Tamerlan, named after a legendary Uzbek war-leader, is a solo-project from Serbia's Belgrade. Even though the artist originally operated within Black Metal and other dark sides of music, in 2005 he decided to wholly abandon the Metal-form which he found too restrictive and ventured deeper into the more mystical and experimental darker arts, such as Dark Ambient. Tamerlan's first demo was released in 2006, after which he's released an EP in '07, the debut album in '08 and this, his second album now in 2010.
The music is mainly based on two acoustic guitars with a nicely clear and sharp sound. One of the guitars creates the background with some mid- and low-pitch tones executing freely flowing, nicely energetic but still enough restrained rhythms and melodies to create the songs a solid backbone. The other guitar is more of a solo-one and executes it's melodies and riffs with a slightly higher pitch, and it's the main cause for the release's really high energy level with it's fast pace - although the artist has known well to keep up the dynamics by leaving some calmer and barer moments and some sudden pace-changes amidst all the rest. The energy is emphasized by the sparse but effective percussion section, which mostly consists of low-ish beats with a very organic and strong sound, along with some chimes. Add a little touch from a bass guitar and slightly dull synths to the far background here and there, and you have this album. No vocals are used whatsoever.
Overall the album leaves little room for actual complaints. The guitars bind together even masterfully, and their natural sound is amplified by the organic percussions. The synths and the bass guitar are present very rarely to spice up the soundscape, and even then they're usually in the far back so that they don't disturb the organic soundscape; although this naturally causes them to add very little to the compositions or even the moods. The same complaint applies to the percussions as well; they amplify the guitars' pulse, but the drum section is so sparse that it starts to sound monotonal rather quickly despite the variation in the beats and rhythms.
The difference between Tamerlan's previous album from '08 and this album is that the music is now more guitar-driven and enthusiastic with even some energetic latin-vibe, whereas the first album had more of the dark ambient -elements still present and the atmosphere was overall darker, simpler and more ritualistic. Do not worry though, as the eastern mystique continues to breathe strong in the music. The output is not shy anymore, it's moreso proudly going forward and eagerly presenting it's different sides. I hope the this new trend will continue in Tamerlan's music.
The album is a good listen for sure, and will stay that way even in active listening. It's proud, self-confident and energetic mood will instantly grasp the listener, and this interest will only grow when the listener is sucked in by the mystical and mythical atmosphere within the soft but still edgy and organic soundscape. There are moments when the songs seem to need something more to them, and I hope that the artist will focus on these moments; for example using some different percussions just here and there could do wonders. We'll see how the artist manages to spice up and slightly tighten the musical whole, as that is pretty much the only thing he can focus on now - the atmospheres need no work, this is once and for all proven by the epic and beautiful ending track. A dynamic, energetic and mystical forty minutes, very recommended.