Tantara – “Sum Of Forces” (Indie Recordings)
Norwegian thrash? Gotta admit, it’s not exactly what that country is renowned for, but still, up and coming thrashers Tantara might be changing all that. Still in their mid 20s, these lads have been through a lot in their short time, recording their debut with Metallica’s producer Flemming Rasmussen only to have it cruelly withheld by their label at the time, not that it stopped them from playing across Europe with Onslaught, M:Pire of Evil and Master during Slaughterfest 2013. Finally releasing their debut “Based On Evil”, the band were hit by successive line up changes including the departure of original guitarist Per Semb who would return a few years later just in time to record this album! Despite all the hardship, Tantara have shown remarkable fortitude and have returned in style with this sophomore showing plenty of maturity while still being an all out thrasher! Taking their inspiration from “Master of Puppets” era Metallica, Artillery and Heathen, the 6 tracks here feature buckets of pedigree riffs that jump and pile in alongside plenty of deep, heavy melody executed through a high energy delivery. It also includes lots of virtuoso performances especially from Semb clearly wanting to follow in the footsteps of fellow Filipino Kirk Hammet – just check out the ambitious 10 minute instrumental closer ‘White Noise’! That said, the remaining songs are shorter affairs, still being around the 5 minute mark but compressed with heaps of thrashing and technicality in just the right places. Most of all, the meaty hooks and razor catching riffs – the defining moment of any thrash band – are all there in abundance which is why everyone is so excited by Tantara. If there has been a noticeable change then its Fredrik Bjerkø’s vocals, far higher this time compared to the rougher style of the debut but overall, it’s still very much the same as we remember them from a few years back. Warbling in on ‘Death Always Win’ it doesn’t take long before the massive biting hooks grab you and the chugging riffola possesses as Semb unleashes his flowing melodies and spiralling solos all to the high pitched screams of Bjerkø, whose rhythm guitar incidentally forms the crucial partner to Semb as Hetfield does to Hammett. Adding the jumping riffs on ‘Aftermath’, Bjerkø really unleashes the rhyming lyrics in line with the galloping rhythm that really shows what thrash is about when it comes to monster beats on what is probably the most rocking track on “Sum Of Forces” – it’s simply irresistible not to headbang on this one! With this stunning comeback Tantara shows once again that thrash isn’t dead – and neither are they.