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Music / Tiamat

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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.
  • Bookends: Wildhoney opens with lyrics about jimsonweed and psilocybin mushrooms and ends with lyrics about LSD, just in case anyone was curious if the band had any chemical inspirations when writing the music. (For those unfamiliar, all three can be used as hallucinogens.)
  • Bungled Suicide: Played for very dark laughs in "So Much For Suicide"
    So much for suicide - lots of talk but you never tried
    A few pills short of a straight line - waking up, still feeling fine
  • 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 W.A.S.P. (Band), "Born to Die" by Lana Del Rey.
  • Creepy Children Singing: At the end of "Equinox of the Gods".
  • 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.
  • Gaia's Lament/Gaia's Vengeance: "Gaia" - it's right there in the title. Also qualifies as a Green Aesop, obviously.
  • Genre-Busting: Most of their post-Wildhoney music is hard to categorize. Has bits of pretty much everything. Wildhoney, for that matter, was fairly unique when it came out, though it helped kickstart the then-nascent genre of Progressive Death Metal, but it's not even strictly that; it's got elements of Gothic Metal and Doom Metal as well, for starters, not to mention Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Ambient, and several other genres.
  • Genre Shift: Death metal to progressive metal to gothic metal/rock.
  • Gothic Metal: Later material.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The stereo separation on Wildhoney is pretty trippy at times.
  • I Am the Band: Johan Edlund has been the only constant member of Tiamat.
  • Lighter and Softer: Judas Christ, much to some fans' dismay.
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Clouds closes with "Undressed" (7:10).
    • Wildhoney closes with "A Pocket Size Sun" (8:04)
    • Prey closes with "The Pentagram" (7:20).
  • Love Is Like Religion: "Wings Of Heaven".
    The wings of heaven are descending
    The touch of her naked skin's amending
    The skies will collide
    Only for a little while
    And it will take us through the night
  • 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: A lot of their lyrics are about this.
    • "Teonanacatl". The song's name means "Flesh of the Gods" and is what the Aztecs called hallucinogenic mushrooms.
    • "Whatever That Hurts" mentions psilocybin mushrooms and jimsonweed.
    • "A Pocket Size Sun" is about an LSD trip.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Johan Edlund, according to some interviews.
  • Non-Appearing Title: So prevalent in their music that it would be easier to list the songs in which there IS a Title Drop.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "Wings Of Heaven" mixes Love Is Like Religion and Intercourse with You with a bit of this:
    I'll be your master and I'll be your slave
  • 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.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: While all of Wildhoney uses Fading into the Next Song (apart from the break between album sides), the transition between "Whatever That Hurts" and "The Ar" is subtle enough that if you weren't listening for it, you probably wouldn't even notice they were separate songs.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Occasionally. "Brighter Than the Sun" is a good example, as is "Carry Your Cross..." Wildhoney has vocals that are about half sung and half screamed, though some are also in a strange mixture of screaming and singing (most of the vocals for "Visionaire" fall into this category). On the whole, more of the second side of the LP is more sung and more of the first side is screamed, but it's not 100% on either side.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: For a band known as a death metal band at the time, Wildhoney likely came as a surprise, as about half of it is Progressive Rock without any screaming or guitar distortion. This hasn't stopped the album from receiving a uniformly rapturous reception among audiences; it's the one album that fans of the band's old and new material can agree upon. This trope became less applicable to their later material, as these kinds of songs became more typical of the band's style.
  • 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.
  • 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.