Label: Metal MAO records - MET-2004-999 • Format: Cassette Album, Unofficial Release • Country: Russia • Genre: Rock • Style: Death Metal, Doom Metal, Goth Rock
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. What is this? A cocktail of doom and black metal, of pop and gothic? The kitschy artwork is a first warning, but due to whatever reason, the pretty questionable mixture works. Tiamat's unsteady discography does not only consist of highlights, to say the least. But despite its somewhat sticky appearance, "Clouds" has a lot of charisma. The first thing that becomes obvious is the very simple and mostly surpassingly catchy configuration of the eight tracks.
On the one hand, already the opener is almost painfully simple, on the other hand, nobody who has listened to the album will ever forget again the concise chorus of "In a Dream". Of course, it is a little bit annoying that the titles are filled with keywords that indicate a somewhat romantic or even saccharine approach.
Dream, clouds, caress, stars, beauty, flames Anyway, inter alia the more or Forced Gender Reassingment - Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity rough voice prevents an overly sweet impression. An emotional track like "A Caress of Stars" feeds the hunger of the costumed gothic clowns and belongs to Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds rather mediocre numbers, but all in all, Tiamat avoid embarrassing details and even the aforementioned track holds a more or less metallic guitar melody line at the end.
By the way, a pretty decent melody. Yet it cannot compete with the totally simple and catchy "The Sleeping Beauty". Both its verses and its chorus shine with glorious simplicity. Moreover, the drum performance with the prominent snare is almost ridiculous, Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds - it is almost a mystery - the song works very well.
The phenomenon of "In a Dream" reappears: once you have heard this chorus, it will stick in your mind eternally. Even if you hate it, you will not get rid of it. Yes, the Swedes have written some great tunes, inter alia "Smell of The Renegades (13) - Knocking On My Door / Too Young To Live and the title track, but they run out of ideas after "The Sleeping Beauty".
I admit that the combination of soft background choirs, playful sections, short speed parts and meaningful harmonies still results in solid or almost good pieces "The Scapegoat"even though the back vocals of a legion of celestial creatures in "Forever Under Flames" is nearly unbearable.
One thing is for sure, the quality of the previous highlights remains untouched. Doubtlessly, Johan Edlund still delivers passionate vocals and the well-dosed heaviness does not disappear. Although the pop elements of the record cannot be ignored, this is no pop album.
Nevertheless, it seems as if it is not easy to compose songs that score mostly with musical primitiveness. One does not need many words to describe this well produced album, because its advantages and disadvantages are really obvious.
Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds needs to invest much time in order to find out whether she or he likes the album or not. Its essence is not hidden under many layers, the opposite is true. You will enjoy the cocktail or spit it out immediately. Caught somewhere between The Astral Sleep 's lucid, dreamlike brilliance and Wildhoney's not-very-good-ness one finds Clouds betwixt stars and shite. By the time this album came around, Tiamat had lessened their riff quota per song and slowed down somewhat but there's still plenty for a What Do I Get?
- Various - The Best Punk Album In The World.Ever! to revel in here. Most of the black metal and speedier touches had been dropped by this point, but a lot of the winning formula remains intact. What strikes me first of all about Clouds is that it's not quite as strident and powerful as its predecessor; the production, keyboards and vocals all seem a touch weaker. But this is not really much of a criticism as it only goes to reinforce just how strong The Astral Sleep was. The production is a bit more typically early s; the drums are a bit more elastic sounding especially the kicks and the keyboards sound cheaper strangely so, as the budget was probably higher this time around.
Perhaps the most distinctive and unsettling thing about the album are Edlund's vocals: he sounds deeper than Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds previous album and it's not such a good thing.
I think they fit the mood of the album but it took me a long time to get used to these vocals. Still, I managed to warm up to the vocals here and now I quite like them; it sounds like Johan's in some trance-like state as the smell of incense not incest, careful is taking him high.
Generally, the songs here are of a similar feel. There's a lot less variation when compared to the previous album. Most of the songs here occupy a solid mid-tempo; they're a little Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds in a sort of Paradise Lost-esque vein. The writing is largely of a similar high quality, though, and there Deutsche Skinheads - Oidoxie - Weiß & Rein some of the band's most beloved songs here.
Still, it demonstrates the slight flaws this album has - there are many great ideas, but they don't quite come together in the same magical way. It lacks the same momentum and grace, whilst still being very good in its own right. Still, you can't say that this album doesn't have its highlights and 'The Sleeping Beauty' is one of those with good reason. For me, it seems like the band had certainly lent an ear to Slayer's creepy, slower moments on South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss and it seems like they've borrowed a lot of Jeff Hanneman's ideas and distilled them into a strange, doomy number.
Lyrically, too, it works well; Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds tale of despair, alcohol and longing for death could have been lifted straight from Poe especially given the focus on those wonderful dead and dying women who are worshipped with a godlike fervour by those wild-eyed men. It's probably the (I Can´t Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones - Live Glastonbury!
Festival 2013 (DVD) successful song on the album. From this point on the album is probably less instant, but nonetheless there's a lot to enjoy. Take 'Forever Burning Flames' for example whose verses sound like Tony Martin era Black Sabbath it must be the big drums and ethereal keys and yet the chorus takes quite a different approach.
It's quite funny for me, because the accent sounds quite a lot like a Geordie who happened to end up guesting on a Swedish album. Still, despite my grumbling you can safely pick this one up. I've honestly not got much to complain about at all and the material here has certainly won over a lot of people. It's just that what they did before was brilliant were this is simply quite good.
Well, if you loved The Astral Te Amaré De Mil Maneras - Betty Missiego - Tan Solo Una Mujer you'll probably find a lot to like here.
I certainly did. In fact, I hope my appreciation grows into adoration — it hasn't happened yet, mind — as we could all use another classic album for when we are inevitably marooned on some desert island. Seriously though, I don't know what drugs were floating around in Hurt - Nine Inch Nails - Nassau 95 in the early 90s, but clearly it was some of the best shit available anywhere.
While at first glance this album may seem subpar - and, let's face it, we all know the reason is Edlund's vocal delivery, which sounds like a learning disabled troll with laryngitis - I feel once you get past that fact, it's really quite something, both innovative and masterful. Hell, I'll say it - I think it's Tiamat's best album, and there are quite a few good ones to choose from.
While it's not as immediate as Prey or Amanethesas unusual and drug-induced as Wildhoneynor as unabashedly heavy and dirty as Sumerian Cryit has its own unique charm that has kept me coming back to it over the years. Now, what possessed him to choose to make his delivery sound like a cross between a year-old chain smoker and a retarded hippopotamus, as I'm sure all of you who've heard the album are wondering, I've no idea, but somehow it works in the context of the album, like Tim Baker in Cirith Ungol or Mark Shelton in Manilla Road not that I think Shelton would necessarily be bad in another act, but many do think so and he is quite an esoteric vocalist.
The songs that have fewer synths and mystical elements "Smell of Incense" especially may also make the album seem sort of pieced together - and I will be the first to say that those less-mystical tracks aren't among the best here, but they still don't detract from the experience much for me. After some number of listens, Edlund's vocals began to strike me more as ragged and desperate than as hoarse and retarded, even though I still recognize the quality is there.
And that quality really works here, I think. Would the album be better with a vocal performance more along the lines of Wildhoneyor perhaps a more standard lower-pitched death growl? It's difficult to say, although I think the latter would take away some of the unique magic of the album. Whatever might be better though - even if it seems like Edlund is intentionally making himself sound worse here - I really think the performance works.
Maybe not as well as it could, maybe not even as well as it should have, but still it does all the same. The lyrics here, as they often do with the band, straddle the line between damn cool and goofy as fuck, but I think they usually manage to stay on the "damn Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds side. Even those that are undeniably goofy tend to make me grin like a schoolboy. I'm not sure whether Edlund took this stuff seriously or was trying to be somewhat farcical himself, but either way I still love it.
There are some lyrics that speak to me on a pretty deep level as well, and they could definitely be construed as cheesy - perhaps I would even construe them that way if the album weren't so nostalgic for me - but the line "As a star to light Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds way, to where we are, not led astray Overall, the album has a couple of songs that fail to rise above mild enjoyability, but there are enough strong and interesting tracks here to make it a very worthwhile experience.
The first few albums from this Swedish act were decent slabs of death and doom, but Clouds is the true turning point Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds their career; where it became clear they were destined for so much Analogy 4 - Christian Fiesel - Analogy. It may not have the psychedelic, crushing weight of its successor Wildhoney nor the abstract brilliance of A Deeper Kind of Slumber, but in its day, Clouds was a pretty monumental effort.
As soon as "In a Dream" opens with its somber acoustic guitars and ambient synthesizers, you know you are in for a trip. The crushing guitars of its verse perfectly elevate Edlund's vocals to their brutal best, and the melodies and organs create the beautiful evocation of true mystique. The smell of incense takes me high! Hedlun's whisper of on my head, in my heart and my blood is supple and sensual.
Love the masculine gang chorus. I for one would love to have Edlund start a pure death metal band at some point. Then I turn to you Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds say I worship Lucifer! This was pretty classic material, it possessed a lot more ambition than Sumerian Cry or The Astral Sleep and I was quite taken with it. I still am. I've always been a Tiamat fan, even in their more openly gothic phase way ahead of this, but it's the trio of Clouds, Wildhoney Steady On Threes - The Bigger Lovers - How I Learned To Stop Worrying A Deeper Kind of Slumber that the band will always be legendary for.
And if you're named for a draconic Babylonian sea goddess, you've got quite the legend to live up to. The capital word for this album is "simplicity". Simplicity at its best. It's in the Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds structures, in the lyrics, in the production which is very good, "Clouds" it's actually the first Tiamat album that has a pretty good and clear sound.
Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, no intricacies — everything is straight. The music is based on the rhythmic section: simple and very heavy riffs and most Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds all, some very powerful drums. From the beginning Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds the end, the album is completely under the sign of the drums "The Sleeping Beauty", for example, has a tremendous drums opening.
The album is not eterogenous though: it has a certain unity which is given especially by the overall atmosphere. The atmosphere is brought by the keyboards parts, which are, again, simple, but very effective: the music of the album gives the listener a strange sensation, Various - 10 Years Of Techno Act.
2 sometimes is overwhelming and tormenting. The vocals adds a lot to this Clouds - Tiamat - Clouds sensation: they are agonical, like coming from the depths of the throat and from the depths of hell itself. Some of the songs contains vocal parts sung by multiple voices, even choirs like the female choir on the last track, "Undressed".
The lyrics are often very simple the theme is the usual mystic oneshort verses with simple rhymes, that fit in the simple structure of the songs verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Guitar solo's are quite rare sometimes replaced by acoustic guitarsbut the songs are made in such a way that the listener doesn't feel their absence.
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