Based out of the vast confines of Russia, the mighty Tantal present progressive death metal in its darkest hour. Expectancy is their seconds masterwork, a thrilling collection of songs that should thoroughly intrigue metal fans throughout this dismal planet. We had the chance to interview two of the Tantal members to find out more about their devastating new album, the metal scene in Russia, their stunning lyrical content, and other subjects of deep contemplation. Read on as we explore the somber progressions of Tantal…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Tantal, and how long the band has been together.
Dmitry: My name is Dmitry – rhythm and solo guitars, lyrics. I’m in the band since its foundation – 2004. The original members who have participated since 2004 – Vyacheslav (drums) and Michael (bass).
Milana: Hi, I’m Milana, the vocalist since 2013.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Dmitry: One half of the band lives in Moscow and the second in Moscow region. But for the world we usually tell that we are from Moscow, Russia. As for the local metal scene: Moscow is the capital of Russia, so there are loads of metal bands playing in different genres: classical heavy metal, thrash, death metal, death core and so on…I think that there is a lack of progressive metal bands who don’t follow the modern “core” trend, but we try to improve the situation with our music, we try to make it original and interesting as much as we can.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Expectancy?
Dmitry: Yes, “Expectancy” has a concept. One day everyone starts asking themselves: “Who am I?”, “Why was I born and what should I do in this life?”. “What do I need to change in my life to be happy?”, “Why am I so miserable?” and so on. Every song of the album describes each period of the “inner search”. It tells about a person’s attempts to find meaning of their life, to find themselves, and to understand themselves. As result, it leads them to despair and destroys all their hopes. In the end they understand that all their life was pointless.
Select two songs from Expectancy and what inspired the lyrics.
Dmitry:All the lyrics are based on my own feelings, thoughts and experience, everything is very personal.The very first song “Through the years” – is about state when you’ve grown up and got a little bit wiser, in other words when you become adult. You start to look back and analyze all your actions and results you’ve achieved. Of course, most of the people prefer not to show that they regret about something but deep inside we all would like to change some aspects in our lives. During this period, we start to think about our appropriation in life, start asking “global questions”. This song describes all that I felt at this period of “getting wiser than I was before”.
The last track called “Under the weight of my sorrow I crawl” is about my feelings again, how hard it is to live without a purpose, without the beloved whom you have betrayed or lost. Every day is the same; you are emptied and have to live with your recollections and regrets. You can do nothing to change the past. It’s like the cross you must bear for the rest of your wasted life.
Who did the artwork for Expectancy and how much input did you have on it?
Dmitry: The artwork was created by the famous artist Gustavo Sazes who works with “Arch Enemy”, “Gus G”, “Amaranthe”, “Morbid Angel” and many other metal bands. He also did the artwork for our previous album “The Beginning Of The End” and it was fantastic, that is why we decided to get back to him with “Expectancy”.
I wanted everyone who takes a look at the cover and through the booklet to feel depression, desperation, loneliness, devastation and hopelessness. So I wanted a dark and sad picture, but not necessarily in dark colors. Looking at it I see the reflection of the inner world of a desperate and lonely man. Butterflies fly through the whole booklet symbolize all our hopes that are destined to die.
How did you wind up signing to Bakerteam?
Dmitry: In March 2014 we finished the album and got the final mix. After that we signed a contract with Russian label “Mazzar Records” who released “Expectancy” in Russia. But we also wanted to spread our new music all other the world, so I started to send our digital promo pack to the different labels outside Russia via email. One of them was “Scarlet Records” whose management offered us to make a deal with their sub label “Bakerteam Records”. It was the best offer among the others which we got, so we said “yes, let’s do it” and now the album will be released in Europe and USA in the end of October 2014. For this release we prepared the bonus sections which is a little bit different from Russian edition and includes an alternative acoustic version of the song from the previous album called “In The End pt.2 (Epitaph)”. I hope everyone will enjoy “Expectancy” music and its artwork this autumn.
What could one expect from a live Tantal show?
Dmitry: First of all we try to do it as much dynamic as possible: different guitar tricks, work with audience, some jokes or funny things. In other words we try to show not only our musical skills but also give audience a chance to participate a little bit at the concert. But the very important for me is the bands’ dynamic – I try to release and to give all my energy to the people who visit our gig even if there are only few guys in front of the stage.
As for the set-list: now we play all songs from “Expectancy” album, at our Moscow presentation we also did a little acoustic show there we played one of the song from our previous album. I hope to continue this tradition; maybe we will do acoustic version of some our new songs. Sometimes we play cover-song, it’s Black Sabbath “Die Young” in the name of DIO \m/
Has Tantal ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Dmitry: No, we didn’t play in the States…you know it’s a question of the distance because we are too far and the tickets are very expensive. But deep inside I still believe that maybe someday we can do that. It would be cool to do it, for our little band it would be the great opportunity and honor. Definitely, if we get an offer to play there we will take this chance.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Milana: I would be eager to open up for The Agonist! I admire their new vocalist, Vicky, she, as well as their previous, is one of the brightest and professional female vocalists in metal. And I also think it would be cool for two bands, both fronted by girls singing in clean and extreme styles, to share the stage.
How did Milana Solovitskaya wind up being in the band and what is her background in music?
Dmitry: I found Milana at one of musical forums in the beginning of 2013…one year after our original vocalist Sofia decided to leave the band. At rehearsals and at the studio Milana behaved very professionally, she was ready and all these facts distinguished her from the other candidates. She recorded for us two songs from “Expectancy” and her clean voice fitted very well to our new music, after that we decided to do her a part of the band.
Milana: At the moment I’m studying for an academic singer in the university. I’ve taken classes of different vocal styles and techniques for about 5 past years, mostly of academic style, though. As for participating in other bands, there was one under the arm band, it’s not worth mentioning…
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing Expectancy for the very first time?
Milana: The atmosphere, the spirit of the music. For me it’s the most important about music – to catch the core of it. And I suppose Tantal’s got some deep core to feel through.
Dmitry: Melodies, a lot of beautiful guitar and vocal melodies. We tried hard to do our songs easy listening in spite of the fact that some of them are “proggy”, complicated and very heavy…it’ some kind of the balance we try to keep in our music.
What’s up next for Tantal?
Dmitry: Till the end of this year we have booked some shows in different cities of Russia, so we are going to play there to promote the album. For the 2015 I hope we can visit Europe and continue to tour among Russian cities, but at the moment I can’t tell anything specific.Also, we are preparing new songs for the third album. At the moment we have 6 composed instrumentals with some lyrics and vocal melodies. As a tradition the new album will be different from the previous ones, but it will have all TANTAL’s distinctive marks such as complicated compositions with catchy melodies, dark and melancholic mood.
Any final words of wisdom?
Milana: Thanks for the interview and stay metal!
Dmitry: Thanks everyone for your support, we are really grateful for any comments, likes or emails from all our listeners, it gives us strength and inspiration to move forward. I wish everyone to find its meaning of life and purpose.
Visit us at our web pages and don’t hesitate to drop us the line here:
Milana Solovitskaya- vocals
Vyacheslav Gyrovoy – drums
Alexander Strelnikov – guitars
Michael Krivuletz – bass
Dmitry Ignatiev – guitars
(Interview by Ken Morton)