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TarantisT - Not A Crime

TarantisT
Not A Crime
by Jon Conant at 27 October 2017, 1:44 PM

TARANTIST is a project that original began out of Tehran, Iran, and has since moved it’s base of operations to Los Angeles (USA chant, anybody?). “Not A Crime” is their 4th full-length release, with 3 previous efforts dating back to 2008, as well as an EP in 2006. The Metal Archives have them listed as a thrash metal band, but for my money they have more of an old school grunge/metal/rock/industrial feel to them, with even some electronic influences coming through on “Not A Crime”. They are unique, I will certainly give them that. I would also be willing to wager that these guys have all rocked out to RAMMSTEIN quite a bit, that is a fun influence that comes through quite a bit, particularly in the drums and vocals (and not just because they’re in another language). Their political influences are a focal point of their music, discussing turmoil and all of the various issues in the Middle East, obviously with Iran being their focus. The cover of “Not A Crime” is a vivid nod to the struggle of woman to attain rights in their home country.

This album is interesting. It has lots of good to it, and unfortunately some issues that are too glaring to overlook, but certainly don’t make it a bad album, because it’s not. There is just clear room for improvement. And with 10,000 likes on their FB already and a fantastic brand established, I am excited to see where these guys go in the future. They certainly can have what it takes to gain a serious following. The album kicks off with instrumental intro track, “Silence Before The Storm”, which immediately sets the tone for the album. Not particularly heavy but still built on chugging guitar lines and quick drum work, it’s industrial and grunge. Unfortunately, this track also immediately sets the tone for the biggest drawback of the album, the production value. And look, I get it. An independent band originally from Iran still trying to make it big, you can only do so much. But the recording quality is bad, the mixing is haphazard, and it doesn’t seem to mesh together well. Now, fortunately this does work in their favor a bit because the lower production quality actually makes sense with the style of music, a kind of throwback to early rockers who just made music, didn’t care about going big, and simply wanted to rebel against the system. However, as TARANTIST grows, and I hope they do, I’ll be looking for added production value, and I’m sure that will happen.

While this is a large drawback, at least for me (I am a whore for amazing studio production), don’t let this distract you from the inspired songwriting these guys are putting out. They are very clearly writing exactly what they want to write, and I love and respect that greatly because that is what turns music into art. That becomes instantly clear on the 3rd and title track of the album, “Not A Crime. It’s almost impossible to categorize the genre here, but industrial Rock/Metal would be my closest comparison again. This track is fun, it has heart, spunk, and keeps moving quickly. Unfortunately, the rhythm guitar work gets pretty lost in the mix, but the drums keep the song pounding, and neat guitar solo work is a highlight of the track. They are also very bold with their vocal choices, which is great to see.

If the next track, “Your Dance”, is not directly inspired by RAMMSTEIN, then I owe each band member a beer. This track keeps the energy of the title track going, but picks up the speed AND sees the return of more prominent rhythm guitar in the mix, which is a big deal for me. The next 4 tracks see the album slow down and settle into more of a rock and roll, relaxed vibe. It works, and helps add layer and diversity which makes the album flow together more. That is important, especially being a longer (generally speaking) album at 14 songs. However, “Rain, Pour Down”, the 9th track, launches us right back into the Industrial/Grunge pounding sound that we are used to. This may be my personal favorite track on the album. The rhythm guitars are chunky and the lead guitar is catchy, it meshes together better than the previous 8 songs and has a definite “lead single” sound. Also it ends with a bongo solo, which is fucking awesome. If THAT isn’t directly inspired by “Day of the Baphomets” by THE MARS VOLTA, then I owe these guys even more beer.

Track 13, “Vay Az To (Drunk Version)”, is the most metal and the most awesome song on the album. The rhythm guitar is chugging and low, the lead guitar is soaring and epic, the drums are pounding and layered, the vocals are gritty and bold. I mean honestly if this song had anywhere close to a record label production value it could be a hit, it is that cool. Also I don’t know if they recorded it drunk or not, but if they did, they should be recording all their songs drunk.

Overall, despite this album having some admittedly serious flaws, there is epic creativity and songwriting present, and it’s a fantastic listen if you’re in the mood to stand up to the man.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 4

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Silence Before Storm (Intro)
2. Hey You
3. Not a Crime
4. Your Dance
5. Disappointment
6. Summer
7. I Become God
8. Reflection
9. Rain, Pour Down
10. Burnt City
11. You Were Not
12. Pills
13. Vaay Az to (Drunk Version)
14. Soldiers
Lineup:
Arash - Bass, Vocals
Reza - Drums
Arsalan - Guitars
Bahman - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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