Tiamat
A Deeper Kind of Slumber


4.5
superb

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 17th, 2008 | 37 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album that realizes the potential found on their previous release, Wildhoney.

Tiamat are a band that, in my mind, have had three separate eras already. Their original era would encompass the first three albums full of slow, mediocre doom. Their second era would include this album and Wildhoney and would be their “Floyd-inspired” era, and the final era (so far) would be everything after this album which is generic gothic rock. In case it isn’t obvious, I’m not a big fan of their first or third era, but I love the two albums that make up the second one.

Without rehashing the Wildhoney review, that album found the band incorporating a lot of Pink Floyd-styled influence into their brand of goth/doom metal. It saw an increased use of lush keyboards, clean guitars, and clean singing. Like most transitional albums, though, it did have its minor awkward moments (most notably in the lyrics and the transitions from one song to the next). This album is the one that saw Tiamat overhaul the awkward moments of Wildhoney as well as add an abundance of electronic effects and beats (and drop the death-vocals completely).

One of the reasons that this album is so much better is in its consistency. With the exception of the opening song, the whole album has a uniform feel; a dark vibe that is wrapped up in an almost dream-like package. The second track, “Teonanacatl”, introduces that dark, mellow, atmosphere with a sound that most closely resembles the tracks of Wildhoney. With its slow, slightly distorted guitar, Johan Edlund’s raspy vocals, subtle synth melodies and electronic interludes, this song is the perfect way to set the stage for the rest of the album.

Most of the songs after the second track take on a more formless approach where the melodies create a feeling of simply drifting to the music; but with something almost sinister right below the surface. On a track such as “Atlantis as a Lover”, the song simply creeps forward with a soothing keyboard melody, subtle notes from a guitar, and a minimal drum beat, but underneath all of that there still seems to be something unsettling. Whether it is from a vocal part or a keyboard melody that suddenly changes from soothing to eerie, the band always keeps the listener slightly uncomfortable. It brings to mind the slogan that they used to have printed on their shirts that stated, “That which is most beautiful is often only evil in disguise”.

As the album progresses, they delve farther into the Floyd territory while still retaining the dark atmosphere they created and sustained since the second track. They begin to include the soulful solos and lush keyboards that are found all over a stereotypical Floyd track and Johan’s vocals lose most the rasp and take on a very clean tone. Mixed with this increased influence are the new electronic elements found in the rhythmic accentuation to the main beat in “Only in my Tears it Lasts” or the Industrial edge on “The Whores of Babylon”.

Starting with “Phantasma De Luxe” the band finishes the job by allowing the album to entirely live up to its name. The final three songs are all mellow and meandering in nature, featuring minimal instrumentation in the way of actual guitar parts or lively drumming, but it works. “Mount Marilyn” especially lives up to the album title by increasing the track length to just over ten minutes of dark, subdued vocals that often include indistinct whispers, accompanied by a somber, clean guitar melody that only occasionally is accentuated by a second distorted guitar riff.

I know that some may disagree because they like the death vocals that are still a small part of Wildhoney, but for me, this is the album where Tiamat lived up to their full potential (before nose-diving into gothic rock mediocrity). The song writing is strong and memorable, the atmosphere that is created is like being in a dream where it feels like something is watching you, but you never actually see it, and that vibe is consistent and sustained throughout the course of the album. In addition, Johan’s vocals are improved greatly from past outputs, and the production is near flawless. Due to the mixture of influences I can’t say who this might appeal to the most, so I won’t venture any guesses and will instead allow you to decide for yourself if this sounds like something you could enjoy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
March 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It came out a little longer then I would have liked...

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Essence
March 11th 2008


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man, that is the LAST time I ever try to read a review while listening to the awesomeness that is Botch; so fuckin' distracting.
Just some minor touch-ups:

With its slow, slightly distorted, guitar playing, Johan Edlund’s raspy vocals and subtle synth melodies all interspersed with electronic interludes; the stage is set for the rest of the album.

That reads really awkardly.

The song writing is strong and memorable, the atmosphere that is created is like being in a dream where it feels like something is watching you, but you never actually see it,

Put that in parentheses.

Also the last sentence could do without so many commas.
Great review overall, though. Got my thumbs up.
This Message Edited On 03.11.08

Willie
Moderator
March 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for that... fixed the issues (I guess I wasn't thinking because that last sentence had commas just crapping out of every other word)... I am going to leave the second thing without parantheses though.
Have you heard these guys before? Also, you caught my curiosity and I'm going to check out these Botch people...

Essence
March 11th 2008


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tiamat? I don't believe I have... not much a doom-head myself. Then again, I listen to Agalloch, which, granted, is not doom, but it's definitely not fast.

Botch = Converge, but not as fast, and more creative.
Try "We Are The Romans"


Edit: Giving this a listen right nowThis Message Edited On 03.11.08

TheGreatD17
March 11th 2008


1141 Comments


Tiamat has other albums? Seriously, I'm glad to hear they dropped the doom vocals, they effectively ruined parts of Wildhoney, so I might check this out.This Message Edited On 03.11.08

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2008


16504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been interested in this band for a really long time now, good review.

Crimson
March 11th 2008


1935 Comments


I really only liked two songs off of of Wildhoney (the first two after the intro), I doubt I'd like this much.
Mucho good review.

Willie
Moderator
March 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really only liked two songs off of Wildhoney (the first two after the intro), I doubt I'd like this much.
Based on that, I don't think you would either... these songs are more similar to the later part of "Wildhoney" not the two songs you like.

Essence
March 11th 2008


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good stuff. Moody, but ambient - and, dare I say it, - "pretty".This Message Edited On 03.11.08

Altmer
March 11th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wildhoney is great guys.

Wizard
March 11th 2008


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album where Tiamat lived up to the full potential shown on
"Wildhoney".


IMO this was a thousand times better!

One of the reasons that this album is so much better is in its consistency.
With the exception of the opening song, the whole album has a uniform feel; a
dark vibe that is wrapped up in an almost dream-like package.


One of the best descriptions I've read in a while. That is so bang on with this
album.

Another excellent review Willie! Well written with the perfect amount of
description. Easily there best album. The rest of their stuff is just meh including
Wild Honey to an extent.

I've been interested in this band for a really long time now, good
review.


Crysis, you will shit yourself after you listen to the atmosphere on this album. I'm
surprised you haven't listened to this at all. This Message Edited On 03.11.08

Digging: Horseback and Locrian - New Dominions

rasputin
March 11th 2008


14555 Comments


Reveiw was sexcellent.
I think the only 'era' that interests me is the first one, but you label that as slow, mediocre doom. Is it bad enough for me not to check out?

Willie
Moderator
March 12th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think the only 'era' that interests me is the first one, but you label that as slow, mediocre doom. Is it bad enough for me not to check out?
I think it depends on how into Doom you really are... if you're really into that kind of music then you might be able to enjoy the first three albums... try something from Clouds or Astral Sleep and see.

@Wizard: thanks! I like Wildhoney a lot, but this trumps it, hands down.

Essence
March 12th 2008


3595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Having listened to this now, I can say you describe it very well; however, I don't hear the creepy element you spoke of.

rasputin
March 12th 2008


14555 Comments


I think it depends on how into Doom you really are... if you're really into that kind of music then you might be able to enjoy the first three albums...

I might have a listen then, but expectations are low.

Willie
Moderator
March 12th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Having listened to this now, I can say you describe it very well; however, I don't hear the creepy element you spoke of.
Admittedly, it is a subtle quality found mainly in the tones used in some of the various instrumental parts or in the way certain vocal parts are delivered, but it's there (I hear it anyway).
I might have a listen then, but expectations are low.
Going into their first three albums with that mindset might set you up to be at least slightly surprised...

Wizard
March 12th 2008


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Willie,
Wildhoney is ok once in a while, but it has too much critical praise attached to it and I think that is also why I don't exactly enjoy it that much (not that I'm neglecting critically popular albums for immature reasons). Whenever something has critical praise and the album turns out to be moderate at best, it just makes the album that much more disappointing.

Willie
Moderator
March 12th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think the main reason "Wildhoney" got such praise is because at the time it came out most of Century Media's (their record label) roster was generic crap with horrible productions... and this was the first album to come out that broke from that mold, and it was different for the time and it was leaps and bounds better then their previous releases...This Message Edited On 03.12.08

Wizard
March 12th 2008


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed, I just don't find it half as interesting as this.

foreverendeared
June 17th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm diggin it!



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