Tiamat – Wildhoney

   1994 Century Media

The best testimony to the greatness of this Tiamat album is the fact that people I know who aren’t fans of heavy music (much less heavy, dark metal) liked this disc.  It is by all means heavy and dark, but the classical elements and orchestration are absolutely breathtaking, this being the first recording I ever heard that I felt paid tribute the symphonic elements of Celtic Frost’s monumental ‘Into the Pandemonium’.

The opening title track builds on a symphonic and almost operatic arrangement that melds darkly and strangely with the heavy guitars and abrasive vocals.  ‘Whatever That Hurts’ and ‘Gaia’ are a couple of high points, while “Do You Dream of Me?” and “Planets” bring to light a darkly romantic otherworldliness that permeates every second of music here.

7 years prior, Celtic Frost released the classic and seminal Into the Pandemonium, wherein they were the first of the dark/death metal bands to incorporate female operatic vocals, symphonic elements and sheer gothic drama into their music.  I’ve always felt that CF never got the credit they deserved for their innovation, but rest assured their influence is evident with releases like this.  And I mean that as a definite compliment to Tiamat, as they’ve taken that innovation and woven their own tapestry-like masterpiece in their own unique way.    From the dramatic background voices (think of the intro to This Corrosion by Sisters of Mercy) to the arrangement and orchestration of the music, this is a deep, challenging and truly unique listen.

It’s hard to describe, really, Tiamat creating a truly magic atmosphere on this disc which is widely regarded by fans as their very best.   They offered something different from their inception, ‘Wildhoney’ being the culmination of years honing their sound into something heavy beyond the mere heavy distortion of their guitars.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5