Music / Tiamat

Tiamat is a Swedish metal band, considered one of the pioneers of both Gothic Metal and Progressive Death Metal.

Formed in 1988 as Treblinka, they changed their name to Tiamat in 1989 and released their debut album, Sumerian Cry, in 1990. After the release of this album (which was straight-up Death Metal), frontman Johan Edlund gradually changed the band's style, adding influences from Mercyful Fate, Candlemass, Pink Floyd and King Crimson, eventually culminating in Wildhoney, which was universally acclaimed for its mix of Progressive Rock and extreme metal (signalling the birth of a new subgenre pioneered by bands like Opeth).

After the release of A Deeper Kind of Slumber, Edlund relocated from Sweden to Germany and declared himself the only permanent member of the band; all albums that would follow would cement the band into a more gothic rock sound, quite different from the extreme music they did in the years before, with recent albums showing a The Sisters of Mercy influence.


  • Sumerian Cry - 1990
  • The Astral Sleep - 1991
  • Clouds - 1992
  • Wildhoney - 1994
  • A Deeper Kind of Slumber - 1997
  • Skeleton Skeletron - 1999
  • Judas Christ - 2002
  • Prey - 2003
  • Amanethes - 2008
  • The Scarred People - 2012

Associated Tropes:

  • Aleister Crowley: "The Pentagram"'s lyrics were lifted from Crowley's poem of the same name.
  • Bald of Awesome: Johan Edlund.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: They all have their quirks, but Johan Edlund stands out a bit more in this case. Case in point: when he composed a song for Ayreon, he sent it to Arjen Lucassen by humming the melody into his phone, while the answering machine was recording the message. He also claims to have jumped out a two story window, while being high on mushrooms and says that it was the happiest moment of his life (because the window wasn't so high up and he was relieved he didn't die).
  • Cover Version: "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones, "Sleeping (in the Fire)" by WASP, "Born to Die" by Lana Del Rey.
  • Death Metal: Early material.
    • Black Metal: Very early material (when the band name was Treblinka).
  • Epic Rocking: "A Pocket Sized Sun", "Undressed", "Mount Marilyn", "The Pentagram". The entire Wildhoney album could count as well, seeing as it's pretty much one continuous piece of music, with the only break being in-between the songs "Gaia" and "Visionaire".
  • Fading into the Next Song: used a lot in Wildhoney and somewhat in Amanethes.
  • Genre-Busting: Most of their post-Wildhoney music is hard to categorize. Has bits of pretty much everything.
  • Genre Shift: Death metal to progressive metal to gothic metal/rock.
  • Gothic Metal: Later material.
  • I Am the Band: Johan Edlund has been the only constant member of Tiamat.
  • Lighter and Softer: Judas Christ, much to some fans' dismay.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: They swing wildly across the scale from 4 (Judas Christ-era) to 9/10 (Sumerian Cry-era).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Depending on one's tastes, Johan was quite the sex symbol in the band's early days (the fact that he often performed shirtless helped...). Photographic evidence.
  • Mushroom Samba: "Teonanacatl", probably. The song's name means "Flesh of the Gods" and is what the Aztecs called hallucinogenic mushrooms, so...
  • Must Have Caffeine: Johan Edlund, according to some interviews.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Wildhoney and afterwards.
  • Non-Appearing Title: So prevalent in their music that a title phrase appearing in any given song is the exception rather than the rule.
  • Progressive Metal: Mainly Wildhoney, but it's still there on the other albums (excluding Sumerian Cry, which is straight-up old-school death metal).
  • Shirtless Scene: Johan. He often performs on live concerts this way.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Occasionally. "Brighter than the Sun" is a good example, as is "Carry Your Cross..."
  • Surreal Music Video: Most of them fall under this category.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Some songs (Prey is a good example) are quite simple in structure.
  • Tick Tock Tune: The beginning of the song Prey.
  • Wangst: "So Much For Suicide" mocks this.
  • Watch It Stoned: Most, if not all, of the band's output was heavily influenced by drugs.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Phantasma De Luxe" and "Mount Marilyn" are particularly notable examples.