Released: 2013, Self-released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Formed in late 2011, Tarim is a melodic death/black metal band from Texas which focusses on intense drumming and philosophical themes for their lyrics; aiming for the more personal experience for their listeners. The Philosopher King is their self-released debut album.
First things to note for their debut offering is it’s a good length, well produced and, as is not always the case, you can hear and understand the words. Lessons kicks things off showing for me the drumming they had promised, and it’s a good start, though perhaps too long at 5 ½ minutes for the first song. Their second song, The Rabble would have been an equally good choice to start. It has a strong, interesting beginning and a meaner sound that could more immediately appeal to listeners. The Plague to me is one of the stronger songs on the album, giving a further intensity to the vocals which fits with the song title. It’s a more heads down get on with it kind of song and one I really think – is a song I think people into this will enjoy. There are some good aspects to this album which I think will appeal to large range of metal fans, but for me at this stage it’s not jumping out and grabbing me. This begins to change about halfway as the album progresses, mixing in changes to the guitars. The Stranger is ideally placed at the halfway stage and has longer instrumental sections, which with the ‘happier’ (and at times a bit cheeky) sounding guitars and rhythm offers a slight relief. No Pity brings back the heavier sound but manages to add a positivity to the song, which is inverse to the title.
No pity feels heavier after the happier guitars of the previous song. It also has a positivity to the sound which is inverse to the title. This is followed by Immolation whose swirling guitars throw images of hurricanes snatching up debris into the air. The Apology throws you a surprising turn, throwing in to my mind a slow, heavy rock sound, balancing it out against the harsh vocals, which with melody and rhythm seem quite at odds, especially given the slightly cybermen sounding backing vocals. Having said that, when you continue to listen it does all come together in the second half of the song, helped by the drumming which offers a connection to the previous songs.
Masters of destiny brings things to a close in a similar way to how the album began with the introduction, but that’s where it changes. This song is much more determined than the first, and is very fitting for its title Masters of Destiny.
Tarim’s music has been described as accessible to most metal fans and this album I can see why. Though to me it doesn’t reach out a grab your attention, it doesn’t put you off either, which is a good thing; it’s easy to listen to without really pushing any boundaries or sensibilities. It is this that is one of the most interesting parts of the album for me, in that though it is easy to listen to and inoffensive, there are sections of the album that are in opposition with what you have been led to expect from previous songs. Again not in a severe in your face kind of way, but it’s the subtlety of the album style and the changes that turn your ear and make the differences seem so stark.
Coming to the end of the album, I have to reconsider what I thought previously about this album about it not being a ball grabber. Perhaps it is the fact that you can easily listen to it that makes it a bit dangerous and a potential playlist stable. It has the potential to have that stealthness about it that enables it to work its way into your head, quietly insisting you obey. Only further listens on future occasions will tell.
Review by Rowena Lamb