|Studio album by Dark Tranquillity|
|Released||30 August 1993|
|Recorded||May–June 1993 at Studio Soundscape, Gothenburg, Sweden|
|Genre||Melodic death metal|
|Producer||Dark Tranquility, Dragan Tanascovic, Stefan Lindgren|
|Dark Tranquillity chronology|
Skydancer is the debut studio album by the Swedish melodic death metal band, Dark Tranquillity. This release was the last recorded output to feature vocalist Anders Fridén, later of In Flames, who was fired and replaced by then rhythm guitarist, Mikael Stanne. Incidentally, Mikael Stanne was the lead vocalist on the first In Flames studio album, Lunar Strain.
The album was re-released in 1999 by Century Media Records as Skydancer/Of Chaos and Eternal Night. Skydancer is set to be remastered and reissued later in 2013 in celebration of the album's twentieth anniversary.
Sundin described Skydancer as "unique" within the band's catalogue due to its "weirdness and eccentricity", which caused him to look back on the album as "more of an acquired taste rather than a breakthrough release." When asked how far the band has come since the release of this album, Niklas Sundin stated:
Skydancer is a very weird album and there really isn't anything else like it – for good and bad. Most of the songs contain 20+ riffs that never are repeated in the same way, and the integration of clear vocals and acoustic guitars were extremely unorthodox for its time, as were the advanced use of counterpoint and recurring musical motifs. Not to mention the lyrics. It's unashamedly pretentious and a good example of the kind of over-the-top seriousness and attempt to define the world that one only can achieve with a young person's worldview. The teenage mind that knows and understands everything.
Sundin recalled "a real sense of excitement throughout the songwriting process, and it felt like we really were onto something new and original that we needed to capture on tape and let people listen to as soon as possible."
Recording, Production, and Remastering
Sundin, while noting that the band were well prepared, recalled that "studio recordings back then were always stressful. Our budget only allowed for ten studio days for recording and mixing, so there wasn't any time to fine-tune things, and we often had to use first takes even if they weren't perfect. There was a good idea of we wanted to accomplish, but we lacked the studio knowledge to communicate it to the engineers, who in turn were clueless about extreme metal, so there were lots of tension and misunderstandings."
Niklas Sundin observed that the album was not properly remastered at the time of the 2000 edition, and indicated that the twentieth anniversary edition would mark the first proper mastering of the album. Describing the production as "the weak point" of Skydancer, and qualifying that "there are limits to what one can do without access to the separate instrument tracks," he expressed his opinion that "everything sounds much better now. The album is so old that there wasn't even any proper mastering done the first time around; all songs had a different output volume and are sonically very incoherent."
Skydancer has received generally positive reviews, although the album's marked departure from later material has been met with some critical barbs. For instance, writing for Allmusic, Jared Anderson criticized the "generally fractured and unfocused" arrangements and "shifting tempos, rhythms, and time signatures" for "limit[ing] the album's appeal". Conversely, Sputnik Music praised the album for its "awesome song writing and flawless execution", which the critic suggested is the first melodic death metal album."
Reflecting upon Skydancer, a "retro review" by About.com described it as a "dark horse" in the band's catalogue, "even more so than the controversial Projector. Describing the album as "primitive" and featuring an "underwhelming" performance by Anders Fridén, the reviewer nonetheless praised the "sense of adventurism".
|1.||"Nightfall by the Shore of Time"||Sundin||Henriksson, Sundin||4:46|
|2.||"Crimson Winds"||Stanne||Sundin, Jivarp||5:28|
|3.||"A Bolt of Blazing Gold"||Sundin||Henriksson, Sundin||7:14|
|4.||"In Tears Bereaved"||Sundin||Henriksson, Sundin||3:50|
|6.||"Through Ebony Archways"||Stanne||Henriksson, Sundin||3:47|
|7.||"Shadow Duet"||Sundin||Henriksson, Sundin, Jivarp||7:05|
|8.||"My Faeryland Forgotten"||Sundin||Henriksson, Sundin||4:38|
|Bonus Tracks from Of Chaos and Eternal Night EP|
|1.||"Of Chaos and Eternal Night"||Stanne||Sundin, Johansson, Jivarp||5:12|
|2.||"With the Flaming Shades of Fall"||Stanne, Sundin||Sundin, Johansson, Henriksson||3:38|
|3.||"Away, Delight, Away"||Stanne||Henriksson, Johansson||5:22|
- Anders Fridén − vocals
- Niklas Sundin − lead guitar, artwork, lyrics
- Mikael Stanne − rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Martin Henriksson − bass guitar, co-guitar outro on Track 3
- Anders Jivarp − drums
- Fredrik Johannson - music
- Anna-Kaisa Avehall - Co-Vocals on Track 3 & 6
- Stefan Lindgren − Co-Vocals on Track 4 & 7, Engineering
- Dragan Tanascovic − Engineering
- Kenneth Johansson − Photos
- "Discography: Skydancer". DarkTranquillity.com. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Cole, John (1 November 2005). "Dark Tranquillity". Metal Update. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
Anders was with Dark Tranquillity from the very beginning, and I was on guitars. In '92 we recorded Skydancer, shortly after that we realized we couldn't work with him. So we fired him and I took over vocals and threw away my guitar and we got another guitar player. Sometime after Jesper formed In Flames, as kind of a side thing cause he was doing Ceremonial Oath at the time. He wanted someone to sing it so he asked me and I just started, because I needed the experience and the practice. We did the demo then the album, but I was kind of reluctant at first because I wanted my first vocals to be on DT. I was never a full member really though.
- Dick, Chris (9 September 2013). "Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity) interviewed". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Reistroffer, Brett. "Dark Tranquillity: Constructors of Melancholy Melodies". Louderthanhell.net. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Anderson, Jared. Dark Tranquillity Skydancer at AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Ward, Kyle. "Dark Tranquillity Skydancer/Of Chaos And Eternal Night". Sputnik Music. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Marciano, Dan (15 October 2010). "Retro Recommendation: Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer". About.com. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Skydancer/Of Chaos and Eternal Night (booklet). Dark Tranquillity. Helsinki, Finland: Spinefarm. 1996. p. 11.