Archive for July 13, 2008

Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008, Renaisance Records)

  1. Find Me
  2. 1000 Tears
  3. So Near
  4. Let You Go
  5. Spiral
  6. Down
  7. Blue Jay
  8. Taken
  9. Sheltered
  10. Haunted
  11. All Of You
  12. Throwing Stones
  13. Heart And Soul

Band Lineup:
Kelly – Vocals & Keyboards
Karl Lean- Guitars, Bass, Drums

Additional Musicians:
Buddy Snape – guest Lead Guitar on ‘Find Me’, ‘Taken’, & ‘Sheltered’
Sham Hughes – guest Lead Guitar on ‘So Near’

Produced by: Temujin

Total Time = 55:51

Temujin official website
Temujin MySpace page
Renaissance Records

Temujin is from Australia and began in 2005 when guitarist Karl Lean started writing new music in a different style than the Thrash Metal he made with Nothing Sacred. That new style turned out to be Gothic Metal that is guitar driven and not as operatic or orchestrated. Mainly collaborating with the talented and beautiful Kelly, the duo has created 1000 TEARS, an album that is influenced from the late ’90s Gothic/Ambient Metal moverment that included bands like The Gathering and Lacuna Coil.

First thing you notice when listening to Temujin is Kelly’s haunting voice. I was immeadiately drawn to her melodic soaring singing and I thought of The Gathering’s Anneke Van Giersbergen on albums like MANDYLION (1997) and NIGHTTIME BIRDS (1998). The singing is not operatic and over the top like some of today’s contemporaries are doing, it’s darker and sets a certain mood. Obviously, Kelly has a beautiful voice but she also maintains a calm control during each song as well as retaining the melody. Kelly also lends her keyboard talents to the record and that is an integral part of the overall ambient sound. Keyboards in this kind of Metal can be overbearing but on 1000 TEARS they compliment the overall sound structured around Karl’s guitar.

You might recognize Karl Lean from the Australian Metal band Nothing Sacred. After being in the band for over 10 years, Karl moved on to studio session work with other Australian bands. This experience in the studio is one of the reasons why he plays the rest of the instruments on the album except for some lead guitar parts on a few of the tracks. Karl is a multi-talented musician and it’s obvious by the perfect precision there is between the guitar, bass, and drums in each song. The songs are all guitar based with the keyboards coming in to compliment the sound. The guitar sounds really thick overall and the rhythm section keeps the songs on track without being a distraction. The majority of the songs are mid-paced and keep in line with Kelly’s range and beauty…..these tracks are not quiet ballads, they are still layered in heaviness.

The only minor complaint I have is that the production is a little weak when it comes to mixing Kelly’s voice and the guitars. It sounds like she is in the background on some songs and then she’s right up front on the next. Take a listen to ‘Sheltered’, it’s a great song but I sometimes feel like Kelly’s vocal gets pushed back by the main riff. Then you listen to ‘Haunted’ right after and she sounds like she’s right up front. No problem though, it’s all in the mix and I’ll bet that in concert there is a better difference. I was also waiting for Kelly to really let go and wail but that’s not the style she uses. I’m a little too used to hearing all the vocal histrionics that happen sometimes in this genre so the controlled power Kelly displays is fresh and gives an added element to explore.

Bottom Line:
I had never heard of Temujin until I received the CD…..this is how Gothic Metal should be played. The fact that the music sounds similar to The Gathering in the late ’90s is a major plus for me because that music is the basis of what bands like Evanescence (who are terrible!) are doing with success on the U.S. charts. I’ve always said that Evanescence was a sham and that band’s like The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, and After Forever do not get the credit they deserve. Add Temujin to that list because they are definitely a really good new band in a crowded scene. I think they choice to go with less operatic vocals, subtle keyboards and more focus on the guitars will set them apart from the other female fronted bands in the future. A great debut!

Favorite songs: ‘Find Me’, ‘So Near’, ‘Sheltered’, ‘Haunted’, ‘Throwing Stones’

Well, vacation is over and I’m heading back to work this afternoon. How depressing!

It was a nice quiet 7 days off from work with the family. We went to the shore a couple of times and did a few other things but the main thing was that I got to relax. I did some things around the house and spent time with the kids without being exhausted but the thing I did for myself was catch up on some music.

Here’s a few albums I listened to on vacation, I didn’t keep a list but I pulled out a ton from my collection:

The Who – Tommy (1969): A legendary band, a legendary album. I happened to hear a block of three TOMMY songs on one of the classic rock radio stations so I pulled this out for a few spins.

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977/2008 deluxe reissue): More Classic Rock! I picked this up last Tuesday when it came out (more on that when I post a Hunt!) and I have been listening ever since. My wife and I went to the Billy Joel concert on July 3rd so I’m still on a bit of a Billy Joel kick.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): The album that will not go away! I keep listening and finding something new but it’s still a long listen at close to 2 hours over two CDs. I’m trying to get ready for a review but there is so much music, and Priest is my second favorite band, that I want to give the album a lot of time.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): One of the biggest releases of the year and I’m definitely still listening. There’s plenty of good songs here but I’ve had to hit the “skip” button on a few songs.

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): So far, my album of the year. Tobias Sammet has really created a masterpiece project with Avantasia, something that was supposed to be a side project that’s now as big as his main band, Edguy. Best song is the Alice Cooper sung ‘The Toy Master’.

Rogue Male – First Visit (1985) and Animal Man (1986): Both of these are reissues from Metal Mind Productions and I have been giving both CDs some serious time. I haven’t heard FIRST VISIT in about 20 years! Reviews coming…..

TKO – Let It Roll (1979) and In Your Face (1984): These two albums are officially reissued CDs from Tribunal Records with tons of bonus tracks. Another time travel back to my early days because I haven’t heard IN YOUR FACE in over 20 years too! I always meant to pick up the vinyl on Ebay but Tribunal has done a solid job with the reissues. Look for reviews soon…..

Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008): The band was nice enough to pass a copy along for review and I have to admit, I was surprised by the excellent music. I had never heard of Temujin but I know them now! The music is like MANDYLION-era and NIGHTTIME BIRDS-era The Gathering with a little Lacuna Coil in there.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Another solid Hard Rock band i missed out on in 2007. Solid album, review soon.

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): It’s a really good album but I think their frist record, UNCREATION (2006), is better. I’m still enjoying it though.

Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004): I was picking through my KISS related albums and I decided that this deserved it’s annual spin to see if it’s as bad as I remembered. Unfortunately, this is just a bad album with maybe one or two songs I like. This ties with Peter Criss – One For All (2007) as the worst KISS related album ever.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006): I had to pull this out to compare it to Gene’s album…..light years better! I haven’t given this a spin in a while but it’s obvious who the true creative force is behind KISS.

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008): Just reviewed this one and I thought it was great. Only a 5 song demo but professionally done and very cool to listen to.

There were so many more albums that I pulled from my collection that I hadn’t heard fro a long time. I started to pull out different albums from Ratt, Dokken, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, ZZ Top, and Bruce Dickinson solo. I listened to a few live albums as well from KISS, Maiden, Priest, UFO, Sabbath, Royal Hunt, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Triumph because I want to do a “live album week” in the next couple of months.

It was a great week of music!