Dark Tranquility shook the Detroit crowd to its core along with Swallow the Sun, Enforcer, and Starkill at The Token Lounge.

Starkill opened the night. This Chicago-based band- Parker Jameson (vocals/guitar/ keyboards), Spencer Weidner (drums), Tony Keathley (guitar/backing vocals), and Shaun Andruchuk (bass)- blends elements of death metal, thrash, and power metal to create an ominous and aggressive sound. Since their formation in 2012, Starkill has rapidly built a strong fan base in the heavy metal community, having toured with acts such as Epica, Sepultura, and Arch Enemy.
The band is packed with energy, egging the crowd on into a frenzy of pounding fists and chanting. Playing a healthy mix of songs from their first two albums, they also treated the crowd to tracks from their recently released album Shadow Sleep, showcasing their growth in talent.
Harmonized, shredding, and melodic, the band’s two guitarists leap back and forth forming an almost inhuman rhythm section. Furious drumming and thumping bass balanced the brutal screaming vocals.

Starkill is continuing their North American Tour through December supporting Dark Tranquility. Still on a high off the success of Shadow Sleep, the band is already hard at work writing even more material for the highly anticipated fourth album. Their third and latest album Shadow Sleep is available now on their website.

Enforcer hit the stage next. A plume of smoke outlined the band as they launched into a mesmerizing blur of speed and power that lasted throughout the entire set. The Swedish based band consists of Olof Wikstrand (vocals/guitars), Jonas Wikstrand (drums), Joseph Tholl (guitar), and Tobias Lindkvist (bass). They have been very busy as of late, finishing a European fall tour just before joining Dark Tranquility’s tour. They are also celebrating the success of their recently released fourth album From Beyond and live album Live By Fire.

Enforcer is an 80s metal band for the modern age. Drawing influence from bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Exciter and the Scorpions, Enforcer brings a European flair to the traditional metal genre. The band has an unmatched, captivating energy on stage; getting up close to the crowd and leading everyone to sing along as loud as possible and headbang until they got whiplash. The guitar solos fly back and forth relentlessly, the pounding fast-paced drum work and rumbling bass and will blow you away, especially in contrast to Wikstrand’s high pitched soaring vocals.
Their music takes you out of the real world and allows you to fully let loose, scream, thrash your hair around, play air guitar until your fingers fall off, and just have a great time. They left the crowd dripping in sweat, voices destroyed, and dying to hear more.

Enforcer is continuing their North American Tour through December supporting Dark Tranquility. Their latest album From Beyond is available on Nuclear Blast Records.

Swallow the Sun took the stage as smoke filled the room, going right into “10 Silver Bullets” off of their newest album Songs from the North I, II & III. The Finnish death/doom metal band was founded back in early 2000 by guitarist Juha Raivio. Since then, Mikko Kotamaki (vocals), Markus Jamsen (guitar), Aleksi Munter (keyboards), Matti Honkonen (bass), and Juuso Raatikainen (drums) have joined, and have released six albums together.
Their driving sound is both heavy and atmospheric. Kotamaki’s dark, guttural vocals set the tone for the band’s primal doom sound. Honkonen’s gritty bass tones add a lot of heaviness to the songs. Jamsen and Ravio deliver heavy guitar riffs, beautiful leads, and harmonies. They are a fantastic team who play off each other perfectly. Aleksi’s keyboard playing is top notch, giving the whole sound it’s dark dwelling feel. Newest member Raatikainen blew everyone away on the drums, captivating and pulling everything together in a grave beat.

Their setlist focused primarily on their two latest albums. “Hate, Lead The Way” and “Cathedral Walls” from Emerald Forest and the Blackbird; “Rooms and Shadows” and “Silhouettes” from Songs from the North I, II & III. There was little interaction with the crowd, save a few words from Kotamaki and raising fists, they let their music speak for themselves, and it speaks volumes. By the time they ended with “Descending Winters” (from Ghosts Of Loss), the crowd boomed with approval throwing horns in the air.
Swallow the Sun’s latest album Songs from the North I, II & III is available now on their website.

And finally, Dark Tranquility strode onto the stage to reverberating applause, launching into “Force of Hand” off of their recently released album Atoma. From there, the band energized the crowd to a hair-raising, powerful 20-song set.
Formed in 1989, this Swedish melodic death metal band is one of the longest-standing bands from the original Gothenburg metal scene. Since then, Mikael Stanne (vocals), Niklas Sundin (guitar), Anders Jivarp (drums), Martin Brandstrom (keyboards), and Anders Iwers (bass) have released eleven albums.

Videos, animations, and album artwork rolled across a screen behind the stage, but it was hard to pay too much attention to the graphics when the band was running back and forth, providing blistering non-stop action. Stanne is an engaging brutal frontman like no other. Throughout the entire set, he kneels into the front row, keeping his face less than an inch away from the fans, all the while singing and growling at full volume.
The rest of the band is energetic yet stoic, letting their instruments show their full power. The dark, apocalyptic, melodic riffs tied in with the guttural vocals made for the fierce, moody and beautiful sound the fans love. The crowd quickly grew into a mosh pit, and wouldn’t let up all night, pulling in almost everyone in the venue.

The band made sure to showcase plenty of songs from Atoma, such as “Forward Momentum,” “Neutrality,” “Our Proof of Life,” “Atoma,” and “The Pitiless.” Longtime fans enjoyed the healthy mix of songs throughout Dark Tranquility’s lengthy career; including “White Noise/Black Silence,” “Terminus,” “Monochromatic Stains,” “The Science of Noise,” and much more. Dark Tranquillity wrapped up with “Final Resistance” followed by the emotional “Therein” to resounding applause.
With the crowd shouting for more, the band returned for an encore that began with “State of Trust.” The fans continued moshing as the band soared through “Through the Smudged Lenses” and concluded with the anthemic “Misery’s Crown.” Dark Tranquility had poured their hearts out onto the stage, and the crowd was still packed with adrenaline as they left for the night, happy to have celebrated the continuation of the band’s incredible musical career.

Dark Tranquility will continue their US tour promoting Atoma through December before immediately hitting Europe through spring of next year. Atoma is available now on their website.

Dark Tranquillity
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Swallow the Sun
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The Token Lounge
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Event Date: 13-Nov-2016

About The Author

Calling Detroit, Michigan home, Sami has been photographing for many years and has been with National Rock Review since near the beginning. She is a photographer and writer for National Rock Review as well as being the US Marketing Manager, PR Correspondent, and Editor. She also owns her own photography business, Sami Lipp Photography. Capturing the excitement of live music and the passion of musicians is something she lives for. She is excited to grow her career in music photography every day.

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