Peering from the Eclipse of Days

Tantric (Maverick)

By Tim Roberts

The abrupt rise of Days of the New from the Louisville music scene is a story that, nearly five years after it happened, has transmigrated into legend. And like all legends, it contains a kernel of truth coccooned by rumor and exaggeration. Indeed, we still feel the aftershocks of that band's initial success, though they have dwindled in intensity and impact (another series of City Stage shows here in the Music Mecca of 1998 anyone?). But part of that kernel of truth is the fact that three members of Days of the New, drummer Matt Taul, bassist Jesse Vest, and guitarist Todd Whitener, were suddenly no longer part of the band, a story has been told and retold enough that it doesn't need to be regurgitated in a review.

What does need to be mentioned is that the three former DOTN members did not slink into the warmth of self-pity as victims of the star syndrome. Instead, they found a lead vocalist, Hugo Ferreira from Detroit, and reformed as (after a name change) Tantric. Their self-titled debut release on Madonna's Maverick Records shows that the three former men of DOTN, together with their new lead vocalist, simply charged back into rock without the emotional baggage of their previous experience.

The sound of Tantric blends clarity and texture, thanks to producer-engineer Toby Wright (noted for his work with Korn and Alice in Chains). Ferreira's vocals are sonorous, tinged with smoke and syrup, and his overdubbed harmonies are tight. Layers of acoustic and electric guitar flow underneath like a river of lava. Bass and drums land crisp sonic punches in each track.

The music itself ranges from sparkly pop-rock ("Breakdown," "Live Your Life," and "I Don't Care") to the slow, dark, drippy sounds of "Paranoid," "Revillusion" and "Mourning." There's nothing in between, though, and that's good enough. Too much of modern rock is sludgy and bass-heavy with vocalists who scream themselves mute. The tones and attitudes in Tantric give balance to a type of music that has needed it.

The word tantric is the adjective form of tantra, referring to the various practices of Indian sects, encompassing everything from yoga to the building of temples. It is derived from the Sanskrit word for loom, the machine that weaves different threads into a cohesive unit. That's what we see in the debut from Tantric: the remaining members of a band - whose music at one time set stages on fire - re-spun and woven with a different vocalist to form a new adventure in modern rock.