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Tiamat: Judas Christ

Goth-metal artists Taimat's seventh studio album is a real charmer, honest. Having never listened to their previous work I decided to do a little research on this popular Swedish Goth-metal band before rendering my verdict. The opinion on the web seems to be unanimous... this album is the most upbeat album they've released to date. Upbeat? Most Goth metal to me makes Roger Waters work seem euphoric. Outside of Conception's 1998 release "Flow" (more power metal with a goth feel)I'm not a big fan of the genre. That being said I'm sure you're expecting a poor review of this disc. Wrong!

The fact is this album grew on me. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think it's a great disc. After several listens, Judas Christ brings to mind the influence of many goth artists like Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, even 80's rockers like Kingdom Come, The Cult, and Supertramp. Comparisons aside, this disc contains a collection of refreshing (if sometimes uneven) goth metal tunes.

On the cover Judas Christ is divided into four sections; spinea, tropic of venus, tropic of venus, tropic of capricorn and casidores. At first glance I was expecting a concept album, with a linear storyline. Instead the songs seem to be grouped in terms lightness or mood... arranged like the sun rising and setting. For instance, the brooding opener "The Return Of The Son of Nothing" is stacked next to the equally dark "So Much For Suicide" But what follows is a collection of catchy, melodic, even poppy, goth metal tunes. Judas Christ strongest points are in these lighter tunes midway through the album. Lyrically the songs always seem to be half-smiling and half-frowning at the same shines. A perpetual wink. It's singer, songwriter Johan Eldlund's dark, dread-filled delivery that gives contrast to the sometimes thoughtful and sometimes funny songs. "Heaven of High" is an clever look at the pains of addiction and self control while "I'm In Love With Myself" takes time to poke fun at vanity.

Production-wise this album also earns big points. The mix is smooth and richly produced. All the players are evenly heard. Songs like "Angel Holograms" and "Spine" are straight ahead, anthem- like rockers that really grab your attention. The breakout single" Vote For Love" could easily be a euro radio hit with its even pacing and chorus of female backup singers. Even in slower tunes, the mix of heavy guitars, pounding bass and soft synth pads never becomes too overbearing.

There are some low points. Edlund's monotone droning in some of the slower songs sometimes distracts away the deeper messages. After the third listen I was inclined to skip over anything that didn't seem to maintain a pulse. Despite that the album is still very strong. By the time Judas Christ ends with it's wispy finale "Too Far Gone" the listener is taken 360 degrees through the emotions behind love, life and loss.

Give this disc a spin and a few listens. Goth-metal or not, Tiamat's newest release might grow on you too.

Added: April 29th 2002
Reviewer: Grant Kikkert
Related Link: Tiamat's Official Website
Hits: 4798
Language: english

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