Dark Tranquillity

Of Chaos and Eternal Night

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With its overly technical, unfocused, even skittish, songwriting style, Dark Tranquility's Skydancer debut of 1993 bears little resemblance to the concise, melodic death metal songs that would define them in years to come. In fact, one could understandably mistake these for the works of two separate bands, were it not for 1995's revealingly transitional Of Chaos and Eternal Night EP, which, coincidentally, saw guitarist Mikael Stanne stepping up to the microphone to replace departed original vocalist Anders Fridén -- off to join Gothenburg rivals In Flames. And, with the benefit of hindsight and within the span of these four tracks and scant 18 minutes, one can clearly observe DT's accelerated changeover from their excessively Byzantine beginnings to the disciplined arrangements of the future. See how both the opening title track and "With the Flaming Shades of Fall" still sound a bit cluttered by unnecessary complexities, harking back to the previous generation of Swedish doom-death bands; but the ensuing pair of cuts, "Away, Delight, Away" (an excellent first album outtake marked by twisting melodic guitar acrobatics) and "Alone '94" (a reworking of their debut's closing song) display a savvy and simplified affinity for traditional rock song arrangements. Really, this evolution implied something of a more pronounced generational shift that affected most every Scandinavian death metal band of the period, but almost none were able to navigate those choppy waters of change quite so successfully as Dark Tranquility, who deservingly became a melodic death metal powerhouse in the process. [Original releases of Of Chaos and Eternal Night are almost impossible to come across, but both Spinefarm and Century Media have since reissued the EP tacked on to the band's first album, Skydancer.]