- Mikael Stanne – lead vocals
- Niklas Sundin – guitars
- Anders Iwers – bass
- Martin Brändström – keyboards, programming
- Anders Jivarp – drums
Early years and Skydancer
Dark Tranquillity was formed in 1989 by the current vocalist and then rhythm guitarist Mikael Stanne, and guitarist Niklas Sundin, under the name Septic Broiler. Three additional members, Anders Fridén, Anders Jivarp and Martin Henriksson, later joined the line-up.
In 1990, the band recorded a demo entitled Enfeebled Earth before changing their name to Dark Tranquillity, which featured a largely thrash metal-influenced style of death metal, comparable to early Death. It was followed by multiple demos, including Trail of Life Decayed in 1991 and A Moonclad Reflectionin 1992, which both showed a progression into the more melodic nuances of death metal that the band would explore on their later studio releases.
In August 1993, the band released their debut album Skydancer. Soon after, vocalist Anders Fridén left the band and joined fellow Gothenburg band, In Flames. Rhythm guitarist Mikael Stanne then assumed the position of lead vocalist, and Fredrik Johansson was recruited to take over rhythm guitar duties.
In 1994, Dark Tranquillity covered the song My Friend of Misery for the Metallica tribute album, Metal Militia – A Tribute to Metallica.
In 1995, the band released an EP, Of Chaos and Eternal Night, which was later followed by the release of their second studio album, The Gallery. The Gallery is often referred to as a masterpiece from the era.
Dark Tranquillity released their second EP, Enter Suicidal Angels, in November 1996. They later released their third album, The Mind’s I, was released in April 1997, with the band continuing further with the sound conveyed on The Gallery.
In January 1999, with the band’s album Projector recorded months prior and its release months ahead, Fredrik Johansson was fired by the rest of Dark Tranquillity, due to Johansson wanting to focus more on being a father, meaning also he couldn’t tour with the band and leave his family anymore and he wanted to keep a day job as opposed to the difficulties of being in the music industry. There were mutually no hard feelings between both parties, but with all of Johansson’s reasons, the band still saw it as a lack of commitment to Dark Tranquillity as well. The album marks the last new release with Johansson. With difficulties always finding a new guitar player, a switch then occurred in the band when Johansson empty guitarist position was then taken the band’s bassist Martin Henriksson, who was a little bit reluctant at the time to do the switch as he believed he was an average guitar player, but still went on to do so. To take Henriksson’s bassist position the band hired Michael Nicklasson. Since the album included a lot of piano, keyboards, and electronics the band also hired an additional full-time member, Martin Brändström as their first keyboardist to complete their lineup and to tour for the album, additionally the band wanted these elements to become an integral part of the band’s sound. With the new lineup, they played live bonus tracks of the reissue of this album and filmed a music video for “ThereIn”.
Projector was released in June 1999. It was the fourth album from the band, and was later nominated for a Swedish Grammy Award. The album saw a major change in songwriting: while retaining growled vocals and their signature death metal sound, pianos, baritone soft vocals, and verse-chorus fashion song structures were now integral parts of Dark Tranquillity’s sound, reflecting the band’s goal to strive for different musical expressions. Also during this time, Skydancer and Of Chaos and Eternal Night were reissued together as Skydancer/Of Chaos and Eternal Night.
A year later saw the release of Haven, which featured prominent electronics in comparison to previous releases. Like its predecessor, Haven was also received in a generally mixed manner by fans and critics alike.
As the band toured in 2001, the band hired Robin Engström to play live, due to Jivarp’s commitments as a new father.
Dark Tranquillity released Damage Done in 2002, and was intended to be a step in a much heavier direction, adding thicker guitar distortion, deep atmospheric keyboards, and abandoning soft vocals altogether. They released the music video for the single “Monochromatic Stains”, followed by their release of Live Damage, their first live DVD. In 2004, Exposures – In Retrospect and Denialwas released.
Character was the seventh release from Dark Tranquillity, released in 2005, and was held in much critical praise. It featured the third music video released by Dark Tranquillity, with the successful single “Lost to Apathy”. After releasing the album, the band played live in Canada for the first time.
On May 25, 2009, reissues of Projector, Haven, and Damage Done were released.
On October 14, 2009, Dark Tranquillity finished work on their ninth studio album. On October 26, 2009 they released a DVD titled Where Death Is Most Alive. On October 30, 2009 at the release party of the DVD 333 copies were given away for free of the rare live album The Dying Fragments. On December 21, 2009, Dark Tranquillity released the song “Dream Oblivion”, and on January 14, 2010, they released the song “At the Point of Ignition”, from their ninth album, exclusively on their MySpace page. Their ninth album, titled We Are the Void, was released on March 1, 2010 in Europe, and March 2, 2010 in the US. They were also the opening act for a US winter tour that was headlined by Killswitch Engage and joined by The Devil Wears Prada.
Dark Tranquillity headlined a North American tour in May–June 2010 with Threat Signal, Mutiny Within and The Absence. In February 2011, the band performed live at BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus in Hyderabad, India.
On April 27, 2012, Dark Tranquillity re-signed with Century Media. On October 18, 2012, the band began writing for the album. On January 10, 2013, the band announced the title of their tenth album would be Construct, and it was released in Europe on May 27, 2013 and in North America on May 28, 2013. The album was mixed by Jens Bogren at his Fascination Street studios in Örebro, Sweden.
On February 18, 2013, Antonsson amicably left Dark Tranquillity, citing a desire to focus on playing guitar and being a recording engineer and producer. On February 27, 2013, the band announced that they completed recording the album. Although Antonsson remained during the recording of “Construct”, he did not perform the bass. According to Niklas Sundin’s Twitter, he hasn’t been excited for a Dark Tranquillity release since Skydancer, due to the fact that the recording sessions for all their other releases were “way too long” compared to Construct.
On March 27, 2013, a teaser campaign and track list for Construct were revealed. The band also commented on the style of the album, saying, “While still bearing the unmistakable mark of the Dark Tranquillity, the record is probably our most different and diverse offering since 1999’s Projector“.
To promote the album, the band is touring the world with dates in Finland and North Americaalongside Omnium Gatherum, Europe with Tristania, and Sweden with Darkane.
On July 10, 2013, a b-side from Construct, titled “Sorrow’s Architect”, was released on a limited flexi 7″ released with an issue of Decibel. On January 14, 2014, the band announced that the song will be released with another b-side, titled “A Memory Construct”, on a limited tour 7″ and digitally which also includes the “Sorrow’s Architect”. The 7″ became available on February 1, 2014, and digitally in March 2014.
On March 2016, guitarist Martin Henriksson has announced his departure from the band, admitting he had “lost the passion for playing music” after playing in the band for 26 years.
On May 22, 2016, Dark Tranquillity began recording their eleventh full-length album Atoma but didn’t officially announce it until July 6. The album was finally released on November 4, 2016, via Century Media. In March 2017, the band released the song The Absolute, which was recorded during the Atoma sessions, as a digital single.
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