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Tiamat - Wildhoney (Reissue) Award winner

Wildhoney (Reissue)
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 19 December 2019, 4:56 AM

In the middle of the 90’s, the age of the Second Death Metal Invasion was losing its earlier strength and losing ground for the coming of the Black Metal reign. But this fact had a strange effect on the Doom Death Metal scene: the aggressiveness started to give space for experimental inserts and even the use of Gothic Rock and Progressive Rock elements appeared (and some used Industrial elements as well). Many bands entered in this way, some to come back to their earlier musical ways in some years, and others embraced the change. So it’s not so difficult to understand what was happening with the Swedish band TIAMAT back on 1994, when “Wildhoney” came to the light of the day. It became a cult classic release into the underground scene, and the Brazilian label Cold Art Industry Records created a 25th anniversary edition to celebrate.

As everyone knows, the band was reduced to a duet during the recording time, using many session musicians to fill its ranks. And “Wildhoney” shows to be not only a continuity of the band’s previous albums (in the sense that from simple Doom Death Metal days of “Sumerian Cry” and “The Astral Sleep”, but that started to show changes during “Clouds” days), but a lysergic voyage that fuses Doom Death Metal with Progressive Rock traces and some Gothic Rock touches. In few words, it seems that the band’s music bloomed after “Clouds” (that as written above, presented some changes, but still was a Doom Death Metal album in its essence), a courageous step that they did. And it created a true masterpiece that, even today, didn’t lose its shine. It’s heavy and done with very good contrasts (as “Whatever That Hurts” shows perfectly in the changes between Progressive/Gothic parts with aggressive moments permeated with some World Music melodies), technically solid and musically mature.

The band’s lead, Johan Edlund, back then, was unhappy with the result of the production of “Clouds”, so he started to do something with Waldemar Sorychta, who produced the album on Woodhouse Studio. And the support of Siggi Bemm as sound engineer and of DMS on the mastering created a perfect sound quality. It bears weight and aggressiveness on the due moments, but it’s clear and everything can be understood. A great work for those days, indeed. The art deserves applause: it was entirely done in varnished paper, keeping some elements from the classic version, but with a different view. And the charming slipcase was a great idea, indeed. See for yourselves:

“Wildhoney” wasn’t released to be a classic, but it became as time passed by. It’s an album ahead of its time, and many bands that are commercially successful drank for it until the point of exhaustion. And songs as the introspective and dense “Whatever That Hurts” (very good contrasts, and excellent vocals, both on clean Gothic moments ass on aggressive grunts), the rich keyboards’ parts on “The Ar”, “Gaia” and its dense Progressive ambiances (fine bass guitar and keyboards arrangements), the weaving melodic appeal of “Visionaire” (a clear touch of melancholy arises from the melodic lines), the deeper Progressive acoustic voyage called “Do You Dream of Me?”, and the mix between Progressive Rock influences with Gothic melodies of “A Pocket Size Sun” (clean guitars, female voices, technical bass guitar and solid drums are presented on this song, creating the right lysergic ambiance for it).

And even the instrumental songs “Wildhoney”, “25th Floor”, “Kaleidoscope”, and “Planets” play an important whole on the conception of the album, and can be left aside. But this “Wildhoney” version has some surprises, as it brings the songs from EP “Gaia”: the video edition for “Gaia” (obviously shorter than the original), “The Ar” (the same thing: a shorter version for radio programs), the cover for PINK FLOYD’s instrumental “When You’re In”, a short version for “Whatever That Hurts” (for the video, because the TV programs wouldn’t exhibit videos that last more than 4 minutes), the chaotic Industrial mix for “The Ar” (for those who don’t know, Electronic Music in such form was a success on Europe back on the 90’s, so it could reach a broader public), and a longer version for “Visionaire” (where the song was remixed).

“Wildhoney” represented the end of an age for TIAMAT, and a great number of the band’s fans (including this writer) think that it’s their finest moment, because as Progressive Rock essence grew more and more, the following releases didn’t presented the same strength and avant-garde courage.  Hear it, buy it, because “Wildhoney” is really a classic in the deeper essence of the word.

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Wildhoney (instrumental)
2. Whatever That Hurts
3. The Ar
4. 25th Floor (instrumental)
5. Gaia
6. Visionaire
7. Kaleidoscope (instrumental)
8. Do You Dream of Me?
9. Planets (instrumental)
10. A Pocket Size Sun
11. Gaia (Video Edit)
12. The Ar (Radio Cut)
13. When You're In (Pink Floyd cover) (instrumental)
14. Whatever That Hurts (Video Edit)
15. The Ar (Ind. Mix)
16. Visionaire (Remixed Long Form Version)
Johan Edlund - Vocals, Guitars
Johnny Hagel - Bass
Lars Sköld - Drums (session)
Magnus Sahlgren - Lead Guitars (session)
Waldemar Sorychta - Keyboards (session)
Birgit Zacher - Additional Vocals (session)
Record Label: Cold Art Industry Records


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