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I have been a long time Tiamat listener/fan. While I completely respect the early work for its groundbreaking death/doom qualities, I still find it overly simplistic and really only good for an occasional listen. Like many Wildhoney was the the real breakthrough album for me. The next album was highly anticipated and did not disappoint, creating a pinnacle for the band, even though it moved a little further away from their metal roots and more into atmospheric genius.
The next 3 albums for me never restored the high of ADKoS. They were a similar branded doomy goth rock and each had some very great moments, but each also failed as an album that I would spin all the way through. I basically took the 3-4 really good songs off of each an moved into a playlist, while the rest of the albums were a bunch of monotonous tunes left to fade away.
My expectations for Amanethes were pretty much the same. I can say I was pleasantly surprised. The album for me is a complete listen. The goth elements are still there, the doomy elements remain, and what returns is a metal edginess that just catches you right from the start. Right away with "temple of the Crescent Moon" and equinox of the Gods" you get a heavier dose of Tiamat and a raspiness in Johan's vocals that don't quite restore the death growls of the past, but definitely more aggressive than anything since Wildhoney.
Layered in the background throughout the album are subtle synths and layered backing vocals that keep the atmospheric elements that have made the highlights of the past few albums more enjoyable.
There are a few songs that fit the mold of the past few albums. More goth inspired rock tunes with almost pop-ish elements, but in Amanethes they seem to bring n heavier elements into the chorus and just overall have a better fit for the album. Instead of filler, they act as transition elements.
Highlights of the album are definitely the slower "Misantropolis" and its overall emotional feel and "Via Dolorosa" with its bombastic swings from acoustic goth to some of the heavier moments in Tiamat's recent history.
What Amanethes ultimately delivers for me is a journey that is best experienced from start to finish and encompasses all of the elements this band has delivered for 15 years.
I’m not into gothic metal too much, as I find many of the female fronted bands to be generic imitations of one another, so my measuring stick for the genre is Type O Negative, and they don’t play by the standard. Type O Negative sets the standard it by doing whatever comes naturally, which tends to become the next step in gothic metal. As it stands, “Amanethes” stands out by being a heavier and quicker gothic metal album, with boot-stomp drums running all over you or snare drums smacking you like a wet piece of bamboo, and crunchy guitars biting you like steel traps. Slows songs like “Until The Hellhounds Sleep Again” conjure up newer Celtic Frost with the almost talk-like singing and an orchestrated backing. Most of the time though, vocalist/guitarist prefers to make his voice a bit more sandy and rough.
There’s a generalized air of 80’s and 90’s gothic metal mixed together with those of synth touches and industrial hints, and it’s this atmosphere the band needs to rely on, as I didn’t find any one song to be incredibly catchy or inviting. Even though I’ve never heard Tiamat before, this album does feel a little like the band are going through some motions, especially as the album gets close to the end. Still, I would imagine that Tiamat in general shakes up the general standards from the horde of other bands who are only manufactured for mass consumption.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com