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Tiamat - "The Scarred People" (CD)

Tiamat - "The Scarred People" CD cover image

"The Scarred People" track listing:

1. The Scarred People
2. Winter Dawn
3. 384EKteis
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

Reviewed by on October 2, 2012

"...when the group meshes goth rock with dreamy atmospherics, it arrives at a powerful dynamic."

Every country in Europe’s extreme metal field has artists that go astray from their black and death metal histories. Odd-ball musicians, such as Norway’s Ulver, see beyond genre tags, and create sonic art forms of pure, honest expression. Tiamat certainly fits into this “artist colony.” One never knows what sounds may emanate from your player when throwing on the newest Tiamat recording. Death, doom, symphonic, Goth, blues, psychedelics; Tiamat has done them all. What new forms lurk ahead with “The Scarred People”?

Tiamat reveals its hand when it hits the first note. The title track initiates the album in grand, cinematic style. While this opening segment probably doesn’t consist of real brass, the volume and clarity of their keyboards creates the same sort of dynamic effect as a symphony. Once the drums come in, though, around the thirty-second mark, this track shows its electronic features. Tiamat isn’t just playing goth rock here; they’re producing top-notch goth that could hold up in a rotation with Skinny Puppy, Switchblade Symphony and, most of all, The Sisters of Mercy. The low-register hymns work well in this song and are something of note.

As stated in the introduction, Tiamat is a band that defies categories and this holds true after hearing “The Scarred People” in full. Pink Floyd’s bluesy, oft-psychedelic-laden compositions appear quite often. “Radiant Star” may relate a calm mood, but it includes violins that swell dramatically. “Messianian Letter” appears to also follow Floyd’s tracers, complete with bluesy guitar solos.

Tiamat’s Pink Floyd influence started to show on “Wildhoney” and continued on their follow up “A Deeper Kind of Slumber.” Many tracks on “The Scarred People” seem to go back to these releases. “Tiznit” is an acoustic instrumental featuring sounds of nature, which recalls the title track on “Wildhoney.” “The Red of the Morning Sun” would fit on both albums with its slumbering melodies and rich, hypnotic voices. This type of harmony occurs throughout the album, but the goth rock passages work to enliven these songs.

Goth rock as the main course didn't work so well for Tiamat. The group started this phase with “Skeleton Skeletron” in 1999. However, when the group meshes goth rock with dreamy atmospherics, it arrives at a powerful dynamic. Tiamat probably won’t return to the death metal found on “Sumerian Cry,” but fans that discovered the group around “Wildhoney” should enjoy “The Scarred People.”

Highs: Dreamy soundscapes fused with keyboard heavy, dancy electroinic parts

Lows: More ambiance and less electronica could result in a better album.

Bottom line: Put this album on before bedtime or for dancing at your next party.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)