With “Wildhoney” Johan Edlund established Tiamat 1994 as a strong and inspired force of avant-garde metal. The follower “A Deeper Kind Of Slumber” (1997), demonstrated Edlunds passion for 80’s dark-pop/rock sounds and his aversion to soulless and stagnating Death Metal. With “Judas Christ” (2002) the master from Sweden, who in the meanwhile settled over to Germany, tested his fans with an album that included songs like “Vote For Love”, that somehow didn’t fit the always present satanic image of the creator and that exposed a by far more commercial demand of Tiamat compared to the era before “A deeper kind of slumber”.
“Prey” (2003) is a step backwards and a huge development at the same time. Still the song structures are simple and anything else than Metal. But vocabulary-wise, Edlund, who was always a guarantor for fascinating poetry (“The Return Of The Son Of Nothing”), returned to the dark side of the force. This is obvious in tracks like “Light In Extension” or “The Pentagram”, in which Edlund whispers lyrics from Aleister Crowley.
The music reveals a dark soul, whereas the rock (guitar solos) and pop (synthesizer) elements still are used frequently. Never I have listened to a band that caused this unique mixture of emotions. No matter if we get thrown in a maelstrom of deep depression or if we experience the heartbreaking pain of the disdained narrator: Edlund always injects an overdose of his soundscapes that cause the loss of consciousness for the listener. At least the consciousness of rationality. The drug makes you fly above the clouds and it brings you a feeling of unlimited relaxation. If “A Deeper Kind Of Slumber” was the heroine, “Prey” is the methadone. The feeling tracks like “Love in Chains” or “Divided” evoke, is closer to life, than the atmosphere on the masterpiece from 1997. Still “Prey” includes the melancholy of a wounded soul. Sometimes it appears as if Edlund, who has experience in the abuse of heavy drugs, has created his own methadone with this album in order to resist the needle.
Musical wise this work is resistant against any critic. Every single song evolves its own identity. Be it “Cain”, the opener with its catchy phrase, or “Light In Extension”, which combines old-fashioned rock rhythms and a chilling refrain. Regardless the variety of the single pieces, the relaxing and anesthetic effect is always present. Especially “Divided” has to be mentioned here: For me this track, with its intimate beginning and the later collision of Johan Edlund’s and Sonja Brandt’s voices, represents a culmination of the deepest emotions to an extend, I never listened before from a rock group. Simply fascinating and moving!
“Prey” is not suitable for intellectual reception. In fact the language of the lyrics and pictures is quite simple. Edlund used an easy-going symbolism, which from time to time even appears a little infantile (I won’t go into detail, but a look at the band picture should answer any questions). Anyhow the music speaks for itself and shows that Tiamat still is the inspired band it has always been. “Prey” is a work the passionate music fan should salute appropriate, even though Edlund has left the boundaries of (avantgarde)-metal behind long ago.
Label: Century Media
Avantgenre: Methadone For Broken Hearts And Satanic Emos
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/tiamat
Review online since: 31.01.2008 / 13:19:07
01 – Cain
02 – Ten Thousand Tentacles
03 – Wings Of Heaven
04 – Love In Chains
05 – Divided
06 – Carry Your Cross And I’ll Carry Mine
07 – Triple Cross
08 – Light In Extension
09 – Prey
10 – The Garden Of Heathen
11 – Clovenhoof
12 – Nihil
13 – The Pentagram