is a song that shows the heaviness, speed and pounding drums but by 1995, the band’s melodic death metal style would be in full force as they were headed to super star status not just in Sweden but in the world. Even back in 1993, Dark Tranquillity knew how to actually play guitar and make it fit in and WORK within the context of the music. They put American death metal bands to shame. I don’t even want to listen to Born of Osiris after hearing this album!

The production may not be as stellar or as clean as the later albums of this band but that is because of the tight schedule that the band was on at that time.

The Song "Nightfall by the Shore of Time"

Favorite Song on the Album Skydancer

What is Your Favorite Song on the Album Skydancer?

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The Album Skydancer Even More Than 25 Years Later Is Still Superb!

One of the major highlights of the album is the acoustic filled Through Ebony Archways. The song starts with the acoustic guitar that fans are familiar with. This is one of the key qualities of the melodic death metal genre. The song also has clean male vocals, something that the band would start to do with their album Projector. The mini album is similar to what we would hear on The Gallery. Even 25 years later, Through Ebony Archways is a song that is still a classic, much more so than many ballad songs. The beginning soft part that this band has written is so beautiful and it works out musically. The part leads to a clean vocal part and the accompanying female vocals are a solid fit to this song. The rough vocals by Anders Friden show that he could do a good raspy growl. Skydancer more than 25 years after its release in August 1993 is a melodic death metal album that would set the standard of excellence for Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity!

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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