Tiamat – The Scarred People
text: Basak Gunel
Tiamat is a band from Sweden and they were formed in 1987 as a black metal band. It changed when frontman Johan Edlund was influenced by Pink Floyd and Mercyful Fate. ‘Wildhoney‘ from 1994 is a different album in compare to the other extreme metal albums at that time.
Another change of style with the release of ‘A Deeper Kind of Slumber’ in 1997, introducing gothic rock. At that time, Johan Edlund also declared himself as the only permanent member. Tiamat has ten studio albums and two DVD’s released in total.
The first song and titletrack “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 on the album in my opinion and shows the true Tiamat spirit; dark synths, darker vocals and suitable lyrics. It’s simple but perfect.
As a matter of fact, Johan Edlund states that they always aim for simplicity during the writing process, so it is not surprising that this song is simple yet beautiful. I especially liked the chorus and its meaning; darkness must not be avoided but it could be embraced.
The dark melody comes with 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 the melodic side of Tiamat, this song shows the heavy side of this 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, since “The Sun Also Rises” leads to “Before Another Wilbury Dies” which is instrumental. 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” represents an acoustic side of the band. These songs 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 in a beautiful duet. 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 six 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” because the guitar solo in this song reminded me of an eighties 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 colourful. 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.
8.5 / 10
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
11. The Red of the Morning Sun
Johan Edlund – vocals, guitar
Anders Iwers – bass
Roger Öjersson – guitar
Lars Sköld – drums