Tiamat - Amanethes

“It’s been five long years of thunder, lightning and rain. So cold, so hard without you, but tonight we’re coming through…” So sings Tiamat’s vocalist/guitarist Johan Edlund on the opening song “The Temple of The Crescent Moon” of their latest and ninth work entitled “Amanethes”. It’s almost like an autobiographical theme for the last five years of the Swedes career, whose previous release “Prey” dates exactly from 2003 and judging by its anguished and tense ambience it’s adequate to believe it hasn’t been the smoothest five years for the band.
During the absence of a new Tiamat release, its main composer Johan Edlund have made a sabbatical move from the cosmopolitan Germany to the mythological Greece and it was perhaps the incredible surroundings of Ancient Greece’s rich archaeology that invigorated Edlund to write an album way heavier and harsher that anything the band have released since the classic “Wildhoney”. It was an extremely pleasant surprise to see Tiamat moving towards a more Metal/Gothic-Rock hybrid and shying away a bit more from the dirgy and somehow anaemic moments of Edlund’s pop/psychedelic compositions, but it’s no return to those early times though. “Amanethes” is best described as a reflection of all the periods of Tiamat’s musical evolution, as it possesses all the traits we have grown to expect from them.
Listen for example to the aforementioned “The Temple Of The Crescent Moon”, it displays that Gothic-Rock streak characteristic of “Skeleton Skeletron”, but in a faster pace and heavier tone, drummer Lars Sk├Âld even has the rare opportunity to blast through his bass drums during the memorable chorus. Another perfectly audible change is the voice of Edlund, which adopts a gruffer style on several occasions masterfully adapting to the various moods and demands of “Amanethes”.
Following theme “Equinox of the Gods” starts with a raw almost Black-Metal in sound riffing that might initially hint at the Treblinka-era, but it’s essentially a song that embodies the stylistics of their third album “Clouds”, that is dark, abrasive and angry. The menacing “Raining Dead Angels” is also a song that harks back to those days, with Edlund spewing out pure vile.
Songs like “Until the Hellhounds Sleep Again” and “Will They Come?" witness a return to the slow-paced, slumberous Gothicism of “A Deeper Kind of Slumber”, perhaps their most psychedelic period and even though the influence of Pink Floyd has not the same strength as on the aforementioned album it can still be heard on several moments of “Amanethes”, especially the gentle and acoustically-driven “Meliae”.
The mighty and diverse “Lucienne” is also worthy of note, especially since it has a certain Type O’ Negative flair to it, mostly on the vocal department that fluidly sifts from a deep, grieving gruff to an almost spoken, brooding tone.
Bringing together the strands of past releases, “Amanethes” is a welcome return to form and proves that Tiamat can still be relevant in today’s scene. (7/10)

Band info: www.myspace.com/tiamat
Label info: www.nuclearblast.de