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Tar - As if we were Never Here Award winner

As if we were Never Here
by Dani Bandolier at 10 May 2020, 4:46 AM

TAR (2018) is the Progressive and Melancholic Metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden that have released "As if we were Never Here", their debut  record and mates, this is one mighty rocking slab. The first time I listened to this release I thought holy surstromming, this doesn’t sound like a first release from a new band. TAR was previously called ELDRIMNER 2010-2018, so indeed this ain’t their first time at the rodeo. I contacted lead vocalist Alex as I wondered who would be TAR’s musical peers. Fellow Swedes OPETH? Alex responded,“Yeah, Opeth is an influence for us for sure! And also other progressives bands like Gojira, Leprius and Meshuggah. In the very first beginning we played black metal and I guess you can hear that sometimes. We come from Gothenburg, Sweden so I think we have a lot of that old school sounds like AT THE GATES in the back of our heads as well.” Right On - but TAR has taken a huge step beyond their black art beginnings…

On the cracking first sortie ‘My Obscure Place’ drummer Alexander Lundgren comes in hot, like a Strato-fortress blasting low over enemy territory and carpet bombing blast beats while Alexander Andersson’s air raid vocals harbinger the hopeless lyrics …  Let me out! From this bottomless hole where time passes by… The tragic existential theme follows into Vacuum’ … This bottomless hole, in vacuum we spend our life
. This round globe we call home
 … Guitarist Martin Tjusling and lead vocalist Alexander Andersson are the dark lord drama songwriters on these songs, angst heavy and stark while at the same time plaintive and panoramic.

‘Nothing’ - just wow. Guitarists Martin and Robin alternate slippery chromatic slides with hammering riffs while vocalist Alex issues forth from above the din … The only thing that separate us is time.
 So let me embrace the knowledge you have left behind … You are nothing … nothing at all …  Drummer Alex is all over the kit and pounding these arias together perfectly while Otto’s bass detonates and thunders through the fjord symphonic. Shout out to David Castillo (Katatonia, Bloodbath, Opeth) for Guitar Re-Amping tones, spectacular on this song and on the whole release. Sung in the Svenska language, next track ‘Glömd’ has what sounds like a child’s background vocal in a Nordic style like Jónsi from SIGUR RÓS or superstar BJORK, and these vocals are sprinkled on the remainder of "As if we were Never Here." Check out the last 20 seconds of ‘Embrace’ with the levitating, stripling vocal … This is the only way. The only way!
 … and tell me your wee hairs don’t stand on end.

‘The Garden Beneath’ features Alex’s vocals churning like a lawnmower cracking through a pile of gravel. This song and the following Act II movement of ‘The Bitter Land’ are epic and incredible – emotional and hypnotic, intensified by Alex’s syncopated singing delivery. The imagination he shows delivering word song in two languages while using a variety of voices is truly special … Vi är skuggor bland bortglömda själar
 … ‘Ett Sista Farväl’ is another song sung in native TAR and it rocks. Svenska is just the perfect language for Black and Death Metal, wot?

When I get to the final cut, the "As if we were Never Here" I feel like I have been somewhere both beckoning and dangerous, a locus where you don’t know how you arrived or how you departed and the experience was so remarkable - the trek was everything and the time span – nothing. There is only the perception of that odyssey. This is one thematically heavy release – the lyrics take you down like a leap off Öresund bridge into the deep water below with 50 kilos weighted around your neck. I doth proclaim ‘AS IF WE WERE NEVER HERE’ a perfect score; I find the music, songs and band performance that compelling and beautiful. Mad Respect to Thomas “Plec” Johansson (Soilwork, Watain, Night Flight Orchestra) for his cracking Mix and Mastering efforts at Global Musix Studios, Johan Reivén (LOK, Mustasch, Hardcore Superstar) for Drum recording and Producer Carlos Sepúlveda (Psycore, Age of Woe). One Love ¡!

Det ligger en hund begraven … Ana ugglor i mossen … the dani bandolier Spotify playlist of reviewed bands…


Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. My Obscure Place
2. Vacuum
3. Paralysis
4. Nothing
5. Glömd
6. Embrace
7. The Garden Beneath
8. The Bitter Land
9. Ett Sista Farväl
10. Homo Sapiens
11. As If We Were Never Here
Alexander Andersson - Vocals
Martin Tjusling - Guitar
Robin Holgersson - Guitar
Otto Halling - Bass
Alexander Lundgren - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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