Would you believe that nearly two decades have past since the Rock music explosion of the new millennium? What a fantastic time to be alive, as a monstrosity of great new Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Rap Rock, and Nu Metal acts saturated the world of music. A notable list, names like Disturbed, Papa Roach, Slipknot, System of a Down, Incubus, and Linkin Park, to name a few, saw a firestorm of success in one of the most memorable time periods in Rock’s glorious history. That in mind, these acclaimed acts were some of the absolute biggest on the planet, however, there existed many bands of this time period who simply did not get enough credit for contributing what was, and still is, great Rock music.
As one of the most underrated bands of the era, Louisville, Kentucky rockers Tantric are amped-up for the release of their seventh overall studio album, Mercury Retrograde, dropping Friday, October 5, 2018, via Pavement Entertainment.
A rebirth, if you will, Tantric was formed in 1999 by Guitarist Todd Whitener, Bassist Jesse Vest, and Drummer Matt Taul following their departure from Days of the New (“Touch, Peel and Stand”). Not looking to fade into the background, these three talented musicians immediately decided to start a new band, and, as chance would have it, the guys were able to hire Portuguese Vocalist Hugo Ferreira just 24 hours removed of their departure from Days of the New. Not a coincidence, this was also made possible by the fact that Ferreira was already a peer of Whitener, Vest, and Taul, having toured with them while in his own band, Merge.
In 2001, Tantric released the eponymous debut album, Tantric, comprising a full-blown acoustic Rock sound, driven by compelling melodies layered by a rough edge. Imagine hearing Alice In Chains Unplugged, but on another level. On top of this great music, listeners reveled in Ferreira’s vocally gripping presence whose delivery gave a pure sincerity to the message and the music of Tantric. A hit among many Rock fans, Tantric broke into the Billboard charts thanks in part to the single “Breakdown.” Gracing the stage, Tantric were soon on tour with the likes of 3 Doors Down and Creed. Over the years, Tantric has continued to release new music as a roller coaster of ups-and-downs kept Tantric strong no matter the test.
Today, as the lone founding member of Tantric, Ferreira is now joined by three new members, Guitarist Sebastian Labar, Bassist Jaron Gulino, and Drummer Troy Patrick Farrell, to round out Tantric’s core lineup. Coming together as a tight unit, Tantric open Mercury Retrograde via the grit and snarl of “Angry,” the punchy “Tether,” and the classic acoustic touch of “Get Em All.” A riveting ballad, on “Before You Could Crawl,” Tantric’s opening melody alone will reel you into a fine musical formula. Unexpected, the opening piano of “My Forever” introduces a nice Rock-n-Roll wedding song with an edge as “Wannabe” dishes out a heavy, dramatic feel.
A powerful track, likely to grab the attention of any listener, “The Last Stumble” embodies the message that regardless of life’s challenges, you are only human, you get back up, and keep pushing forward. In the final tracks, “Letting Go” precedes a reprise of an earlier track, as “My Forever (Acoustic Mix)” is highlighted by genuine piano and an orchestral arraignment both giving new life to a great song.
In conclusion, Tantric are back! Picking right up where they left off after 2014’s Blue Room Archives, with another collection of intriguing new music in the form of Mercury Retrograde. Ferreira’s vocals are as strong and impassioned as ever, and Labar, Gulino, and Farrell fit perfectly into the band. That is why fans of Tantric are encouraged to pick up a copy of Mercury Retrograde and appreciate a really cool band. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Mercury Retrograde 3.5 out of 5 stars.