"Sumerian Cry", "The Astral Sleep", "Clouds", "Wildhoney", "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber", "Skeleton Skeletron", "Judas Christ", "Prey". After 13 years TIAMAT can already look back on a quite remarkable series of albums, which's musical evolution is pretty remarkable as well. Originally founded under the very tasteless name of TREBLINKA, the band around mastermind Johan Edlund almost since their very beginning were either ahead of their time or just genre defining. After the back then pretty unique melodic Death Metal of "Clouds" 1992 it's been especially their ground breaking "Wildhoney" album 1994 that forever changed Metal and more or less built the foundation for Gothic Metal. On the albums after this TIAMAT at times looked like a chameleon, continuously changing their colours, but basically still staying the same entity. After "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber" had hit many fans very unprepared, they managed to make up lost ground up to last year's "Judas Christ".
"Prey" is called a mix of the past four albums, but still as a step forward. I personally would call it "Wildhoney" goes Gothic Rock, because despite the relatively aggressive title the album has turned out pretty calm. Opener "Cain" starts with bird's chirping (immediately making the connection to "Wildhoney") and after that brings us melancholic guitars and Edlund's deep, relaxing voice, with the so very unique TIAMAT mood in the background. Very moody, not heavy, definitely no Metal, but with a depth, warmth and maturity that draws you in before you notice what hit you.
After the short instrumental "Ten Thousand Tentacles" TIAMAT lead us deeper into their very own world of melancholic Gothic Rock, a description that does only partly fit, because of the original sound of TIAMAT, but still most probably comes closest to reality. The atmosphere and especially Johan Edlund's characteristic and charismatic voice does not even leave the slightest trace of a doubt which band you are just listening to and even though TIAMAT never had been roaming these regions so exclusively, it still is a logical evolution after "Judas Christ".
Some might feel reminded of the "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber" album, but do not fear, the Swedes do not fall into the same unusual tracks, but stay true to themselves all through this album, very calm and relaxing, which most probably won't hook fans of the earlier TIAMAT, but nobody can deny the incredible catchiness of a "Carry Your Cross And I'll Carry Mine" (with female vocal support) or the excellent and intense "Clovenhoof", just like the epicism of a "Nihil". Closing "The Pentagram", based upon a poem of Aleister Crowley, musically reminds me a lot of PINK FLOYD at times, with a very intense atmosphere, strong closer.
I think that as TIAMAT fan you have grown used to the unpredictability of the band and I guess that they will stay like that. "Prey" is a very calm album as we have not heard it from TIAMAT before, but it still is typical for the band and once more shows the outstanding class of Johan Edlund as visionary composer. So do not approach "Prey" with the expectation to be blown away by heaviness, but openly and if you manage that, you will be rewarded with a through and through strong album! (Online December 30, 2003)