Charming Timur is an alternative metal project, the mastermind of Lauri Santeri Lohi from Helsinki, Finland, who describes himself as a ‘one man musical plane crash’. His music is an uncompromising hybrid of various genres of metal combined with the more mind-bending/atmospheric elements of shoegaze that act as a contrast to the heavier, darker aspects of the music. For The Duration of Psychiatric Treatment is his second album, after 2014’s A Brief Moment Of Existence.
He employs several vocal techniques, singing, whispering, as well as full-throated screaming in time-honoured metal tradition. These three styles often occur within a single song, as occurs on this album’s opening track Flanger Effects And Venlafaxine. This gets the album off to a powerful start, pounding drums combining with low-end chords and a high end riff that runs throughout. There is good verse/chorus contrast as the verses are whispered, the choruses sung, though his voice in drenched in the ‘flanger effects’ of the title. The end section is brutal.
You Are Next is even more intense, starting with a lengthy scream then launching a menacing whispered verse, the chorus hook consisting of the repeated question “Won’t you help me come and save me from myself ?….”, with unnerving desperation in his voice. The ominously titled Armed For A Schoolday is even more unrelenting with no melodic sung parts, but screamed throughout, ending with the words “I’m going to kill you…” over and over. One for black metal fans.
After the aural carnage of the first three tracks, respite arrives with fourth track Fly With Me which features some intricate and melodic clean guitar and properly sung lyrics that seem almost romantic in nature, the chorus asking “What is there to be done to make you believe in me?“. The fifth song You Can’t Handle This (In A Major) is back to the standard sound, with a strong lead melody throughout which doubles up as the chorus hook. His voice reminded me of Placebo’s Brian Molko on this one.
Sixth track Had Enough has a dark, claustrophobic feel to it, the chorus being pure rage and despair lyrically (“I’ve f***ing had enough!”). Again, this is a track that will appeal to the more hardcore metal fans and in fact this was released as the first single from the album, a good choice. Close continues the claustrophobic intensity though this is almost a lull in the storm compared to what comes next.
Illness is one of the epics of the album at almost six minutes long, the first two minutes slowly building the intensity before it unleashes unrelenting primal screams and speaker-destroying low distorted chords that continue without respite for the duration of the track. There are no words at all on this, just pure screaming. If it is a musical depiction of depression then it is an effective one.
A Human Cell is even longer at six and a half minutes, but very different to Illness, similarly paced but featuring singing throughout. The mood is equally bleak, with a haunting verse leading to the chorus “I don’t know if I have a human cell in me, I feel like an alien…”. It’s no surprise when the end section is based around the phrase “So depressed...”. Closing track Our Day Is Beautiful lifts the mood and ends the album on an unexpected positive note, the chorus running “Our day is beautiful, every step one of a kind…”. There’s some fine guitar work throughout.
Overall, this is a challenging but well-written album that can lay claim to originality through combining elements of metal and shoegaze that I certainly haven’t heard before. I think Charming Timur will build up a devoted fanbase in the metal community and there is enough melody in the music to appeal beyond that crowd, though some may need a long lie down on a couch after hearing it….
Alex Faulkner (The Faulkner Review)
Verdict: 7.8 out of 10
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