A couple of weeks ago, I picked up this records for a good reason. Progressive death metallers Tantal almost mass-advertise with their female vocals and as I am a sucker for female fronted metal (and since a couple of months also for progressive metal), I just had to check out this band. Hailing from Pushkino, Russia, Tantal are presenting their second full-lenght release "Expectancy".
I may be someone who is expecting a lot from a progressive metal album in general - I didn't this time. Tantal is still a young band that needs to come up with a certain style and approach. Technically, the musicians do meet a particular standard. If a band is actually able to fill up a seven minutes song without sounding compelled, then at least something has been done fine. The riffing is melodic death metal inspired and asymmetrical time signatures are very common on this record. I do miss the gripping moments of a song, though. "Expectancy" wasn't a bad listen but neither a very satisfying one.
Milana Solovitskaya is a decent singer and she has improved her singing and growling a lot in the last five years. By now, I wouldn't come to the idea that there's a woman screaming on "Expectancy", which was the case on the first album (It basically sounded like a tired Angela Gossow (ex-Arch Enemy). Well, she actually can't be compared to Angela. A tired Angela would still sound amazing.) Sadly, her gutturals sound very weak live. Her clean vocals are ok, Milana is able to hit some remarkable notes, but she doesn't seem to know how good vocal lines are written, and on top of that, I miss the originality, both in her singing and growling. As a female singer, you're having bad chances at the moment anyways, and there is just a few unique female voices out there. Not to mention that if you are a woman who both growls and sings, you are overshadowed by Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy, ex-The Agonist) in any imaginable way, that's the aching truth.
With even more focus, the Tantal singer may become a really good vocalist some day. I hear, after all, potential in her voice.
I'm pretty sorry for Tantal, but there are so many great progressive bands out there they are unable to hold a candle to, at least not with the previous or the new record. I'm thinking of Periphery, Textures, The Contortionist or many more. If a band labels itself as "progressive", people will always have huge expectations. Maybe it would have been more suitable to shorten the playing time from one brief hour to a three-quarter hour and to map out the well-made songs. It's no matter of talent or potential, not at all. The band only needs more practice and experience. I hear some great guitar solos on this album, as well as progressive riffing and proper song structures. In the end, their melodic death metal with progressive influences isn't exactly revolutionary. Tantal also have some acoustic guitar parts which shows their versatility. They really seem to be trying to give their best - I personally don't believe that "Expectancy" is the best Tantal can do.
There has to be someone to say it - there is still a good amount of aspects the members have to work on. Maybe it's just a matter of time - we will see what the future brings. I definitely believe in this band and its ability to work out the essence of its style and competence.