In Association with
Musicians | Biography | Discography | Links


DARK TRANQUILLITY is a Swedish act that has managed to carve out a buoyant international fanbase with their quite unique strain of dark Metal music. The band began life in the characteristic 'Gothenburg' Death Metal but have diversified with frightening speed with each successive release to carve out their own niche in the Metal world. Later releases employ Electronica, stark piano led pieces, orchestration, female vocal and a heady, often wholly unexpected, juxtaposition of sounds. DARK TRANQUILLITY date back to December 1989, but started life under the rather bizarre moniker of SEPTIC BROILER. In this guise the band, lead vocalist Anders Fridén, the guitar pairing of Niklas Sundin and Mikael Stanne with Martin Henriksson on bass and drummer Anders Jivarp, released a 1990 demo entitled 'Enfeeble Earth'. Only 100 copies of this cassette, co-produced by the band in union with Dragan Tanascovic and Stefan Lindgren, saw distribution.

Switching names to DARK TRANQUILLITY, the band booked three days at Studio Soundscape studios in Gothenburg during March 1991 to lay down tracks for the demo 'Trail Of Life Decayed'. 800 copies would be sent out. Next to see issue would be two now rare 7" singles. The first of these 1992 efforts, the Guttural Records of Mexico manufactured 'Trail Of Life Decayed' EP, was limited to a thousand copies. Dedicated fans soon spotted that the sleeve credited B side track 'A Void Of Tranquillity' was in fact not included, instead 'Vernal Awakening' mistakenly took its place. Only a mere five hundred pressings were made of the 'A Moonclad Reflection' EP, initially bearing the Slaughter Records logo before a second run provided the debut release for the Exhumed Productions label. Both these recordings were re-released in Poland the following year on Carnage Records.

DARK TRANQUILLITY's opening full-length album, August 1993's 'Skydancer' again finding the Dragan Tanascovic and Stefan Lindgren team behind the desk, issued through the Finnish Spinefarm imprint, saw their raging brand of Metal tempered by a guest inclusion for singer Anna-Kajsa Avehall. 'Skydancer' garnered global releases through Toy's Factory in Japan and in Russia where Fono Records handled CDs and Counter Attack produced cassettes. In the wake of this release vocalist Anders Fridén left for IN FLAMES and was replaced internally by Mikael Stanne, by coincidence also having performed with IN FLAMES as singer on their 'Lunar Strain' debut, for the follow up 1995 EP 'Of Chaos And Eternal Night'. The band also employed second guitarist Fredrik Johansson. In between these sessions DARK TRANQUILLITY contributed a version of 'My Friend Misery' to the METALLICA tribute album 'Metal Militia', which was released on Black Sun Records in 1994.

A second album, the landmark 'The Gallery', was produced by Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman and issued through French label Osmose Productions in November 1995. Now regarded as a pillar of the Gothenburg sound, 'The Gallery' blended massive riffage strewn with classically wrought lead soloing and philosophical subject matter. Mikael Stanne's performance in particular, plumbing the depths of subterranean belly roars to pure toned chorusing, came in for lashings of praise whilst female accompaniment came courtesy of Eva-Marie Larsson. International versions of 'The Gallery' were beefed up with extra tracks, Japan adding 'My Friend Of Misery' whilst Korean variants saw a rendition of SACRED REICH's 'Sacred Reich' anthem. In addition, a limited edition 10" vinyl box also boasted the SACRED REICH track and a take on KREATOR's 'Bringer Of Torture'.

A further stop gap EP then arrived, 'Enter Suicidal Angels' released in November 1996. Involving three tracks cut whilst crafting the next album, 'The Mind's I', the EP also added a somewhat unsuccessful techno amalgam of previous DARK TRANQUILLITY tracks bundled into one entity given a title 'Archetype'.

Stanne contributed guest vocal on DENIAL's debut EP 'Rape Of The Century'. Perhaps a more significant moment in the band's history was the decision taken by Stanne and Sundin to create a trad-Metal side project with former CEREMONIAL OATH drummer Jesper Strömbold and CRYSTAL AGE guitarist Oscar Dronjac titled HAMMERFALL. With the original intention of creating a non serious, kickabout band, HAMMERFALL signed to Nuclear Blast and quite amazingly shifted over 100'000 copies of their debut album 'Glory To The Brave' in Germany alone. Unfortunately for Stanne this was after he had dropped out of the band to concentrate on DARK TRANQUILLITY.

'The Mind's I' came out in April 1997, punctuated by both acoustic guitar passages and the female voices of Sara Svensson, once more demonstrated the band's ability to balance technical finesse with unrelenting, oppressive Metal. Former singer Anders Fridén guested on the song 'Hedon'. In November DARK TRANQUILLITY headlined the Osmose touring extravaganza known as the 'World Domination' tour in headlining over ENSLAVED, BEWITCHED, SWORDMASTER, DEMONIAC and DELLAMORTE.

During early 1999 second guitarist Fredrik Johansson bowed out. DARK TRANQUILLITY duly shifted bassist Martin Henrikson over to the guitar role and inducted Martin Brändström on keyboards. The band, switching to the German Century Media label, re-emerged touting the album 'Projector' in June, the final set to feature Fredrik Johansson. Here the group took a quantum leap forward, with the Death growls stripped away and replaced by cleaner tones, an increased female vocal content from Johanna Andersson, keyboard washes, dominant piano and a switching down in gear towards the neo-Gothique.

DARK TRANQUILLITY toured Japan in September 1999. The band also performed to their biggest audience the same year as part of the Italian 'Gods Of Metal' festival headlined by IRON MAIDEN. The same year Dutch band ETHEREAL SPAWN would cover 'Punish My Heaven' on their debut album.

The vacant bass role was filled by LUCIFERION's Michael Nicklasson in time for recording of July 2000's 'The Haven'. A transitional work, 'The Haven' would see a band reacting to criticism levelled at 'Projector' by re-introducing the Death growls but also increasing the keyboard content. During September DARK TRANQUILLITY formed part of a strong Metal package bill for a lengthy European tour ranked alongside their friends IN FLAMES and Finnish outfits SENTENCED and TO/DIE/FOR. This would be followed up by a short burst of Mexican dates.

The band toured Japan for the second time in April of 2001 co-headlining with Finnish act CHILDREN OF BODOM. Returning to Europe an appearance was put in at the 'Wacken Open Air' festival in Germany. Brändström would then be lent out to TIAMAT frontman Johan Edlund's LUCYFIRE endeavour for live work upfront of DARK TRANQUILITY's first show in Istanbul, Turkey in October supported by DISHEARTEN and AFFLICTION. However, drummer Anders Jivarp injured his wrist on the eve of this jaunt and LEFAY's Robin Engström stepped into the breach at short notice.

In early 2002 Brändström would once again loan out his services, this time for TIAMAT. DARK TRANQUILLITY's momentum quickened with the 'Damage Done' album that August reaping worthy media praise and sales. The record would also break into the national German and Swedish album charts. Buoyed by this success an extensive run of European headline dates was organised with co-headliners SINERGY throughout November and December.

The band teamed up with an impressive extreme Metal touring package of NILE, NAPALM DEATH, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and THE BERZERKER for North American dates in January and February 2003. DARK TRANQUILLITY entered the DVD era in their 'Live Damage' collection comprising live footage from the Kraków Krzemionki Studio TVP performance recorded in October of 2002 alongside fan video recordings taken in Athens, Essen and Paris the same year and promo clips for 'Monochromatic Stains' and 'ThereIn'.

DARK TRANQUILLITY celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with the issue of a two CD retrospective compilation 'Exposures - In Retrospect And Denial'. Collected together would be archive material from the demos 'Trail Of Life Decayed' and the 'A Moonclad Reflection' EP along with live and bonus songs and unreleased songs 'Static', 'No One' and 'In Sight'.

During 2004 Niklas Sundin donated guitar parts to Japanese avant-garde Metal act SIGH's controversial 'Gallows Gallery' album. DARK TRANQUILLITY, having wrapped up production of a new album, performed at the fourth annual Busan Rock Festival in South Korea during August of 2004, putting in a small club gig at Seoul's Live Hall venue just beforehand under the pseudonym of 'DAMAGE DONE'. Shortly after the band filmed a promotional video for the track 'Lost to Apathy' with director Roger Johansson. An EP of 'Lost To Apathy' emerged in November, charting on the Swedish singles rankings at number 47.

Live promotion found the band on the road in Europe during December, forming up the 'Hammered at Xmas' tour in alliance with THE HAUNTED and ARCH ENEMY, with US dates in Janurary 2005 packaged with SOILWORK and HYPOCRISY before teaming up with German Thrash veteran's KREATOR for the 'Enemy of God' tour commencing in February. Martin Brändström would then join the ranks of TIAMAT for European dates. Quite spectacularly, new album 'Character' entered the national Swedish charts at no. 3.

DARK TRANQUILLITY's early albums, 1995's 'The Gallery' and 1997's 'The Mind's I', would be set for re-release, both adding a wealth of rare bonus material. Added to 'The Gallery' would be the band's cover versions of KREATOR's 'Bringer Of Torture', SACRED REICH's 'Sacred Reich', IRON MAIDEN's '22 Acacia Avenue', MERCYFUL FATE's 'Lady In Black' and METALLICA's 'My Friend Of Misery'. A 2005 compilation inclusion of note would be the track 'Lost To Apathy' featured on the 'Code Red' album, an exclusive collection given to US Marine Corps soldiers active duty in the Middle East.

DARK TRANQUILLITY announced South American gigs for June, taking in Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. The band revealed plans for September and October European dates, taking in the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, with strong support from ARCH ENEMY and TRIVIUM but then pulled out of these gigs.

In side activity, DARK TRANQUILLITY guitarist Niklas Sundin unveiled a project union with vocalist / bassist Jonatan Nordenstam, and THE PROVENANCE pairing of guitarist Joakim Rosén and drummer Joel Lindell billed LAETHORA. The new band's debut album, 'March Of The Parasite', was finalised in August. A brief burst of German dates had the band supported by HATESPHERE and CHIMAIRA.

DARK TRANQUILLITY's 2006 season of live campaigning opened up in the USA during February alongside OPETH and DEVIN TOWNSEND.

The group returned to US campaigning in March and April 2007 flanking THE HAUNTED and INTO ETERNITY. To coincide, DARK TRANQUILLITY issued the 'Fiction' album. Japanese editions hosted an extra song 'A Closer End' whilst Australian variants included the instrumental 'Winter Triangle'. Director Roger Johansson shot a promotional video for the song 'Focus Shift' in mid February.

DARK TRANQUILLITY conducted South American touring in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Argentina during June 2008, followed up by a one off show in Istanbul, Turkey. The band then headlined the Swedish 'Close-Up Made Us Do It' tour, supported by ENGEL and DEAD BY APRIL.

The band co-headlined the 'Anthem Metal' festival held on August 14th 2008 at Hangar 11 on the shores of Tel Aviv, Israel, alongside MESHUGGAH, OPETH, SATYRICON, THE HAUNTED, NEVERMORE plus Israeli bands SALEM, BETZEFER, DISTORTED, THEY:SWARM and THE FADING.

In 2008 the band covered SENTENCED's 'Broken' for inclusion on the Century Media artist compilation 'Covering 20 Years Of Extremes'. This double CD set comprised Century Media acts paying home to their stable mates. The group in turn was honoured by THE AGONIST, who tackled 'Monochromatic Stains'.

During 2009 DARK TRANQUILLITY released a limited-edition album entitled 'Yesterworlds', featuring tracks from the 1991 'Trail Of Life Decayed' demo and the A Moonclad Reflection' 7" EP from 1992. In addition Century Media Records re-issued 'Projector', 'Haven' and 'Damage Done' in slipcase packaging with bonus material.

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009