The Scarred People
It takes a while to get into any new Tiamat record. No matter how well you know the band's back catalogue, each new release seems oddly understated, somehow tamer than the album before. It's an illusion, of course; Tiamat's pace has been slow for a long time now, more lackadaisical goth rock than doomy metal, and The Scarred People fits, rather than breaks, the pattern. Weaving through the narrow range between eerie and catchy, songs like "384 — Kteis" and "Radiant Star" capture the twin facets of the laidback Tiamat groove. This usual dynamic is offset by the occasional blast of amped-up rock'n'roll (like short instrumental "Before Another Wilbury Dies") and even a slight country twang ("Messinian Letter," which is a little jarring, if not entirely unprecedented). It's the lively and seductive numbers, such as "Love Terrorists" and "Thunder & Lightning," which give The Scarred People its energy, but ultimately it's the album closers (bonus additions aside) that make the most lingering impact. A sweet and unanticipated acoustic interlude leads into the moody and carefully restrained intensity of "The Red of the Morning Sun," and as the album ends, it feels like Tiamat walked away when things were really getting good.
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