Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008, Renaisance Records)
- Find Me
- 1000 Tears
- So Near
- Let You Go
- Blue Jay
- All Of You
- Throwing Stones
- Heart And Soul
Kelly – Vocals & Keyboards
Karl Lean- Guitars, Bass, Drums
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 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.
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’