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The 1992 album Clouds was another major step in the quick sonic evolution of Tiamat, as the band continued to scale back their death metal roots while pursuing more conventional song structures. Songwriting contributions from new bassist Johnny Hagel take some of the load off vocalist Johan Edlund, whose improving English-speaking skills and raspy but clear intonations finally let listeners appreciate his esoteric lyrics. Every song on Clouds is distinct in its own way, but it doesn't get much better than "In a Dream" and "The Sleeping Beauty," both of which combine delicate acoustic guitars with crushing riffs and atmospheric keyboards. These same elements are mixed and matched in surprising fashion on "Smell of Incense," "The Scapegoat," and "Forever Burning Flames." The epic "Undressed" closes the album with similar inventiveness and points toward the future.

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