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Tamerlan – Luciferian Award winner

by Erika Kuenstler at 23 January 2017, 3:35 PM

Of the hundreds, if not thousands of shows I've seen over the past few years, few really stand out much. But one I'll never forget took place in the ruins of a fort in Serbia several years ago. It was already well past midnight, with a full moon shining down on an enchanted audience, as spellbinding notes cascaded forth from the stage. That was my first introduction to TAMERLAN, a Serbian solo-project, whose trajectory I've followed since then, with December last year seeing TAMERLAN back with his fourth full-length album “Luciferian”. Whilst describing himself as Death Folk, I find TAMERLAN's music notoriously difficult to pin down to a specific genre, with influences ranging all the way from Neo-Classical to Dark Wave, and even perhaps a hint of Black Metal. And it is exactly this mercurial unpredictability that makes the music so fascinating.

An upbeat acoustic guitar melody eases us into “Patricide” with deep and resonant vocals giving the song a Goth Rock-like sound with a Folky undercurrent. In contrast to this, “Burn in Peace” takes on a more twisted and sinister tone, with whispered vocals and discordant synths adding a dark feeling to the almost oriental acoustic guitar work. This song is a masterpiece of minimalism, using just the barest essentials to build up a haunting atmosphere. “Until Dreams Are All That's Left” sees the album return to a gentle and almost optimistic melody, countered by the melancholic whispered vocals to create a bitter-sweet song. Things once again take an entirely different direction on “Come and See”, an enticing ritualistic song with spoken word passages that really leads the listener through tantalising soundscapes before reaching a swirling tumultuous climax. Following on from this, “The Beholder” takes on a series of tempo changes, with a stately procession flowing seamlessly into a sweet dream-like melody before distorted guitars and growled vocals give the song a nightmarish tinge. After the short instrumental interlude of “Apotheosis”, we already find ourselves on the penultimate song, “Lucifer's Son”, a mellow and slow-paced opus. The vocals range flawlessly from whispers to the fuller and richer tenor first seen in “Burn in Peace”, with a violin adding a keening undertow of sorrow to the song. Closer “Faces in the Fog” sees a swaying melody come to the fore, with remorseful lyrics adding to the air of things coming to an end.

“Luciferian” seems a lot brighter, optimistic, and less constrained than previous albums, and sees TAMERLAN completely shuck off any genre restrictions. In comparison to his earlier works, he seems far more ready to explore further and further afield, and with this, the songs have gained a more fluid structure. This is not to say that his songwriting was ever stilted, but “Luciferian” is perhaps the album which sees all the different influences flow most seamlessly into a natural progression. The result of this is a confident mastery of a sound that is fully his own. Whilst the album perhaps doesn't have any particularly outstanding moments, the variation from song to song keep the album captivating throughout. The production is generally very good, with each instrument sounding clear and crisp, with the exception of the distorted electric guitar; here the sound is muffled and fuzzy, drowning out all other instruments. However, this is a minor flaw, and can be overlooked. Overall, “Luciferian” captivates the listener and invites you along on a sonic journey that glides through ethereal soundscapes that know no boundaries. Definitely recommended for fans of Ambient, Neo-Folk, and Neo-Classical music.

Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8
Songwriting: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Patricide
2. Burn In Peace
3. Until Dreams Are All That's Left
4. Come And See
5. The Beholder
6. Apotheosis
7. Lucifer's Son
8. Faces In The Fog
Timur Iskandarov – All instruments
Record Label: Casus Belli Musica


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Edited 03 July 2022

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