Tiamat “Wildhoney” (1994)

Ah, 1994. Those were glorious times. It was the year when I started to seriously listen to Metal, and one of the best years to pick from an embarrassment of riches. I remember MACHINE HEAD debuting with “Burn My Eyes”, PANTERA releasing their best album “Far beyond Driven”, PARADISE LOST steering towards the ingenious “Draconian Times” (I know, not that these music styles have so much in common but let me dwell in nostgaly for a while) and TIAMAT- well, bringing a big surprise with this instant classic Gothic Metal album. And I mean Gothic METAL, not this easy listening dancing-fairies-stuff which is so popular nowadays- a genre which I thought extinct except for maybe THE VISION BLEAK, but that’s another story.

But this is not only a superb Gothic Metal album; if it was, I’d leave it like that and go reviewing something else. To try to describe this album to someone deaf would result in the following: Make him empty a whole bottle of absinthe while internalizing the works of Dalí, then finish him off with magic mushrooms. The resulting dream would surely resemble “Wildhoney”…

The first track “Wildhoney” serves as a calm Intro and prepares the beginning of “Whatever That Hurts”, a slow, creepy and menacing track with a great clean guitar line and almost tribal-like drums. “The Ar” springs forth of this song with a pitch black atmosphere, threatening choirs, heavy guitars and some keyboards- at this point this drug-driven nightmare manages to pull you down into a black hole vortex with an incredible dark mood, while the conjuring voice of Johan Edlund is floating above all. “25th floor” lets you resurface slowly, and the dream changes from a nightmare to something more friendly in “Gaia”, giving you a little glimpse of warmth. Slow drums, moody keyboard background and a more benign, clean Johan Edlund with even some guitar solo. “Visionaire” though gets more aggressive again, keyboards disappear in favour of an again heavy guitar duetting with a clean guitar. This time Edlund sounds almost conjuring and there is a feeling as if TIAMAT are preparing to get as evil as in the first part of the CD- but this change does not occur; instead, in “Kaleidoscope” and “Do You Dream Of Me?”, it gets really surreal. Only Keyboards with weird tunes, and a gloomy clean guitar while Edlund, half whispering, half speaking, leads through this part of the dream. This sounds like walking through a field of flowers under a black sky… The instrumental “Planets” invokes the width of space with only effects and guitars, and then “A Pocket Size Sun” starts and resembles the chaotic and weird but somehow calm parts of the dream shortly before you awake. This song builds up a tension, starting only with drums, clean guitars and a dissonant harp (?) and ends with something what could be a jam session of very talented musicians when, at the peak of it, you suddenly awake, leaving only traces and irreal pieces of what was experienced a moment ago…

Luckily there is no hangover after this, just the feeling that you have listened to one of the best Metal albums of the nineties. Avant-garde? Yes, at that time for sure, and even today a little. Unique? You bet- this one is a timeless masterpiece.

– Tentakel P.


Release:  1994
Label:  Century Media
Avantgenre:  Drunken Psycho Gothic Metal
Duration:  42:08
Origin:  Sweden
Official site:  http://www.churchoftiamat.com/
Review online since:  22.09.2007 / 16:23:28


01 – Wildhoney
02 – Whatever That Hurts
03 – The Ar
04 – 25th Floor
05 – Gaia
06 – Visionaire
07 – Kaleidoscope
08 – Do You Dream Of Me?
09 – Planets
10 – A Pocket Size Sun

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