Tanith – Voyage Review

Perhaps no metal band in history have had the second act that U.K.s Satan have these last 10 years. Everything they’ve touched has turned to gold, with 4 stunning albums of NWoBHM glory unleashed, most recently in the form of Earth Infernal. Apparently that Midas touch spills over to side projects as well, as Satan guitarist Russ Tippins’ collaboration with Tanith has certainly been noteworthy. Their 2019 In Another Time debut was an enjoyable love letter to 70s hard rock, and though it was a bit unfocused at times, it was a pleasant spin. Now Tanith is back with sophomore outing Voyage and everything has been improved, streamlined and laser-focused on twin guitar rock and the power of proto-metal. That means tight, catchy tunes with riffs and harmonies for days, approximating a wild mash-up of Satan, Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, and Fleetwood Mac. Yeah, I know that sounds intriguing, I’m the one telling you about it! Are you ready to rock the old-school way? If not, please show yourself out now.

Few albums I’ve heard recently have a more endearingly old-timey, retro sound and style than what Tanith deliver on Voyage. This is true 70s hard rock with the earliest traces of heavy metal thunder reinforcing the foundations. Rip-roaring opener “Snow Tiger” dazzles you with slick, earwormy guitars wielding the classic NWoBHM pedigree Satan put to such good use of late, but this is much more restrained and quaint instead of heavy and bruising. The dual vocals by Tippins and Cindy Maynard revel in a relaxed, understated coolness, and the hooks dig in deep. This is top-notch rock songwriting and the flow and swagger will remind you of early Iron Maiden and even Slough Feg as the guitars tickle your grey matter oh so sweetly. The template set thusly, Tanith tinker with the intensity from song to song. “Falling Wizard” is a softer, almost folksy number that reeks of early Judas Priest as much as it does the 70s output of Fleetwood Mac. I can easily imagine Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie singing this and it’s all so damn delightful. And the hits keep coming. “Olympus by Dawn” is simply a great song with Blue Oyster Cult-isms bouncing into early days Heart with many good results, and the main guitar line even drills the nostalgia pit by recalling Triumph’s 80s hit “Magic Power.” “Architects of Time” goes for the throat (gently) with simple but sticky guitar lines counterpointed by languid, relaxed vocals. Those winning guitar licks get more intense as the song unspools and you won’t want to miss a hot second of sizzling fretboard fun.

To the band’s credit, the back half features no drop-off in quality and it’s hard to pinpoint what could be considered the weakest inclusion. All use the band’s chosen formula so smartly and everything is tight as hell and super concise. “Adrasteia” is the most aggressive cut, with its vim and oddball vigor reminding of the more exuberant Hammers of Misfortune material, and Tippins really shines as both guitar hero and singer here. Likewise, Cindy Maynard owns “Mother of Exile” with her vocals, managing to convey power without raising her register or forcing things at all. At a very crisp 43 minutes, Voyage is a fast, highly accessible spin harkening back to the 70s where albums were designed to be digested in one sitting and leave you wanting MOAR. The production is very retro, warm, and organic; a creature from a different era. The guitar tone is great and I especially like the punchy drum sound.

Russ Tippins brings his dyed-in-the-wool NWoBHM playing style to Tanith but dials it back enough so that this never really feels like Satan Lite.  His slick, catchy leads and harmonies are so abundant it makes me worry he may have depleted his riff reserves and Satan will suffer from the shortage. This thing is a guitar fiend’s wet dream, with so many leads that pop and harmonies that drop anchor in your brain port and refuse to move on. I can’t say enough about Tippins’ inspired playing, but the real revelation is how well he does as a singer. He was fine on the debut but he sounds much better here. Cindy Maynard also elevates her vocal game. Her bass work is stellar as well and thankfully quite audible. Keith Robinson rounds out the power trio with a kick-ass kit performance that’s rowdy and restrained in turns. Quality is everywhere you look.

I expected to like Voyage and maybe like it a lot, but damn, I love it! This is one of the most infectious albums I’ve heard in some time and it just oozes charm and joy. Tanith stumbled upon a special kind of magic here and I suspect those who give it a spin will find it as irresistible as yours Steely does. Book your Voyage now. You won’t be sorry unless you miss the boat.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: tanithnyc.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/tanithNYC
Releases Worldwide: April 21st, 2023

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