TANITH     "Voyage"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This album hits me like a breath of fresh air in a world full of darkness and misery. If you like a little relief from ball-crushing metal and the 5000th take on how the world is falling apart in post-pandemic times, take this "Voyage" with TANITH and step back to a time when rock music had some hope and whimsy to it. This is a sure cure for the 21st century.

TANITH, featuring SATAN guitarist Russ Tippins, tackles the difficult task of emulating the hard rock, heavy prog and folk-tinged rock of the early 70's without sounding like a bad imitation or crass parody of such music. Not easy to do, but they handle it beautifully on "Voyage", which is recorded fittingly enough in pure analog fashion. Seek elsewhere for triggers or quantized bullshit. It is definitely more hard rock than heavy metal, the lighter side of what Tippins does in SATAN. The cornerstone of TANITH is the wonderfully interlaced male/female vocals of Russ himself, who proves to be no mean singer, and the excellent Cindy Maynard, who has such a cheerful, bright tone. The way these two interact with each other throughout the album is a highlight and brings an unabashed touch of pure melody to the band.

The spirit of URIAH HEEP and WISHBONE ASH hovers near TANITH, but they keep things nice and tight, with no overlong proggy wanderings or 10 minute epics. Cindy's voice even brings to mind COVEN and FAIRPORT CONVENTION. The tracks move along sprightly, like "Snow Tiger", which starts acoustically before hard rocking and fast guitar kicks in. "Falling Wizard" and "Flame" practically bounce right out of the speakers with a breezy, upbeat feel....how strange it is to hear something that brings a smile to your face these days!  "Olympus By Dawn" and "Architects of Time" are more serious and composed, a perfect intersection of prog and melodic metal.

Lots of cool science fiction lyrics pop up, kind of reminding me of RUSH's classical period. "Adrasteia" is the fastest and most  overtly "metal" song, though "Never Look Back" sounds like Russ' day job SATAN in a lighter mode. "Seven Moons" starts out kind of grinding, but winds up being the proggiest cut, with a prolonged acoustic section in the middle. Because of TANITH's concise songwriting, none of this stuff winds up overbearing and the album flies by easily.

More than almost anything else I've listened to recently, "Voyage" can be described as "pleasant". It's not a sin to dip your toes in these waters now and then, and TANITH handle the early 70's proto-metal bit better than just about anybody else I know.