Tiamat
Wildhoney


4.5
superb

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
May 27th, 2009 | 42 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A death metal band moves to Pink Floyd land and ends up somewhere between heaven and hell.

The opening notes of this album make you feel like you're in some tranquil rainforest. Only improved by the album cover, where bees seem to spin like mad, carrying honey left and right, and as the song veers into cricket noises and an acoustic melody enters the ethereal madness, you start to wonder what mad world this album actually belongs to. Is this real? Did someone tape this on holiday in Brazil? But why is this band from Sweden? And in the split half minute of wonder that that first intro track lasts, the answer greets you when Whatever That Hurts enters, as suddenly the peace gives way to booming crushing riffs and oppressive melodies.

And then, all hell breaks loose. For a moment, the vocals, an astonishing death metal-style roar, plunge in, but the riffs are slow and crushing rather than fast, and as soon as the madness ends, the vocals turn to a hoarse whisper, and gentle guitars take over again. But this time they drown. This time, the thunderstorm feels like it's imminent. Slowly raindrops fall to its tribal beat. Even the lyrics, which seem to deal with drugs and hallucinogenics ("psilocybe tea") fade in and out of the song, weaving a vague sense of existence throughout this strange, mystifying world.

As soon as this madness ends, another stroke enters in the form of "The Ar". As the band transitions from psychedelia to more metallic booming riffs, and female vocals croon like sirens singing to the land, it becomes clear that this album, despite being very real when you first popped the CD into the player, does take you somewhere else. The songs seem to have a sort of continuous flow, as if there were no boundaries between songs; but yet, the album does have ten tracks. At times the band recalls the best moments of Pink Floyd, channelling their 60s sense of ethereal soundscapes, and at other times they seem contemporarily influenced, as if the spirit of their young (and at that time unknown) compatriots Opeth was flowing through their very essence.

Even in the moments where all seems ubiquitously mellow, as in "Do You Dream of Me?", guitars jangling like tribal instruments and vocals whispering like endless breezes through warm and sweaty forests, as if you were caught in the moist heat of summer, a sort of immense oppression still besets you. It seems like the album is a quiet euphemism for nature; imitating its inimitable noises, displaying the occasional flashes of peaceful tranquility, but when Gaia rears its head, we return to the vicious instable cycles of the world, as were the feedback loop between silence and noise an endless one. It does feel like wild honey; it is true and pure, wild, but it still tastes sweet on your tongue when you reach out to obtain it; no oppression feels satanic or frightening, it all feels natural and tangible; like pain you might endure on a hike through nature, or the warmth you may endure spending the summer holidays. There is no triumphant sense of despair here, no all-encompassing bleakness; merely the simultaneous sadness and joy of knowing nature is a true, real, entity, and that it hurts as well as it brings happiness.

The moment "A Pocket Size Sun" stops playing, your dream of psilocybe teas, Gaia, and a kaleidoscopic palette of nature ends. You wonder if you've really taken so much LSD that you felt all this. You wonder if the earth still swam before your eyes when that last note ended. But then you realise that the wildhoney you took and ate from the bees, that Tiamat set on earth, symbolises that music is a very good drug when it works; this album is a very good drug when it works. At times its psychedelic, obscure, tumbling nature seems very surreal when listening from a distance, like it's almost funny to wonder "who thought up this idiotic plan to have crickets sing an opening song?", but when you spend time with it, the revelation is that it does envelop you, and your mind, into its world. Like nature is not perfect, this album is not perfect; this album is not a dazzling display of skill, like a perfectly crystalline diamond. But it revels in its human weaknesses; it juxtaposes the primal soul of metal and the complex, beguiling essence of 70s psychedelic and progressive rock, in a way that no other band could ever achieve at this time. Is that enough to take the drug and swallow the Wildhoney pill? Maybe not, as we are not all drug-takers, but the ones that decide to take the journey are up for an exhilarating one indeed. I suppose their addiction will be justified.



Recent reviews by this author
Frank Turner Tape Deck HeartBrand New The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Metallica MetallicaSlayer World Painted Blood
Katatonia Night Is the New DayRammstein Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
user ratings (299)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Vrid (5)
Black sheep mind's eye....

niobium (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is another one of my "classic album on naturalistic metaphorical drug review" approaches

BallsToTheWall
May 27th 2009


44805 Comments


Drugs are bad mkay. I meant to acuire this album, I think I did but soon deleted it incidentally before "really" listening to it. Might to do, good review Comrade.

fireaboveicebelow
May 27th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only tiamat I own, I still need to buy the follow up

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good but there are a few filler songs that kill it for me. Yes, Fireabove you do need to check "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" out (but I don't think you have to buy it... you should already have it).

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

fireaboveicebelow
May 27th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had it BW (Before Willie)

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, you want a physical copy...

ConorMichaelJoseph
May 27th 2009


1870 Comments


I was hoping you'd review some more Tiamat.
Are you gonna do the new Dream Theater?

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's hard to review old albums now, plus all the Tiamat albums without reviews are crap. Yeah, I'm mostly finished with the Dream Theater album already (and I'll add to it when I get my special edition in the mail).

lostforwords
May 27th 2009


446 Comments


"only tiamat I own, I still need to buy the follow up"

you need to get the previous one as well

fireaboveicebelow
May 27th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what's the persuasion

Hawks
May 27th 2009


35837 Comments


I just listened to Whatever That Hurts and I surprisingly loved it. I need to listen to the whole thing definitely.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"only tiamat I own, I still need to buy the follow up"

you need to get the previous one as well
Clouds isn't all that good. It's passable but definitely isn't a 'necessary' album.

TheGreatD17
May 27th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Considering that this is basically the Blackwater Park of the 90s, I'm surprised it has such a small group of listeners on this site. Very nice review.

Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Clouds is all right if only because it has The Sleeping Beauty which is like the best Tiamat song ever.

And I will probably review the new Dream Theater as well just because I have reviewed every DT album except the debut.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I want to review their "Master of Puppets" bootleg some time when I get a free week. You should review "Clouds" too.

Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't like the MoP bootleg.

And why should I review Clouds? I've heard like six out of eight songs (I have the whole thing, but not listened to it all through yet). I actually like Tiamat's later stuff a lot. It's more accessible and I know they have a huge Sisters of Mercy influence but all the singles are really really good.

And seeing them live was amazing too.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't like the MoP bootleg either but that's why I want to review it.

I figured you should review Clouds since you seemed like you enjoyed it. Any other Tiamat album that needs a review would get a negative one from me.

Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I enjoy most Tiamat I've heard... I'm a sucker for this type of metal so yeah.

Their Iron Maiden bootleg is a LOT better though, James can do a Dickinson very well, just he can't do a Hetfield rasp...

Zip
May 27th 2009


5312 Comments


This sounds brutally laid back.

Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's pretty metal if you consider their later work, but it's mellow compared to anything else they've done (except Amanethes). It's like what Opeth were trying to do, but less death metalish and more doom metalish.

Somehow I always link this band to the Gathering...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy