“The Scarred People” is the tenth album by Swedish gothic metal titans Tiamat and sees the band sticking closer to the eerie, windswept atmospherics of their late-90s material than the heavier feel of previous album “Amanethes”. The opening title track rocks along at a nifty pace and features a nice melodic hook that is played over with keyboards and then echoed with monk-like chanting, firmly putting you in that dark, blasphemous place where Tiamat seem to work best.
The greasy rock swagger continues on into ‘Winter Dawn’ in a way that wouldn’t sound out of place amongst Paradise Lost’s “Symbol of Life”-era material, but the slow-paced gloom that the band often trade in returns for ‘384 – Kteis’, a swirling mix of gothic synths, subtle piano, thick guitars and singer Johan Edlund’s mournful croon. ‘The Sun Also Rises’ also brings the atmospherics to the forefront with some acoustic plucking and a vocal melody that reminds of Type O Negative at their most accessible.
The pace is upped a little after the instrumental work-out of ‘Before Another Wilbury Dies’ with the horribly-titled ‘Love Terrorists’ throwing in some electronic effects before bringing things back down for the ballad-esque ‘Messinian Letter’ which, despite the sentimental lyrics and power-ballad dynamics, sounds relatively upbeat and positive.
Much like their British contemporaries Paradise Lost, Tiamat are a band that never make the same album twice in a row and “The Scarred People” is certainly a different beast from “Amanethes”. The full drum sound and loaded guitar solos bring the hard rock feel that has been creeping into their sound over the last few albums but the multi-layered production and melodic choruses might not sit well with people expecting a return to their more deathly roots. However, it is a strong album and although it’s probably too early to tell where it sits amongst their back-catalogue the signs look good for it to be up there amongst their best work.