Band :  Tiamat

Album : The Scarred People

Genre : Gothic metal

Release Date : 02.11.2012

Record Label : Napalm Records

Tiamat is a band from Sweden and they were formed in 1987. They were initially formed as a black metal band under the name Treblinka but after recording just one album called Sumerian Cry, the guitarist/vocalist Johan Edlund and the bassist Jörgen Thullberg parted ways with the other members and formed the band, Tiamat. Sumerian Cry contained re-recorded songs from Treblinka and it was released in 1990.

After Tiamat’s debut, the band’s style changed from black metal because the mainman Johan Edlund’s influences ranged from Pink Floyd to Mercyful Fate. In 1994, Tiamat released another album called Wildhoney (1994), which was a very different album compared to the other extreme metal albums at that time, and this album enabled Tiamat to play in festivals like Dynamo and Wacken in 1995. The band had another change of style with the release of A Deeper Kind of Slumber in 1997; their style changed to gothic rock. At that time, Johan Edlund also declared himself as the only permanent member.

Tiamat has 10 studio albums and 2 DVDs in total. The latest album The Scarred People was released via Napalm Records.

Album Review

The first song The Scarred People“ is breathtaking; there are no words for it. From the beginning of the song, it feels like the grand opening to the darkness and the listener will feel that gothic and dark vibe from the melodies and the baritone vocals of the singer Johan Edlund. This song is the best song in the album in my opinion. This song also shows the true Tiamat spirit; dark synths, dark vocals and dark lyrics. It’s simple but perfect; as a matter of fact, Johan also states that they always aim for simplicity when writing songs so it’s not surprising that this song is simple yet beautiful. I especially loved the chorus and its meaning; darkness must not be avoided but it could be embraced.

The dark melody becomes the heavy guitars in the second song “Winter Dawn”. Although the tempo of the album slows down, it doesn’t change anything. While “The Scarred People” shows us the melodic side of Tiamat, this song shows the heavy side of the album. My other favorite is definitely “384 EKteis” which adds a different flavor to the album with the ‘eerie’ melody and the Marilyn Manson resemblance.

The highlights of the album are the songs “The Sun Also Rises” and “Before Another Wilbury Dies”. These two songs can be considered as one song since “The Sun Also Rises” leads to “Before Another Wilbury Dies”, which is instrumental. I think that with these songs the atmosphere of the album changes from dark to bright; the album also becomes less ‘melodic’ and a bit heavier with the guitars taking the lead. These two songs can also be considered as the transition to the second part of the album. The title “The Sun Also Rises” proves this point as well. Moreover, “Before Another Wilbury Dies” is not the only instrumental song; “Tiznit” shows us the acoustic and the ‘bright’ side of Tiamat. I especially love these two instrumental songs as they bring that silence to the album and the soothing comfort to the listener. The album ends with the song “The Red of the Morning Sun”, which consists of male and female vocals and this makes it really beautiful. I also love how this song is so melancholic yet it shows the “red of the morning sun” to the listeners. Especially, compared to the ‘dark’ beginning of the album, the ending really surprised me.

When I look at the album generally, I would divide this album into two parts; the first 6 songs define the dark side of the album and the remaining songs define the bright side. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the album is a dark album itself. One thing which caught my attention are the speeches in some songs like “The Scarred People” or “Winter Dawn” which remind me of the atmosphere in Pink Floyd songs. This shows us that Tiamat is a band with many musical layers. Especially when the band’s past is considered, Tiamat is a band that has changed musically and this can be seen clearly in this album. The listener will find gothic and dark songs as well as psychedelic and even heavy songs. A great example of this is “Messinian Letter”; the guitar solo in this song reminded me of an 80s ballad.

I must say I really enjoyed listening to this album. However, the beginning of the album left me with the expectation that the whole album would be dark but that was not the case. Although I enjoyed every song in the album, the whole atmosphere and the transition from dark mood to the bright mood disappointed me a bit. However, as I mentioned before, the listeners will find a lot of musical styles and layers in this album which makes it colorful and which shows that Tiamat is really a unique band. This uniqueness can also be seen in the cover artwork of the album, which was designed by the vocalist Johan Edlund. “The Scarred People” may not make every Tiamat fan happy but it surely is unique.

Rating : 7,5/10

“The Scarred People” tracklisting:

  1. The Scarred People
  2. Winter Dawn
  3. 384 EKteis
  4. Radiant Star
  5. The Sun Also Rises
  6. Before Another Wilbury Dies
  7. Love Terrorists
  8. Messinian Letter
  9. Thunder & Lightning
  10. Tiznit
  11. The Red of the Morning Sun

Tiamat is :

Johan Edlund – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Anders Iwers – bass
Roger Öjersson – guitar
Lars Sköld – drums