Few bands are as adventurous as Tiamat, and it seems also that few proceed with such apathy to external pressures to deliver a certain product. Traversing the ground from death metal to electronic to folk to heavy rock, Johan Edlund fronts a band that can always be safely described as experimental. AMANETHES, a Greek word that means a sort of requiem, is the most recent output, and, although, it is always hard to describe the type of music that Tiamat plays at any one time, it is perhaps best described as a perfect synthesis of all the moments from the band’s history that have brought them to this point.
Album opener, “The Temple of the Crescent Moon,” plays like homage to goth pioneers The Sisters of Mercy complete with subtle piano, cutting guitar leads, and a driving beat, topped off with an infectious chorus. “Equinox of the Gods” is a mostly heavy beast, featuring another memorable chorus line that centers around the lines “rise from the ashes and do it again,” something that this band is doing after a five year absence. The journey continues with “Until the Hellhounds Sleep Again,” a symphonic, doom track somewhat akin to a My Dying Bride tempo. “Will They Come?” is an incredibly sad and somber moment in the album, insisting an overwhelming melancholy on the listener. As the album progresses, this rise and fall of tempo and dialogue between anger and sadness continues, drowning one in gothic keyboards, then resurrecting you back again to be pummeled with walls of dark and heavy guitars. The direct slow rock of “Misantropolis” is an essential moment to be visited again and again, and the trippy Pink Floyd-styled “Meliae” is a beautiful number that soothes. Finally, things conclude with the album’s most down-trodden song, “Amanes.”
AMANETHES is not an album to be digested in one listen, but it is one that will have an impact on you immediately, suggesting a tapestry of emotions perfectly fitted for our modern age of unrest. For the best listening experience, turn down the lights, close out the trivialities of your day, and lay down to let it seep into you. You may find it a fitting soundtrack for life’s most frustrating times.
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