I must admit that, prior to receiving this DVD for review, I had never heard the music of, or ever seen the band Tiamat. They sure as hell were one interesting band to research. It turns out that Tiamat have been around since the late 80s and released their debut album Sumerian Cry in 1990. The band's early sound was pretty much straight-forward death metal and front man Johan Edlund stuck mostly to the growling vocal style that is common for the genre.
With each subsequent album the band's style progressed significantly, adding more atmospheric keyboards, clean guitars, and Edlund showcasing a Peter Steele-like breathy baritone to replace most of the satanic growling. The 1994 epic Wildhoney was a major turning point for the band, displaying a new sound that might best be described as symphonic black metal. Think death metal meets Pink Floyd. Tiamat's sound continued to progress over the next few albums and you could start to hear more elements of goth and alternative rock, which made their later music remind me more of the Mission UK, or Love-era Cult.
Church Of Tiamat was recorded at Krzemionki TV Studio in Krakow, Poland, on January 13th, 2005 and showcases the band performing a 15-song set that sticks mostly to their three most recent albums, Skeleton Skeletron, Judas Christ, and Prey. The show opens with a darkened stage and the crowd chanting "Tiamat, Tiamat, Tiamat" in a thick Polish accent. A soft, reddish hue barely illuminates the shirtless, hairless, frontman Johan Edlund as he greets the fans with "Good evening ladies and gentleman, we are Tiamat from Sweden" in a monstrously deep baritone that is an indication of things to come.
The first song, "Vote For Love", from 2002's Judas Christ, sounds more like classic 80s alternative rock than what should be coming from these one-time death metal heroes. This version sounds much heavier than the album version, which you can hear on the video clip bonus feature, thanks to a stronger guitar sound and the female backing vocals being absent. "Children Of The Underworld" was a b-side from the Skeleton Skeletron album and has a much darker, more sinister edge to it. The song's name might tip that off. "Cain" is the first song from their latest album, 2004's Prey, and continues where "Children" left off.