It’s a clear understatement to say that I had great hopes for this release. Tiamat has been one of my absolute favourite acts in the gothic and darkwave genres for several years, and their latest album "Judas Christ" was a kick ass album.
"Prey" does not disappoint me. From start to end it is actually almost as good as its predecessor - and in some aspects better. The influences from Sisters of Mercy and Pink Floyd is just as visible (just listen to "Love in Chains" and try not to think about "Vision Thing"). But that’s OK. Edlund and his bandmates are no copycats. Instead, they have made a natural progression through the years, incorporating their influences and made them an integrated part of their own sound.
When I reviewed "Judas Christ" I wrote that Tiamat had concentrated down all their experiences from the previous records into one, almost perfect, piece of harder goth rock. That is true this time around too, albeit this piece of goth rock is a little softer. In a nearly seamless effort the songs flow into each other, giving "Prey" an almost organic unity. The effect is both compelling and soothing, making it difficult to pick out favourite tunes. If I try anyway, "You Carry Your Cross and I’ll Carry Mine" - a haunting duet with a female vocalist, already mentioned "Love in Chains", hard-hitting single song "Cain", cute "Wings of Heaven" duet "Divided" and "The Pentagram" - actually based on a poem by Crowley and given green light by The Order of the Golden Dawn themselves - stand out in the crowd.
"Prey" actually feels like an even more positive album than "Judas Christ", although I haven’t been able to find an equivalent to the humorous Huxley-nod on "Love Is as Good as Soma" on this one. It also has a more consistent and unified feel, which is both a strength and a weakness. You find yourself almost wishing for something different, calmer or heavier from time to time. "Prey" is almost to even for it’s own good.
But hey, that’s not really something to complain about. Not when you’re listening to an album, full of melodies and nice harmonies, sounding at times like the natural step after "Wildhoney".
Then - the avid reader wonders - why not a higher grade? Well, my faithful one, I will tell you: Whereas "Judas Christ" was a great leap forward for Tiamat, "Prey" is more of a twin-album to its predecessor - making it less impressive in that respect.
But don’t worry. I was not disappointed. You won’t be either.