The last show of the DARK TRANQUILLITY, THREAT SIGNAL, MUTINY WITHIN U.S. tour hit a relatively quiet night in Hollywood after Memorial Day weekend. The Key Club was as hot as sauna, the upstairs area was closed off, and even a few attendees of Ronnie James Dio‘s memorial service could be spotted.

Newcomers MUTINY WITHIN took the stage with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, which immediately connected with the crowd. After hearing them play a few songs, there’s no hiding the fact that DARK TRANQUILLITY are a major influence as evidenced by their stop and start grooves, melodic sense, and synthesizer sound and style. The band fared better than the average opening band on a tour with their American interpretation of 2000’s Scandinavian melodic death metal. The pit was alive and the crowd shouted their approval.

Upon Ontario, Canada’s THREAT SIGNAL‘s first song, it was clear that they were more sophisticated, sharpened, and superior to the young MUTINY WITHIN. Unfortunately, the crowd were seemingly unfamiliar with and somewhat apathetic to the band despite playing their best. A personal emergency forced the band to finish the last date of the tour with only one guitarist. Lead guitarist Travis Montgomery‘s exceptional solo skills did make headway in converting some of the faithless.

As the clock struck 11:00pm, it was clear that this was DARK TRANQUILLITY‘s night. Finally, LA fans got to experience a full headlining set from Gothenburg’s longest running band. The setlist was more or less a combination of their usual setlists from their last couple of tours, which has a significant amount of overlap. The songs that made their LA debuts included “Lethe” and “Freecard.” There was a healthy dose of songs from DT‘s latest, We are the Void.

Aside from a longer set, fans were also treated to an accompanying video projector that not only showcased guitarist Niklas Sundin‘s fantastic artwork along with other excellent animations, but also was synched up to each of the songs performed. The band performed “Shadow in Our Blood” along with the music video in high definition being projected. The cool thing about that was the fact that the band performed in perfect synch with the video. The fans were more than impressed with this feat.

The band was happy. The crowd was happy. It was a win win situation. Vocalist Mikael Stanne declared the show to be the best night of the tour. Not bad for a quiet night on the Sunset Strip.

DARK TRANQUILLITY Announce North American Headlining Tour with Complete Career Retrospective Setlist Planned

Swedish melodic metal pioneers, DARK TRANQUILLITY, will make their much anticipated return to North America on May 11th as they prepare for a massive North American headlining tour with THREAT SIGNAL and MUTINY WITHIN supporting. This promises to be the longest, career-spanning DARK TRANQUILLITY set list yet. Be sure to visit www.myspace.com/dtofficial now to stream new tracks from the band’s latest album, We Are the Void, and to view their complete tour itinerary.

Mikael Stanne (vocals) further describes his excitement over the headlining tour: “Oh Yes! As promised we are coming back to the States for a proper headlining run. We’ve been rehearsing like crazy to put together a set that will blow you away. It’s been hard but we feel we have a good collection of songs that represents every aspect of the band and will please fans of both new and old material. Also, the mad genius Niklas (guitars) is hard at work creating amazing artwork and animation that will look incredible and add a new dimension to the show.

“This is without a doubt the biggest production we’ve done in the States. We cannot wait to bring you the full DARK TRANQUILLITY experience. We are also really happy to bring some really awesome bands with us this time around. THREAT SIGNAL and MUTINY WITHIN are bands we’ve had our eyes on for quite a while and they will make sure you all will have one hell of a metal night. Cheers and see you all very soon.”

ARKAEA – Years in the Darkness

Prior to the announcement this year of a second incarnation of FEAR FACTORY featuring Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares, the other half of the classic FEAR FACTORY line-up (guitarist Christian Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera) debuted their new band, ARKAEA, via Years in the Darkness. For the most part, ARKAEA is FEAR FACTORY with a metalcore singer. The signature FEAR FACTORY rhythms and riffs are unmistakable. But at the same time, the band does display some more musical diversity than FEAR FACTORY. There is more spacing in the songs, more melodies, and perhaps a wider palette of emotions and dynamics that the band is trying to capture. While vocalist Jon Howard may be the least ferocious voice that Wolbers and Herrera have played metal with, he is also the most melodically diverse. At times, he sounds like LINKIN PARK‘s Chester Bennington. Howard never hesitates to heavily utilize his clean vocals while simultaneously trying to create catchy melodies. More often than not the clean vocal choruses succeed in their goal. Years in the Darkness boasts a ton of content via 14 songs clocking in around four to five minutes each. In a way, this works against the band in that not all of the songs are winners and/or carry the same level of impact. Pockets of complacency set in and taint the quality of the majority of the album. Given the current climate in the world of FEAR FACTORY, it will be more than interesting to see how things develop musically for ARKAEA in the future. At least the one positive that has already developed is the birth of a new band with a quality debut album. (E1 Music)

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FEAR FACTORY’s Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers to Unleash New Band ARKAEA

ARKAEA, featuring members Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers of FEAR FACTORY and THREAT SIGNAL, have just finished their debut album Years in the Darkness. The album is set to be released on July 14, 2009 on E1 Music, formerly Koch Records.

Years in the Darkness was produced by Christian Olde Wolbers and ARKAEA and mixed by legendary producer Terry Date. The CD was mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound, who also mastered FEAR FACTORY‘s gold album, Obsolete.

“We are truly proud of this record,” states Olde Wolbers. “Ironically half of the ARKAEA album consists of songs that were intended to be the next FEAR FACTORY record.”

Track listing for Years in the Darkness is as follows:

Beneath the Shades of Grey
Years in the Darkness
Gone Tomorrow
Black Ocean
Break the Silence
Lucid Dreams
My Redemption
War Within
The World As One
Rise Today
Away From the Sun

First song on the album, “Locust” Is available streaming on the band’s Myspace: www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic

FEAR FACTORY Members Start New Band with THREAT SIGNAL Singer

FEAR FACTORY members Christian Olde Wolbers (guitar) and Raymond Herrera (drums) are proud to announce the debut album of their new group, ARKAEA, featuring THREAT SIGNAL vocalist, Jon Howard.

ARKAEA has just finished up pre-production and are scheduled to enter the studio to begin recording. This album promises to be as pummeling as anything the gold-selling team of Olde Wolbers and Herrera has ever written.

Olde Wolbers comments: “These songs were designed like the FEAR FACTORY songs that Raymond and I always wrote. However, we’ve been able to push the boundaries and go out of that context, while remaining heavy.”

Christian and Ray have been writing together for many years, so the music does have a lot of FEAR FACTORY elements,” adds Howard. “However, we’ve been open to trying different things. It basically fuses what I have been doing vocally in THREAT SIGNAL with driving FEAR FACTORY rhythms, along with some of our own experimentation. The idea behind the project is to be heavy, but maintain melody at the same time.”

Howard has been a part of the FEAR FACTORY family ever since Olde Wolbers served as producer for THREAT SIGNAL‘s debut, Under Reprisal. Given that connection, the chemistry was there the instant the band started playing together.

The band’s yet untitled album is due out fall 2008 on Koch Records and plans for touring are under way in support of the record.

Samples of ARKAEA are available on their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic