The NWOBHM-ers enjoy a second coming
Proving the old adage that the bands from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal never die they just reform with a couple of original members, Tygers Of Pan Tang, returned to the scene after a 14 year break in the early 2000’s. Since then they have periodically released albums with various different line ups and with varying degrees of quality.
This line up has been together since 2013 and features just one original member in guitarist Robb Weir, but their live shows are superb and this, their first album with this personnel matches that.
Self-titled – and dare we suggest that is because they have every right to be proud of it – if TOPT have never quite got the just rewards as true innovators of the movement that spawned Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard, then this is the type of collection that might see many reconsider their place in the upper leagues of metal.
So how have they pulled this off? Well by not trying to sound trad, and not trying to sound achingly modern essentially. “Only The Brave” is the type of thing that early Motley Crue might have had a bash at, “Dust” on the other hand, is a groove laden piece of hard rock.
That those are the first two songs here is perhaps telling, given that as an introduction to what Tygers sound like in 2016 this is the best one you could get.
Weir’s riffs are superb throughout, Jacopo Meille has shown himself to be a fine vocalist for over a decade and the two navigate this album through some fine songs (as well as getting huge MV bonus points for having Gav Gray – once of The Almighty – on bass)
Not a record that overthinks things too much, realising that they are here for a good time – “Glad Rags” is perhaps the best example of this Devil may care, let your hair down attitude – songs like “Never Give In” crackle with energy. “Do It Again” almost dares you to take it on, but there’s a real innocence here as it talks about the lost youth of bands and white flares.
If this record has a mission statement, though, it’s the brilliant “I Got The Music In Me” which it’s tempting to think is a metaphor for this band in general. Whatever, it’s a fabulous chugger of a thing that wouldn’t be out of place on a Thunder record.
Not without its left turns either, “Blood Red Sky” is a heavy, ambitious thing, and “Devil You Know” is a bass driven thumper that cheerfully heads off looking for whatever trouble it can find to conclude things. Elsewhere, there are no less than three ballads here – the best of which is the gorgeous “Angel In Disguise” which is almost entirely acoustic and clocks in at less than two minutes, although the powerful “The Reason Why” and the plaintive “Praying For A Miracle” aren’t far behind either.
It all adds up to a record that isn’t just better than you expected at this stage of their career, rather it might be the best Tygers Of Pan Tang have ever produced.
The album is out now in the UK and Europe, and is released in the US on 24th February 2017