Released By: AFM Records
Release Date: April 3rd, 2020
Genre: Melodic Metal
Nils Molin – Vocals
Mike Lavér – Guitars
Rob Love Magnusson – Guitars
Jonathan Olsson – Bass
George Egg – Drums
1. Presence of Mind
2. Paradise of the Architect
3. The Black
4. From Sound to Silence
6. Heartless Madness
8. Threading the Needle
9. The Man and the Elements
11. The Road to Redemption
12. The Dark Delight
With some albums, my expectations going in, based either on early release singles, previous releases from the band, or a combination of both, can end up being either a bit too high or a bit too low, with the resulting album either blowing me away beyond expectation or falling a bit short. And then there are albums like, The Dark Delight, by Swedish melodic metal band Dynazty, where I immediately have a feeling something special’s coming, and the end result ends up being everything I was expecting, and more! To be fair, this is hardly my first rodeo with Dynazty, as I’ve been a fan of the band since their outstanding fourth release, Renatus, and also greatly enjoyed their two most recent releases, Titanic Mass and Firesign, so just knowing they had a new album coming this year was enough to get me excited. As soon as I heard the lead single, “Presence of Mind”, though, I immediately had the feeling this could be their best album to date, and after giving The Dark Delight several listens, I can safely say: I was right!
At this point, Dynazty has their current sound completely mastered, now four albums into this phase (as well as being seven albums into their career), so fans of the previous few albums should have a good idea of what to expect. The same mix of hard-hitting guitars, uplifting melodies, and huge, catchy choruses is still fully intact, with Rob Love Magnusson delivering some of his grooviest riffs to date, with the lead melodies and solos particularly impressive. That’s not to say Love has all the fun as Mike Laver is also very prominent on this album, the pairing between the two works very very well.
There’s great use of the keys as well. They had already been used a lot on Firesign, and if anything this album places a bigger emphasis on them, with a lot of the tracks having some strong trance beats and melodies, as well as the occasional use of more ambient keys. And of course, Nils Molin’s vocals are every bit as smooth, powerful and epic as always, with him slaying it on some of the band’s best choruses to date. His performance alternates between calm, emotional and very intense throughout the album, and he does so fluidly and perfectly, as always.
One element that has been reduced quite a bit on this album is the band’s power metal sound. There are still traces of it at times, most notably on “Paradise of the Architect” and “Apex”, but a lot of the tracks fall on the slower side. Usually, I’d consider this a disappointment, but the songwriting still manages to be varied enough, with a mix of some very heavy tracks, some softer tracks, many that blend both together seamlessly, and even a couple more surprising tracks. More importantly, though: Every track is fantastic. On Firesign, it felt like the heaviness had been dialled back a bit, but that isn’t the case this time around, as this has some of the band’s heaviest material yet, while also having some of their best melodies and choruses, as well as some excellent calmer sections. While the power metal elements are reduced, they’re still fantastic whenever they show up, so I feel the band has struck a perfect balance between all aspects of their music. The sound production is perfect, as always, and performances are amazing across the board.
While Dynazty albums always deliver when it comes to the overall sound and performances, The Dark Delight is especially impressive when it comes to the actual songs. There are no songs here I wouldn’t consider perfect, so much so that even trying to pick favourites is nearly impossible, with one exception. Kicking things off in style is lead single “Presence of Mind”, which opens up softly, with a brief tease at its killer chorus, before the guitars kick in, and the song settles into a nice groove, with some very heavy guitar work, and a nice rhythm, The verses are very fun and go by quickly, while the chorus is awe-inspiring, with a combination of excellent lyrics, incredible melodies and of course a flawless vocal performance from Molin. Even the narration in the middle is interesting enough to keep my attention, and the solo section that follows is quite epic. Overall, this song is incredible, and the first time I heard it, I just had a feeling this album had a strong chance of being my favourite yet, from Dynazty.
Thankfully, the rest of the album very much lives up to that stunning opener, with the following track “Paradise of the Architect” in particular picking up the pace, and delivering more of an epic symphonic power metal sound, with some nice symphonic keys, speedier tempos, more hard-hitting riffs, and another unbelievably catchy chorus, with some excellent vocals melodies, and nice use of trance keys. Next is “The Black”, a slow, but very hard-hitting track, with more epic keys, especially during the rather calm, slow-building verses, while the chorus is once again spectacular. The highlight, though, comes from some spectacular guitar work in the second half, with one of the band’s heaviest riffs to date, followed by a beautiful, very technically proficient solo section.
Initially, “From Sound to Silence” seems like a fairly typical track, moving at a moderate pace, with a nice mix of atmospheric keys, hard-hitting guitars and a very melodic and catchy, if slightly subdued, chorus, but the second verse features some very intense and powerful growls, which add an element of surprise and help lift an already great track to new heights, while the solo section has a slight folk feeling and is also quite epic. The lone ballad on the album is “Hologram”, and as expected from Dynazty, it’s fantastic. It alternates between some very light keys and some beautiful acoustic guitar work, with Molin leading the way with some very soft, yet also very emotional and powerful vocals. He starts calmly and gets more intense as the track goes on, with the bridge, in particular, featuring some fantastic high notes, while other parts of the track have him singing at his lowest, and so the track does a perfect job of demonstrating his huge range. There’s also a gorgeous guitar solo in the second half, while the final run through the chorus is stunning.
After some slower tracks, the band speeds things up again with second single “Heartless Madness”, a very trance infused, up-tempo track, which also happens to be quite possibly the catchiest metal song I’ve ever heard! It moves along at a fast pace throughout, with the keys and vocals leading the way through the verses, while the chorus has a very bouncy, slightly pop-infused feel to it, but it’s just so damn catchy, while also being incredibly melodic, and having some outstanding vocal melodies. The highlight of the track, though, is the seamless transition from the second chorus, straight into a very nice melodic guitar solo, which features some of the best guitar work on the album. Overall, this track is by far my favourite song released in 2020, so far, and one of the absolute best melodic metal songs I’ve ever heard.
While the first two singles were absolute barn-burners, the third single “Waterfall” is slightly more laid back, but still awesome, in its way. It’s a fairly slow-paced, very melodic track, and it places a huge emphasis on trance keys, which are very much the driving force throughout the track. The verses are very quiet and calm, while the chorus opens up a bit, with more outstanding melodies, and while it’s one of the more laid back choruses, it’s still excellent, as always. The keys are the main focus here, as well as the unsurprisingly excellent guitar solo in the second half. Another very keyboard-driven track is “Threading the Needle’, the longest track here, clocking in at just under 6 minutes. It has some very light, atmospheric keys during the verses, which are slow and methodical, while the chorus is quite loud and epic, as usual. The song is excellent throughout, though the solo section is the highlight, with more outstanding riffs, as well as a great extended guitar solo. Another lighter track is “The Man and the Elements”, though this one is actually very guitar-driven, with some excellent lead melodies, which give the track slight a folk feeling, while the keys have a very symphonic feeling, which helps give the song an epic feel, especially the during the chorus, where the pace picks up slightly, without fully speeding up. It’s a fun track throughout, with the chorus, in particular, being very epic and catchy, and the instrumental section is quite awesome, as usual.
Moving towards the end of the album, one of the most intense tracks here is “Apex”. It again has a strong trance feel to it, with some very modern sounding keys, but it also has some very dark, sinister-sounding guitar work, as well as some crushing riffs. It’s a pretty fast-paced track, with the chorus alternating between a fast, very melodic buildup, followed by an equally fast, but very aggressive and powerful ending, which very much brings some of the best tracks from Renatus to mind. From heavy to soft we go, with “The Road to Redemption” being easily the most unique track on the album. It starts out very calmly, with some very light, but beautiful guitar work during the verses, as well as having a unique vibe, falling somewhere between country and southern rock. The pace picks up slightly during the chorus, though, which is very epic, and there are some heavy sections towards the end, during both a very epic bridge, with some stunning vocals, as well as an equally impressive final run through the chorus. While I suspect some fans may be turned off by the first half of the track, I actually quite love it, as it’s a very welcome change of pace, and I think the band pulled it off perfectly. Overall, it’s yet another perfect track. Closing out the album is the title track, and it’s yet another track which alternates wonderfully between some heavy, dark guitar work, and some very light, trance infused keys. It’s a fairly mid-paced track, with subdued verses and a very epic, powerful chorus, with Molin getting especially intense towards the end, closing the album out in spectacular fashion.
When I first heard Renatus, I was simultaneously blown away, while also a bit nervous about whether or not Dynazty could top that, or even match it. While their previous two releases didn’t quite reach those same heights, they were still excellent, and now with The Dark Delight, the band has delivered another masterpiece, with some of their absolute best songs to date. Fans of the band are almost guaranteed to be pleased with this release, while anyone looking for some excellent melodic metal with a mix of heavy guitar work, excellent use of trance keys, slight power metal elements and a spectacular vocal performance, is highly recommended to give this a listen, as I don’t see any similar bands putting out a better album than this any time soon!
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.