Review: Tiamat - The Scarred People

Band: Tiamat
Album: "The Scarred People"
Style: Gothic Metal
Release date: 2012-10-26
Origin: Sweden

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

The good old Swedes in Tiamat are back with a new album, more than four years after the band's latest offering "Amanethes" (2008) - which in turn came five years after "Prey" (2003). So to say that the band are in a hurry is to overstate things. Thankfully, mastermind Johan Edlund & co. makes the most out of this long absence and (mostly) gives us quality over quantity.

Tiamat has always been something of a musical chameleon, constantly changing something on each new album. But this time, the surprises aren't actually that many. Instead, there's something of a familiar feeling all throughout the duration of "The Scarred People". We get the gothic uptempo/pop-ish parts from "Judas Christ" (2002), the surrealistic prog-like moments from "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" (1997), some heavy, dreamlike doom-ish crunches á la "Wildhoney" (1994) and "Clouds" (1992) and even some country- and blues-influences that sounds weirdly out of place at first listen. I would say that on a whole - "The Scarred People" sounds like a combination of "Judas Christ" and "A Deeper Kind of Slumber", which in my book is a damn good grade.

Tiamat 2012: Lars Skjöld, Anders Iwers, Johan Edlund & Roger Öjersson
The first five tracks are all equally impressing in their own way - from the uptempo soon-to-be-classic title track (which is impossible not to stomp your foot along to), to the ballad-like drug trip that "The Sun Also Rises" is. Another thing which might be familiar to long-time listeners of the band, are those goddamn annoying instrumentals - here represented by "Before Another Wilbury Dies" and "Tiznit". Think "Kite" and "Diyala" from earlier albums and you know what I mean. Pointless, but thankfully it doesn't destroy the flow of the album. And that is one thing that "The Scarred People" succeeds in, whereas "Amanethes" failed utterly; the ability to flow along, leaving the listener in a cozy state of mind where Tiamat are gods.

Lyrically, Edlund does his usual thing; ranging from funny stuff:
"In Hamburg suburbia
With a girl from Serbia
With all God's crystal methedrine
And a train to take me back to Berlin

All was spoken, all was done
And a little swedish lady came along"
to Bob Dylan-thefts:
"The times they're a changing"
to his usual downright embarrasing lines:
"Make your wishes, put your spell
But don't fuck with my hell"
If you've heard anything from the band's back catalogue from 10-15 years back, this shouldn't really come as a surprise. It's there because it's Tiamat basically.

I am actually having a hard time trying to find anything negative to say about this album and I am truly surprised that the guys managed to craft such an impressive album. I think that the new guitarist/keyboardist/mandolin-player Roger Öjersson must have been a real vitamin-injection for the band -  he's also written a good deal of these new songs. Perhaps he is that something that, in my opinion, has been missing since "A Deeper Kind of Slumber". It sound like a new, revitalized Tiamat whom has not only managed to write a couple of really strong songs - but also sounds like as if they have had a lot of fun whilst doing it.


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