|Reviews & Recommendations
(Johan Edlund & Co)
Johan Edlund (vocals, keyboards, composer, guitars)
Thomas Petersson (lead guitars)
Lars Skold (drums)
Anders Iwers (bass)
"Tiamat is a Swedish band that has evolved from being one of a thousand ordinary death metal bands to a unique atmospheric gothic metal band. Tiamat was originally formed under the name Treblinka in 1988 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Johan Edlund, at that time going by the name Hellslaughter. They released two demos, 'Crawling in Vomits' and 'Sign of the Pentagram' which led to a deal with CMFT from England. They since decided to change their name to Tiamat for the release of their debut album in 1990. (...) In the summer of 1992 Tiamat went back to the Woodhouse Studios in Germany to record 'Clouds' with a new bass player named Johnny Hagel. Tiamat was now taking a big step from death towards doom metal with classical rock riffs and atmospheric keyboards. (...) Their fourth album [Wildhoney] became the real break-through and the number of fans was growing rapidly. With this album they also released two videos: Whatever That Hurts and Gaia. The band was now showing clear Pink Floyd influences. 'Wildhoney' was followed by a number of tours. One tour was together with Type O Negative and another one with Sentenced. After these tours Magnus Sahlgren left the band and Thomas Petersson was asked to rejoin. In the summer of 1995 they headlined a number of festivals and later on they toured the states with Black Sabbath and Motörhead. Black Sabbath and Tiamat continued the tour in Europe until the final show in November 1995. With these tours Johan Edlund moved permanently to Dortmund in Germany where most of the albums were recorded and he also turned Tiamat into a personal project by declaring himself as the only official member. Lars Sköld remained as a session drummer and Thomas Petersson as session guitarist."
-- Vincent Eldefors, TartareanDesire.com
1990: Sumerian Cry
1991: Astral Sleep
¼ 1994: Wildhoney
"Not even Tiamat's previous achievements and accelerated evolutionary pace could have prepared fans and critics for the unbelievable sounds contained in the band's fourth album, 1994's groundbreaking 'Wildhoney'. The album elevated the group's combination of lingering death metal roots and ambient soundscapes to unparalleled heights of invention. Not necessarily a concept album in the lyrical sense, the record still operates as a virtually seamless aural experience, as tracks are often grouped into extended suites. The sounds of a running stream and chirping birds (actually the 30-second title track) introduce Whatever That Hurts, which effortlessly shifts from its slow, massive riff to a surprisingly beautiful melody, each section topped with Johan Edlund's death metal grunting and gentle whispering vocals, respectively. The Ar follows, yielding another huge midpace riff and some angelic choruses before giving way to the industrial grind of 25th Floor. Gaia and Visionaire pretty much stand on their own, but each displays a bevy of contrasting elements, ranging between heavy and light, which make them just as remarkable. Kaleidoscope opens the next suite with a delicate acoustic guitar playing over the sound of falling rain, and is followed by Do You Dream of Me?, perhaps the album's creative zenith. The song's ethereal quality owes much to its intertwining keyboard and guitar lines, not to mention Edlund's most sing-song performance ever, and merges directly into the spacey feel of the instrumental guitar piece Planets. The eight-minute A Pocket Size Sun takes a slight dip in quality but is hardly disappointing, and is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd."
-- Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide
½ 1997: A Deeper Kind of Slumber
"'A Deeper Kind of Slumber ' follows the change of its predecessor, the successful 'Wildhoney ' album. Tiamat, with Edlund at the helm, risked with a new sound that is experimental to say the least. You'll find no grunts or harsh vocals on this one; only clear, dreamy voice, suitable to the music. Defining the music is honestly the most difficult task here. There are a few elements of metal, but all in all this is not a metal album. (...)This kind of slow songs were first introduced on the previous album, but this time every note seems to fall in the right place; what you get on this album, is one mature band which has clearly made progress. The opener Cold Seed instantly surprises with its cheerful and catchy guitar line, but things quickly settle down with the hypnotic Teonanacati. Songs like Alteration X 10 and The Whores of Babylon perfectly show just what Tiamat are capable of. The superb title track closes this fine, fine album."
-- Bojan Janjanin, doom-metal.com
½ 1999: Skeleton Skeletron
"(...) The record kicks off with the meditative Church Of Tiamat, which is made up of bizarre synth bleeps that are merged with Edlund's deep voice. Then the catchy Brighter Than The Sun appears, with its rock driven rhythm and female guest vocals, before leading to the slow but harsh Dust Is Our Fare. A pleasant surprise can be found in the band's surreal cover of the Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The Devil. The last truly remarkable song is Best Friend Money Can Buy, which has a slow wintry feeling and soft piano playing mingled with great vocals by Edlund and a female guest vocalist. Many of the other songs on here aren't quite as memorable as the above-mentioned ones, despite their occasional shining moments. Perhaps, to fans of gothic rock and newcomers to Tiamat's sound, this record will seem better than it does to a long-time fan..."
2002: Judas Christ
"'Judas Christ' is in fact a very high-on-life kind of album. No more songs about the down trodden or of a gloomy death will fill your ears. Although the trademark Tiamat sloth like progression and production is to be found. The guitars and beats go to seemingly new lows, but they are always smiling back at you. (...) This is the most commercial friendly album that Tiamat have recorded to date. (...) From start to finish, 'Judas Christ' goes from dark to light. The gloom and molasses stays behind more and more while Tiamat climb the proverbial commercial hill to breaking into the mainstream. And by the end of this album, you will either have a new found respect for Tiamat and their collective creative genius, or you will stand back, point, and shout "Judas"!
¾ 2003: Prey
"Tiamat seems to have come full circle, combining the sounds of their 2001 release [Judas Christ] with the classic mid-90's material. The songs aren't too long, and there are some great melodies to be found (Cain, Carry Your Cross And I'll Carry Mine). While it is still certainly accessible, Prey isn't exactly popular music in the classic sense, as this is much darker, moodier and more intelligent than the average pop music fan can digest. One feature I enjoyed quite a bit is the use of female vocals on several tunes(Divided, Carry Your Cross And I'll Carry Mine), courtesy of Sonja Brandt, whose gorgeous ethereal voice is a great foil for Johan Edlund's dark baritone. Speaking of Edlund, he once again proves that he has one of the best voices in goth metal, turning in a typically understated but strong performance. As is typical of most Tiamat albums, the production is superb. It is heavy without overbearing guitars and drums, and the softer parts have great atmosphere. Keyboards and guitars share equal billing, and both are prefectly mixed and recorded. The vocals are the main focus here, and are mixed up front, exactly where they should be. Prey is the type of album that should be listened to in its entirety, as it has a great natural flow to it. As with most Tiamat albums, several spins are required to get the full effect."
-- Rumplesmoothskin , metalcoven.com
¼ 2008: Amanethes
Tracklisting: 1. The Temple Of The Crescent Moon 2. Equinox Of The Gods 3. Until The Hellhounds Sleep Again 4. Will They Come? 5. Lucienne 6. Summertime Is Gone 7. Katarraktis Apo Aima 8. Raining Dead Angels 9. Misantropolis 10. Amanitis 11. Meliae 12. Via Dolorosa 13. Circles 14. Amanes
"... do not expect another 'Prey' or another 'Deeper Kind Of Slumber' or another 'Wildhoney'. In general, do not expect to categorize this attempt under a single TIAMAT musical period. There are many classical TIAMAT elements throughout this album, taken from all the periods of the band, as also new elements, first time appointed by the band. Of course, the music is still Gothic metal, however dressed with many different musical ideas. (...) their sound is heavier than it used to be, more powerful bringing to mind bands such as The Vision Bleak or Samael on some tracks. Furthermore, Johans vocals are different. They changed to a darker and harsher way, in order to fit to the musical changes. Personally, I preferred Johans vocal style of the past All tracks have a dark mood, as also the controversial TIAMAT lyrics, as being presented throughout all these years. A representative sample of what 'Amanethes' is about is the beautiful cover artwork The more you listen to it, the more you come across some ideas you didnt notice before. I should not say it is a difficult album to listen and understand, however it has some hidden musical treasures, which need extensive listening to be enjoyed. Until The Hellhounds Sleep Again, Misantropolis, Katarraktis Apo Aima and Amanes are some of the favorite moments of the album, with almost all the other tracks being of the same quality. 'Amanethes' was produced by Johan Edlund himself and the recordings took place mainly in Greeces The Mansion and Cue studios. The album was mixed and mastered in Germanys Woodhouse Studios by Siggi Bemm, in January of 2008."
-- Michalis Psyllakis, metal-invader.com, 02/08
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