Wildhoney [2 Discs]


(CD - Century (Japan) / EMI #776808)

Review by Eduardo Rivadavia

Not even Tiamat's previous achievements and accelerated evolutionary pace could have prepared fans and critics for the unbelievable sounds contained in the band's fourth album, 1994's groundbreaking Wildhoney. The album elevated the group's combination of lingering death metal roots and ambient soundscapes to unparalleled heights of invention. Not necessarily a concept album in the lyrical sense, the record still operates as a virtually seamless aural experience, as tracks are often grouped into extended suites. The sounds of a running stream and chirping birds (actually the 30-second title track) introduce "Whatever That Hurts," which effortlessly shifts from its slow, massive riff to a surprisingly beautiful melody, each section topped with Johan Edlund's death metal grunting and gentle whispering vocals, respectively. "The Ar" follows, yielding another huge midpace riff and some angelic choruses before giving way to the industrial grind of "25th Floor." "Gaia" and "Visionaire" pretty much stand on their own, but each displays a bevy of contrasting elements, ranging between heavy and light, which make them just as remarkable. "Kaleidoscope" opens the next suite with a delicate acoustic guitar playing over the sound of falling rain, and is followed by "Do You Dream of Me?" perhaps the album's creative zenith. The song's ethereal quality owes much to its intertwining keyboard and guitar lines, not to mention Edlund's most singsong performance ever, and merges directly into the spacy feel of the instrumental guitar piece "Planets." The eight-minute "A Pocket Size Sun" takes a slight dip in quality but is hardly disappointing, and is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd.

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