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Dark Tranquillity’s return to the United States marks top 2022 tour we’ve seen so far w/ Kataklysm & Nailed To Obscurity

Posted by on March 21, 2022

 

We’ve surpassed the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. These unprecedented times have brought loss and challenges being forced to adapt and re-adapt to “new normal,” “newer-new-normal,” and so forth standards. Shows were once considered a thing of the past as bands had to reinvent the wheel by livestreams and constant reliance on social media. Towards the end of 2020, we once said to Dark Tranquillity frontman Mikael Stanne that the Swedish melodic death metal legends have more or less saved the year with their incredible new record, Moment, which ended up being one of our favorites. An album we’d only expect to hear live shortly after. However, following a few rescheduled dates, the long-awaited trek finally took place in early 2022 with Kataklysm and Nailed To Obscurity for support. Knowing Stanne’s enjoyment of performing live, it was no secret that this tour would be extensive. The Moment trek kicked off on January 28th in New Jersey and ran its course to Los Angeles and back east as it officially closed on March 12th at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. Initially intended for a fall 2021 tour with Obscura and Nailed To Obscurity, Kataklysm took Obscura’s place due to a scheduling conflict. 

Despite the warmer spring weather, winter returned for one-night-only just in time for Dark Tranquillity’s final stop on their nearly two-month journey at Gramercy Theatre on March 12th. The blizzard-like weather didn’t scare anyone away. The venue had a decent turnout, which was displayed from the beginning when the Germany melodic/doom act Nailed To Obscurity stepped on their first-ever New York City stage. The tour was the group’s first to perform in the United States as the audience welcomed their versatile set. These German doomers performed in near darkness with glimpses of blues and reds and introduced their catalog to the crowd with songs mainly from 2019’s Black Frost and 2017’s King Delusion and their latest single “Liquid Mourning.” Their six-song introductory set was enough to warm up the room, as many cannot wait to see these guys make another return across the pond.

 

Nailed To Obscurity

 

Setlist 

Black Frost

Protean

The Aberrant Host

 Liquid Mourning

Deadening

Desolate Ruin

 

Canada’s melodic death metal giants Kataklysm were up next, where they brought the onesies, beer, and hair flips to the stage. Another group that never holds back from their enjoyment performing live also released a strong record in 2020 with their fourteenth full-length effort, Unconquered. While hitting the road this past summer, COVID restrictions have more or less taken a few steps back on this tour, where this run did remain a first for some to hear the new album live for the first time. Back in 2020, frontman Maurizio Iacono expressed to Metal Insider how they wanted to be there for their fans during these times as they didn’t hold back from releasing new music. While New York was the final stop of an incredibly long cross-country and back journey, Kataklysm proved how much they are there for their listeners. The band managed to fit in ten songs in their setlist, where fans continued to headbang and engage throughout each track. While brutality remained vibrant insight, inhibition was long gone as the overall comradeship from the trek was visible. It was hard to ignore, as we’ve all learned never to take a live show for granted again. It was a relentless high, as fans and the band were hungry for a return, where Iacono revealed to the audience that they will be back with Deicide this summer.   

 

Kataklysm

 

Setlist:

Outsider

Underneath the Scars

At the Edge of the World

Push the Venom

Focused to Destroy You

Narcissist

The Black Sheep

The Killshot

Taking the World by Storm

As I Slither

 

Dark Tranquillity has had quite a few lineup shifts since the wake of the pandemic. Two years ago, the group welcomed guitarists Chris Amott & Johan Reinholdz as “proper real members.” Many have reevaluated their lives while deep in these COVID-19 times; it was around August 2021 when founding drummer Anders Jivarp and bassist Anders Iwers (ex-In Flames) quit the band after having time to reflect on their careers. The group has since recruited In Mourning’s Joakim Strandberg-Nilsson to sit behind the live kit, and for the US trek, they brought in bassist Mike Bear (Prototype/Artisan). Longtime keyboardist Martin Brändström took his usual stance on the back of the stage, leaving plenty of room for frontman Mikael Stanne to do what he does best: run around the platform while constantly smiling and interacting with the crowd. These Swedish melodic death metal icons didn’t hold back, as it was clear Stanne waited a long time for the New York show. The concertgoers showed a similar eager excitement. It’s been quite a few years, and fans finally heard new tracks, including “Phantom Days” and “Identical To None” live. However, in addition to the video clips we enjoyed from the previous Atoma tour with songs “Atoma,” and “Forward Momentum,” there was a vast difference in the setlist. The band brought older tracks, songs they’ve never performed to the states before. Before the tour, the band shared some tragic news that former guitarist Fredrik Johansson passed away from cancer at 47. Stanne kept Johansson’s legacy alive throughout the tour, including the New York stop, by dedicating the song “Punish My Heaven” to him. Stanne explained how the track was the first song he and Johannson recorded together. 

The emotions continued to fly high as older cuts continued to blast through the speakers, including “Therein” from 1999’s Projector. While this round brought newer faces, the overall Dark Tranquillity energy prevailed. The group presented an excellent synchronization and flowed on the stage while always leaving a path for Stanne to be in his joyous element. As the set flew by, leading towards the night’s end, the fire alarm suddenly broke loose. This was the first time the crowd had seen Dark Tranquillity perform live in over two years. After everything the world has been through with live shows being cancelled, rescheduled, to never walking foot into a live setting for such a long time, a fire alarm of all circumstances could have cut a long-awaited set short. Fans know it’s not a Dark Tranquillity show without hearing “Misery’s Crown.” while a few scrambled out early, the audience more or less stayed intact. Despite firefighters appearing on the floor, Stanne remained present while walking into the crowd, giving fist bumps to nearby fans. As the sirens slowly dissipated, the band more or less left the stage for their interrupted encore. Regardless of curfew, the fire drill, nothing would stop Stanne’s determination to complete the set, the overall tour in New York City. And that’s what they did. 

After a slight delay, the band returned to the stage and finished the set with “Lost To Apathy” and “Misery’s Crown.” Overall, it was a joyous evening, well worth the extended wait. From Nailed To Obscurity’s dark set to Kataklysm’s humorous and vigorous energy, and Dark Tranquillity giving a surprisingly fantastic setlist, this tour package marks one of the best for 2022 we’ve seen thus far. While Dark Tranquillity has since returned home, they will soon hit the road for another extended journey. After taking a short nap, the band will be back on for a co-headlining run with Ensiferum touring Europe. Perhaps they will reveal another US run shortly after, hopefully including some long-overdue Canadian dates.  

 

Dark Tranquillity

 

 

Setlist:

Phantom Days

Transient

Focus Shift

Monochromatic Stains

Forward Momentum

Terminus

The Dark Unbroken

Punish My Heaven

Clearing Skies

Atoma

The New Build

Inside the Particle Storm

Identical to None

Encircled

ThereIn

The Treason Wall

Lost to Apathy

Misery’s Crown

 

 

 

 

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