Tiamat | ‘The Scarred People’
Tiamat haven’t exactly been consistent in their greatness.
When they got it right, like on the epochal ‘Wildhoney’, or their actual masterpiece, ‘A Deeper Kind of Slumber’, they were untouchable in their glum woozinesss. A singular band with a unique voice.
For a while though, when they decided they were the rightful heirs to the Sisters Of Mercy, and then some sort of rock troubadours, it didnt always gel.
They’ve got their raison d’etre back with this one, though. That raison of course being glum tellers of mordant truth. ‘The Scarred People’ is sublimely, richly sad, and powered by pulsating 4/4 beats, at times awesome in its rocking bleakness.
They always did have a gift for taking the listener away, dreamlike and hazed. The opening track has it all; a killer hook, a great vocal line, ambience, atmosphere, the works. It’s easily one of their best.
‘Winter Dawn’ up next reminds somewhat of Siouxsie & The Banshee’s ‘Nightshift’ with it’s jangly goth touch, before kicking into a full rock chorus that you could sing from the top of buildings. In fact, Johan Edlund is quite like his peer Ovl of In The Woods here – at least when Ovl let his hair down a bit for the later works.
Nods to ‘A Deeper Kind Of Slumber’ creep in. Little ticks, swathes and samples pepper the cd like some sort of magic dust, reminding the listener who exactly we’re dealing with: a band that brought atmosphere like an elixir to their metal over the years.
There’s a bit of that balladic thing I mentioned earlier in ‘The Sun Also Rises’, but we’re back straight into vintage, ‘Wildhoney’ era moodswing with ‘Love Terrorists’. Which is paradoxical, because it’s also the track where Johan is at his most Andrew Eldritch, ‘Floodland’ worshipping gothiness. It’s a perfect marriage.
Bands like Tiamat retain a special place in our hearts, earned from the emotional power of their classic work. Records like this show that they’re still changing, that they still care, and that they’re still pushing to make amazing music.
‘The Scarred People’ is an incredible dark-Euro metal album that recalls the best of old while sounding fresh and relevant to the here and now. Not a lot of legacy bands can claim that these days, but by staying true to their utterly depressing selves, Tiamat continue to shine.
4.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 22/11/12