Dark Tranquillity’s Return to the Colombian Metal Scene at Teatro Astor Plaza

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are considered one of the pioneering acts of the Gothenburg metal scene, which also includes bands such as In Flames and At the Gates. Dark Tranquillity is regarded as the Gothenburg fathers in the film entitled ‘Out of Nothing: A DT Documentary’ released by Century Media Records, which was filmed in their home town in April 2009, in Gothenburg, Sweden, and released October 28th, 2009 in Germany.

Dark Tranquillity was formed in 1989 by vocalist and then-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.

After releasing another demo entitled ‘Rehearsal December 1990’, the band changed its name to Dark Tranquillity, and released multiple demos, including ‘Trail of Life Decayed’ in 1991 and ‘A Moonclad Reflection’ in 1992, which both showed a progression into the more melodic nuances of death metal that the band would explore on their later studio releases.

On August 30th, 1993, the band released their debut album ‘Skydancer.’ Soon after, vocalist Anders Fridén left the band and joined fellow Gothenburg band, In Flames. Guitarist Mikael Stanne then assumed the position of lead vocalist, and Fredrik Johansson was recruited to take over 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,’ on November 27th, 1995. ‘The Gallery’ has been referred to as a masterpiece from the era.

Dark Tranquillity released their second EP, ‘Enter Suicidal Angels,’ in November 1996. Their third album, ‘The Mind’s I,’ was released on April 21st, 1997, with the band continuing further with the sound conveyed on ‘The Gallery.’ In January 1999, Fredrik Johansson and the band parted ways. Johansson’s desire to focus on fatherhood and hold a day job, rather than dealing with the uncertainties of the music industry was incompatible with the band’s need for a reliable guitarist. With that position now vacant, bassist Martin Henriksson, who was a little reluctant to do so, took over duties as guitarist, and the band brought in Michael Niklasson on bass.

EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: The content of this article was either provided by the band(s), their management, record label(s), official newsletters, or other news sources and not by the local event organizers. The tour dates were collected from the band’s official websites and updated as needed. Local musicians and promoters involved with this venue are encouraged to contact us directly if they have any new information about this page that needs to be amended for the benefit of our readers. Please note that all contributions made for inclusion in this article must be in English.

‘Projector’ saw the introduction of a lot of piano, keyboard, and electronic parts into Dark Tranquillity’s sound, so the band also added another member, Martin Brändström, on keyboards. With this new lineup, the band played live bonus tracks of the reissue of this album and filmed a music video for ‘ThereIn.’

‘Projector’ was released on August 10th, 1999, 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, the band added pianos, baritone soft vocals, and verse-chorus fashion to their sound, reflecting the band’s goal to strive for different musical expressions.

Around the same 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,’ on July 25th, 2000, 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. Engström has been a live member of the band ever since, and he has contributed to all of their live albums since then.

Dark Tranquillity released ‘Damage Done’ on July 22nd, 2002, was a return to 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, their compilation album ‘Exposures – In Retrospect and Denial,’ featuring one disc with rare and unreleased tracks and another with live tracks, was released.

‘Character’ was the seventh release from Dark Tranquillity, released on January 24th, 2005, and was held in much critical praise. It featured the fourth 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 April 19th, 2007, ‘Fiction’ was released, which in turn, saw a return of Stanne’s clean vocals, and the first female guest vocalist since ‘Projector.’ The album also saw writing style that combined the stylings of ‘Projector’ and ‘Haven,’ with the more aggressive traits of ‘Character’ and ‘Damage Done.’ At this time, Dark Tranquillity toured with The Haunted, Into Eternity, and Scar Symmetry for the North America Metal for the Masses Tour. They also toured the United Kingdom in early 2008 along with Omnium Gatherum. They returned to the United States of America during spring 2008 with Arch Enemy.

On the band’s official website they announced that bass guitarist Niklasson left the band in August 2008 due to personal reasons with no hard feelings between him and the band. On September 19th, 2008, the band found a new bassist in Dimension Zero guitarist Daniel Antonsson, who also was a guitarist for Soilwork, and on May 25th, 2009, reissues of ‘Projector,’ ‘Haven,’ and ‘Damage Done’ were released.

On October 19th, 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 30th, 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 21st, 2009, Dark Tranquillity released the song ‘Dream Oblivion,’ and on January 14th, 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 February 24th, 2010 in Europe and March 2nd, in the United States of America. They were also the opening act for a North American winter tour that was headlined by Killswitch Engage and joined by The Devil Wears Prada.

Dark Tranquillity headlined a North American tour in May to 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 27th, 2012, Dark Tranquillity renewed their contract with Century Media Records. On October 12th, 2012, the band began writing for the album, and on January 10th, 2013, the band announced the title of their tenth album would be ‘Construct,’ and it was released in Europe on May 27th, 2013 and in North America on May 28th, 2013. The album was mixed by Jens Bogren at his Fascination Street studios in Örebro, Sweden.

On February 18th, 2013, Antonsson amicably left Dark Tranquillity, citing a desire to focus on playing guitar and being a recording engineer and producer. On February 27th, 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 has not 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 27th, 2013, a teaser campaign and track list for ‘Construct’ were revealed. The band also commented on the style of the album, saying that while still bearing the unmistakable mark of the Dark Tranquillity, the record is probably their most different and diverse offering since 1999’s ‘Projector.’ To promote the album, the band toured the world with dates in Finland and North America alongside Omnium Gatherum, Europe with Tristania, and Sweden with Darkane.

On July 10th, 2013, a B-side from ‘Construct,’ titled ‘Sorrow’s Architect’ was released on a limited flexi 7” released with an issue of Decibel Magazine. On January 14th, 2014, the band announced that the song would 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 1st, 2014, and digitally in March 2014.

In March 2016, guitarist Martin Henriksson announced his departure from the band, admitting he had lost the passion for playing music after playing in the band for 26 years. The band had no hard feelings for him and wished him the best in whatever he decided to pursue, and on May 22nd, 2016, Dark Tranquillity began recording their eleventh full-length album ‘Atoma,’ but did not officially announce it until July 6th.

The album was finally released on November 4th, 2016, via Century Media Records. In March 2017, the band released the song ‘The Absolute,’ which was recorded during the ‘Atoma’ sessions, as a digital single. On January 28th, 2018, Dark Tranquillity embarked on a European tour with main support band Equilibrium.

On March 22nd, 2020, Niklas Sundin released a statement on Dark Tranquillity’s social media, announcing his departure from the band. A week later, the band announced that the recording of their new album had started, and that the two guitarists who had been touring with the band since 2017, Christopher Amott and Johan Reinholdz were named full-time members of the band. The album, ‘Moment,’ was released on November 20th, 2020. As a preview, they released the singles ‘Phantom Days,’ ‘Identical to None,’ ‘The Dark Unbroken’ and ‘Eyes Of The World’ on September 11th, October 16th, October 30th and on November 20th, 2020, respectively. ‘Moment’ was awarded the 2021 Grammi for Hard Rock/Metal Album of the Year.

On August 13th, 2021, Mikael Stanne announced the departure of longtime original drummer Anders Jivarp and bassist Anders Iwers. For their upcoming tour bassist Christian Jansson and In Mourning drummer Joakim Strandberg Nilsson were asked to play as session musicians. Both Jansson and Strandberg Nilsson were announced as full-time band members in June 2023, and on a tragic spin of events, on January 25th, 2022, former guitarist Fredrik Johansson died of cancer, followed by Christopher Amott announcing his departure from the band on July 23rd, 2023.

The year 2023 has been a pivotal one for Dark Tranquillity, signified by both internal changes and artistic pursuits. Notably, the band’s dedication to their 13th studio album, slated for an early 2024 release, marks a new creative phase. This upcoming album will be their first with bassist Christian Jansson and drummer Joakim Strandberg-Nilsson, who both joined in 2022, symbolizing a regeneration and perhaps a transformation in their sound.

An equally significant development was the departure of guitarist Christopher Amott after a remarkable 27-year tenure. Amott’s exit, due to cited creative differences, has elicited both reflection and anticipation. The relationship between Amott and Dark Tranquillity, as expressed by vocalist Mikael Stanne, has been central to the band’s success. His departure undoubtedly signifies the end of an era.

Yet, as one chapter closes, another opens. Johan Reinholdz, formerly of Arch Enemy and Therion and collaborator with other notable metal acts such as Soilwork and Dissection, joins the band. Reinholdz’s statement of honor in joining one of his favorite bands underscores the symbolic continuity of Dark Tranquillity’s musical legacy, even as the lineup evolves.

The scheduled European tour in October and November 2023 further underlines the band’s forward momentum. Supporting their new album, the tour offers the promise of a new auditory experience and a reaffirmation of the group’s commitment to their global fanbase.

Dark Tranquillity South American Tour 2023

The imminent return of Dark Tranquillity to the cultural stage of Bogotá at Teatro Astor Plaza on August 31st represents not only a thrilling musical event but a sociocultural phenomenon indicative of the ongoing resonance of this genre within Colombia’s vibrant metal scene.

The anticipated concert at Teatro Astor Plaza is more than a mere musical performance; it embodies a cultural reunion. The recollections of Dark Tranquillity’s last appearance in Bogotá during Rock al Parque 2018 are still fresh in the minds of Colombian followers. That unforgettable night was a testimony to the band’s energetic and passionate display, where they exhibited not just their musical mastery but a singular connection with their audience.

This connection between the band and its fanbase transcends borders, yet the local anticipation for their return to Bogotá seems particularly fervent. Such anticipation encapsulates a broader appreciation of their pioneering role in a genre that continues to evolve, resonate, and influence new generations of metal enthusiasts.

Since that memorable 2018 concert, Dark Tranquillity has continued to reap successes and solidify its status as one of the most influential entities in the global metal scene. The launch of new albums like ‘Moment’ further showcases their evolving sound and ability to remain at the forefront of musical exploration, receiving critical acclaim and captivating loyal and new listeners alike.

Dark Tranquillity’s return to Bogotá is not merely a momentous concert but a reflection of the perpetual dynamism and resonance of melodic death metal in the international and Colombian music panorama. As the band continues to pave its unique path, intertwining innovative musical elements with strong emotional connections, its upcoming performance at Teatro Astor Plaza stands as a symbol of the genre’s continued vitality and the timeless appeal of their art.

In synthesizing these recent developments, one may perceive a multifaceted portrait of Dark Tranquillity, reflecting both continuity and change. Their upcoming concert in Bogotá is thus not only a testament to their enduring connection with the Colombian audience but also a celebration of a band in flux, embracing a new creative epoch without severing the roots that have nourished their groundbreaking contributions to the melodic death metal genre.

In conclusion, Dark Tranquillity’s ongoing journey resonates as an allegory for the dynamism inherent in artistic creation. The forthcoming album, the change in lineup, the eagerly awaited concerts all signal a band not content with resting on laurels but actively engaging in the ceaseless process of musical evolution. The concert in Bogotá, set against this backdrop, is more than an event; it is a manifestation of the perpetual dialogue between art, artist, and audience. It captures a unique moment in time where anticipation meets legacy, and music continues to be a vibrant, living entity.

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