Published on August 19th, 2013 | by Erika0
Review of Tamerlan’s Liminal Tales EP
Following last month’s interview with the Serbian neoclassical ambient project Tamerlan, Headbang Today has the pleasure of reviewing Liminal Tales, Tamerlan’s latest work. Having been released at the beginning of August, Liminal Tales is the end result of a musical exploration of mankind’s transition and evolutionary journey towards the stars. This EP marks the end of Tamerlan’s lighter musical style, with upcoming work said to contain darker elements. The EP contains a total of five tracks, two of which are covers.
The first song, “Where No Man Walked Before”, begins with simple picking and strumming, which slowly begins to unfold, with the initial tune morphing into a supporting rhythm for the main melody. It is a good introduction to the album, starting off calmly and slowly building momentum, setting the atmosphere for what is to come. The second half of the track is one of the highlights of the EP, showing Tamerlan at his best: the song starts to fade away before suddenly taking wings and beginning to soar, weaving and blooming into a beautiful collection of intriguing melodies intertwined with a faster and more prominent lead before finally fading out.
The second track is “Toymaker’s Dream”; this song steadily creeps in on the whispers of a guitar, growing progressively louder and stronger, before ebbing and flowing like a tide, alternating between an almost march-like tempo and a softer more dreamlike tune, with the plucked chords giving the song a more piano-like sound. As the song evolves, the harmonies become slightly more jarring, teetering on the verge of being discordant and dark. These frictional chords are cleverly incorporated with the lighter, happier main melody, resulting in a slightly threatening atmosphere which never quite takes on these murkier aspects. The latter half can get a bit repetitive, but this is partially made up for by the unexpected transformation in the last few seconds of the song.
The next track is a Hoyland cover of “Dance Of The Twilight Stars”, the title track of the 2010 album by the same name. This cover remains fairly true to the original, slightly increasing the tempo and giving the song a bolder and more acoustic sound. The cover does well in removing the unnecessary and slow parts of the original, with the cover being almost an entire minute shorter than the original. The intro to this song is very minimalistic, but the song soon swells and the melody grows fuller. Tamerlan transforms the more ambient sound of the original, thereby giving his version a more ballad-like feeling, with parts of the main melody being reminiscent of the old English folksong Greensleeves.
The fourth track, “The Sculptor Of Stars” is distinctive in that it starts of strong and bold. This song is also unique in that it incorporates more oriental influences, straying away from the typical classical guitar sound found throughout the rest of the album. From this bold beginning, the song progresses to a calmer melody that is woven together with an undulating tune. Some of the chord changes are somewhat jarring, resulting in the listener anticipating notes that are only played a second later than expected, which can disconcert the listener slightly. The second half of the track also closely mirrors the first half, which dulls the overall feel of the song. However, after a moment of silence, the final quarter of the song has an unexpected twist with a more fragile sounding melody that quietly slips away, rounding off the track nicely.
Finally the last track, “Black Winter Day”, is a cover of Amorphis’s song off of their 1994 album Tales from the Thousand Lakes. The original has a pioneering folk-like edge mingled with a faintly ominous mood. As a purely acoustic version, Tamerlan’s cover on the other hand is longer and slower than the original, with a lighter and happier sound giving the song a completely different feel. However, the cover still holds the emotions found in the original, successfully transcribing one of Amorphis’s best known songs into the characteristic Tamerlan style.
On the whole, Liminal Tales has some very beautiful and captivating moments. The booklet of this EP is also very fitting, depicting scenes of ocean waves which are musically incorporated throughout the album in the oscillations of the compositions. However, whilst replication is necessary in certain sections of the songs to help create the full atmosphere of the EP, some parts are unnecessarily repetitive, marring the moments in which Tamerlan shows his true skill and potential, resulting in this album obtaining a rating of 6.5/10.
You can purchase the EP here
By: Erika Kuenstler