Had you told me that Norway would be unleashing a wave of great thrash records in 2012 I probably would have laughed at you and thrown on some Mayhem, however Norway is starting to become what Sweden is to death metal for the thrash scene. Add Tantara to the list of bands to release some great thrash this year, though the sound on their debut record "Based On Evil" is pretty different compared to their countrymen in Nekromantheon, Deathhammer and Aura Noir. The aforementioned bands all have a darker edge to their sound, whereas Tantara is straight up Bay Area thrash worship done right. It would be like comparing the other bands to Slayer or Sepultura while describing Tantara as Metallica, Exodus or Vio-Lence.
One thing that might turn metalheads away from this album is the length. Every track is longer than five minutes and some are eight to nine minutes long and fans who have short attention spans may completely write Tantara off once they take a look at the length of each song. Luckily the band knows how to write their songs so the listener doesn't get bored and there are plenty of shifting dynamics in the songs to keep one's headbanging. The album starts off with the title track and it's pretty much a typical thrashing song that reminds one of Metallica on "Master of Puppets" or Vio-Lence on "Eternal Nightmare." The next song "Mass Murder" is the first of a few to incorporate a clean intro before morphing into another thrash-riddled mosher with its catchy midpaced riffs, awesome vocals that sound like the bastard child of Zetro and Hetfield, and incredible guitar solos. While on the subject of guitar solos, the lead guitarist Per Semb is one hell of a shredder and the solos on "Trapped in Bodies" in particular are phenomenal. His melodies that are interwoven throughout are also nothing short of stellar and the acoustic guitar solo on the album closer "The Killing of Mother Earth" is impeccable.
The best part of Tantara's music is definitely their ability to create riffs that are not only memorable (which is actually difficult for newer thrash bands) but ridiculously catchy. The first set of riffs on the track "Human Mutation" is probably the best example of this as I find it near impossible to not headbang along. Now I'm sure a lot of people won't dig these guys because they sound a lot like Metallica (musically), even using the same producer in Flemming Rasmussen, but if someone took a listen to just one track off of "Based On Evil" I'm sure the band will have a new fan. This record is going to be a difficult one to top in the future, but I'm sure the band could do it. Any fan of 80's Bay Area thrash done right needs to invest some time in listening to Tantara and "Based On Evil" because it's a fun journey full of twists and turns that will leave the listener foaming at the mouth for more.
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"Trapped in Bodies"
4.25/5 or 85%.