Swedish melodic metal masters DYNAZTY are getting ready to release their seventh studio album “The Dark Delight” on 3 April 2020, via AFM Records.
The band was formed in 2008 and has released six albums, among which are the highly acclaimed and anthemic “Titanic Mass” (2016) and the sleek and melodic “Firesign” (2018). Today, the band is comprised of respected musicians, active in the metal scene in more than one way. Bassist Jonathan Olsson can also be seen in both LINDEMANN and PAIN, guitarist Love Magnusson and drummer Georg Härnsten Egg frequently tour with rock legends such as DEE SNIDER and JOE LYNN TURNER. Guitarist Mikael Lavér has been featured with both LINDEMANN and JOE LYNN TURNER, while powerhouse singer Nils Molin can be heard and seen around the globe with the rising stars of fellow Swedish band AMARANTHE.
As per their press statement, by straying from their early days of 80s influenced hard rock (“Bring the Thunder,” “Sultans of Sin”), they have developed and refined their sound into something that merges the modern metal scene with the past, crafting something wholly unique. And the way I see it, “The Dark Delight” is the perfect combination of “Titanic Mass” and “Firesign” plus some interesting experimental moments to spice up the listening experience. Meaning, the music is very anthemic and powerful while also very melody-driven, albeit eclectic, as it draws influences from a wide range of genres. They have created such a big, engrossing sound that was only hinted at on past releases – the guitars are fierce, the drums are powerful, the bass is rumbling, the backing orchestrations are grandiose, and Nils Molin’s vocals are soaring and commanding like never before. The first single (and opening track) “Presence of Mind” made this new direction and sound pretty evident. The subsequent singles, “Heartless Madness” and “Waterfall,” hint at the band’s penchant for the 80s rock scene, while also delivering a sharp metal edge.
On the very hard and really heavy side on the album, you have the symphonic piece, “Paradise of the Architect,” where the majestic backing arrangements and vocal delivery make me think of such acts as EPICA or ANGRA; the wonderfully anthemic “From Sound to Silence” where GG6 (Henrik Englund of AMARANTHE) makes a guest appearance with some growls that make this track extra robust, though not necessarily extra heavy, and complement Nils Molin’s strong vocals incredibly well. “Threading the Needle” has some electronic overlays and a very intense atmosphere to it, coupled with thought-provoking lyrics (“As kings of a world run dry, we are threading the needle with lies”) that make it a statement on the state of humanity (maybe even more so than KAMELOT’s “Burns to Embrace”). “Apex” is, by my count, the track on which Nils Molin sounds the most commanding with his vocals, while the band is just as tight as ever and deliver blast beasts, powerful guitar lines, and a very melodic solo to cap it all off in style. There’s such an overflow of heaviness on this album that it could be comparable to EVERGREY’s “The Atlantic” or LACUNA COIL’s “Black Anima” in this respect.
On the melodic and energetic, yet extremely catchy side of things, the album offers tracks such as melodic hard rocker “The Black,” the 80s-infused “Heartless Madness,” and “Waterfall,” the epic closing track “The Dark Delight” as well as the beautiful power ballad, “Hologram” (emphasis on power) that could easily have come from the “Firesign” writing sessions, as they carry the same energy, melody, and elegance that can be found in spades on that album (think of “The Grey,” “Starfall,” or “The Light Inside the Tunnel”). For these same reasons, some of these tracks may get listeners thinking of AMARANTHE (or even ABBA), and I wouldn’t blame them for the association.
Now for the surprises that the album has in store for the listeners, these can be found on the second part of the album in the form of tracks “The Man and the Elements” and “The Road to Redemption.” This is where we hear the band’s experimental side as “The Man and the Elements” has a Celtic/Scottish sound to it with an extremely catchy chorus (think of metal bagpipes in a power metal song to give you an idea), while “The Road to Redemption” has a bluesy flavor to the guitar melody and a vocal approach that makes it a breath of fresh air on this guitar-laden, heavy, and dark album.
Some listeners might be put off by how varied and different DYNAZTY sounds from one track to the next, and might approach this album with a dose of skepticism based on their own musical tastes and expectations, but as far as I am concerned, the variety that is on display in “The Dark Delight” is a testament to the band’s creativity and desire to further expand their sound and not to be pigeonholed into a particular genre or sound. They have been successfully doing this since “Renatus” (2014) and I hope will continue to do so in the future.
All-in-all, the perfectly titled “The Dark Delight” sees DYNAZTY hitting their full potential and delivering an album that is in equal parts heavy and melodic, diverse yet with a recognizable sound to it, modern yet hooky and… well, full of dark sonic delights. Just like with “Firesign,” this may end up being my album of the year for 2020!
Written by Andrea Crow
- Presence of Mind
- Paradise of the Architect
- The Black
- From Sound to Silence (Feat. GG6)
- Heartless Madness
- Threading the Needle
- The Man and the Elements
- The Road to Redemption
- The Dark Delight
- The Shoulder Devil (bonus track)
Nils Molin – vocals,
Love Magnusson – guitar
Mike Lavér – guitars,
Jonathan Olsson – bass
George Egg – drums