Sound — 8
Every ending gives birth to a new beginning -- Tantric vocalist Hugo Ferriera knows that better than anybody. After platinum debut record and a strong follow-up on Maverick Records, it all went wrong -- the members left the band and the record label changed direction. But for Ferriera it wasn't the reason to give up. The result is here -- The End Begins, Tantric third full-length release with a refreshed lineup and a huge desire to repeat the success of the debut. All of the tracks for the album were written in the new era of the band -- none of the songs created with the old musicians made it to the album. The only link between the band's records is Ferriera's distinctive voice. The songs are very melodic and thus catchy, featuring a lot of strings and dynamic breakdowns. The first single Down And Out is a song with rough sound that differs it from the other tracks. Sharp strings in the verses are mixed with soft melodic violins in the choruses. This simple principle is the backbone of the majority of songs on the album -- almost in every track intense verses follow softer choruses. Though the guitars don't get that as much attention as in most rock records, sharing it with the strings, there are a few strong guitar chords and some awesome solos in the tracks -- like in Lucky One and Regret. There are little highlights here and there in the album -- an interesting bass part in the title song The End Begins or bongos in Why Don't You. Love Song is very catchy and can easy make it to the top of the charts. Though the strongest track is The One that features a duet with guest vocalist Kevin Martin of labelmates, Candlebox.
Lyrics — 8
If you listened to Tantric earlier records, you can notice that Ferriera became more literal in lyrics. Instead of just singing about the emotions, now he's telling a story too. The topics of the songs didn't change though -- it's still the same never-ending difficulties in relationships. Apart from that Ferriera is also singing about struggling through the difficulties of life, getting the inspiration from a recent break-up with ex-colleagues. Vocalist Hugo Ferriera copies Chad Kroeger's manner of singing -- he's got the same deep baritone rich for overtones. In softer songs he sings in a creepy voice while in tougher tracks he sounds raspy and strained. He sounds best in quiet moments when you can hear his voice clearly -- like in the beginning of Wishing. The song so obviously reminds One Last Breath by Creed both in sound and in vocals that sometimes you forget who's singing -- Ferriera or Scott Stapp.
Overall Impression — 8
One of the best things about the album is the addition of violin to other usual rockband instruments. This is not just arrangements or cool feature for one album -- one of the band members, Marcus Ratzenboeck, is a violin player and his parts were especially written for this album. More than that, the guys are treating the violin like a guitar and that unusual approach adds to the band's seal. The production is very strong. I would even say the producer Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Korn, 3 Doors Down), whom the musicians call the 6th member of the band, really did part of the work for the guys when it comes to distinctive sound. Of course it does sound sometimes like 3 Doors Down and sometimes even like Alice in Chains, but overall there are not too many cliches.