Monday, November 26, 2012
Tiamat : the Scarred People
Once upon a time Tiamat was thought of as Black metal and were mentioned along side bands like Samael. 1994's "Wildhoney" was a game changer for extreme music though the same cant really be said for their new album. The opener and title track is a love letter to the huge man crush they have on Sisters of Mercy, though more rock and less dancing.
The blatant chords leading into the chorus of "Winter dawn" might be dumbing it down for this band , yet as far as old school goth goes they capture the feel. The creep of "384" darkens thing up though not heavy as the kids might think of doom today. It winks at Sisters territory and the chords ring out with menace, but heavy hs become a relative concept and I don't see many goth d.j's wooed but the more ominous tempos and despite when the guitar hit harder it makes me wonder if a new Tiamat album drops in the forest will anyone hear it.
"Radiant star" makes it pretty clear the days of metal are over, it's still an interesting song largely due to the oddly syncopated vocal placement. "The Sun also rises" mixes Pink Floyd with Feilds of the Nephillim, not a new direction. For these guys but it is prefromed in a more concise manner than they have in the past,with ethe leads stealing the show on this one. obviously since 94' the growls are not to be found.
"love terrorist" has more drive and could be most easily called metal. Though it is not harder than Feilds of the Nephilim. There is the weird Pink Floyd refrain, though the songs drifts midway in. If the refrain makes it closer to " the Wall" era floyd the song "Messian Letter" goes in more of a "Division Bell" territory so they know their Pink floyd. The leads here continue to steal the show as they are precise in nailing the David Gilmore school of playing. Not a fan of the " you are my only friend" lyrics or melody in the chorus , even in Pink Floyd's later year the melodies were given more thought but Tiamat isn't Pink Floyd.
They start to rock out in more of a Neil Young sense on "Before another Wilbury" dies which is a quick jam and I wonder if the title is a reference to the Travelling Wilburys. On "Thunder and Lighting" we are back at the Sisters of Mercy feel, this one more dance oriented like "This Corrosion". There's also a little rock to "Born to Die" like what Nick Cave's output in the nineties might have turned out like if he had worked with like Butch Vig. For Tiamat it works and seems like the most personalized song where the bulk of the albu, the tug of war between the Floyd influence and Sisters stays in full swing, I would say David Bowie is the middle ground between those to two but Tiamat misses that not to say , this isnt well crafter and some excellent guitar work through out.
"Paradise" the Pink Floyd fan club rolls out, it another side of Roger waters than The more Final Cut dramatics the song " the red of the morning sun" of the chorus are a nice touch suppose this one is one of the albums darker cuts though there is a lack of sinister . This one does have a little more sense of its own identity , but if we are playing name that influence the point is gointo later Waters Floyd. "Paradise" is very ,uh on of those Waters ballads from the Wall. The guitar work is great, the keyboard part that starts the song could have stood to modulate a little more as the sound gets repetitive. But once again this is about the leads.
So here's what happens to black metal in the golden years, while Tiamat was never Bathory or Celtic Frost I think they played an important role in that era of music transitioning from the nineties. In forming a conclusive opinion about this album I'm having a hard time believing there is nothing really metal about it all and have to accept this as a conscious decision and not that these guys are old and clueless as to what metal is. The great lead playing helps tip the scales on this one.
I had to round this one down to a 7.5, Because the keyboard heavy mix really shoves the lack of metal in your face and insult to injury is this is coming from the guys who put out "Wildhoney" so they set the bar high for themselves. With that said the song writing is for the most part polished and if you are going to mix Pink Floyd with Sisters of Mercy you are at least mixing top shelf ingredients. The result is laid back psychedelic goth rock, which lets face it there not a lot of this sort of thing being pumped out that's not a blatant type o ripoff.