Album Reviews
Band: Tygers of Pan Tang

Title: Tygers of Pan Tang

Label: Mighty Music

Out of Whitley Bay they came, riding on the wave of their debut 'Wildcat', the Tygers of Pan Tang are a band that may have been linked to the NWOBHM movement, but were so much more than just another Heavy Metal band.  They crossed over comfortably into the Hard Rock genre, so much so that they were snatched up by MCA Records and the rest as they say is history.

But history has always been a stern mistress and the Tygers were one of those band that never got the coverage they deserved.  With several band member changes over the years, it wasn’t until the bands official reformation back in 2000, after a successful appearance at Wacken in 1999, that the band's popularity began to steadily increase.

But for me, the true resurgence of the band was 12 years ago when Italian vocalist Jacopo Meille joined the band, the Italian blew us away when we traveled down to Bradford to see the band and the band started a whole new chapter.

The band has seen a few member changes as founding member Robb Weir, vocalist Meille and skinsman Craig Ellis, have been joined more recently by Gav Gray on bass and Micky Crystal on guitars, for what I honstely believe to be the strongest Tygers line-up in years.

Now in 2016 this incarnation of the band have produced one of best, if not THE Tygers album in years.

Yes I love their 2014 opus 'Ambush', which really showed the band's potential, but this the self -titled new album goes that one step further and showcases perfectly that this Tyger has a might roar. 

The album itself opens up with the single ‘Only the Brave’, a real powerhouse taste of what the Tygers have to offer the new generation of fans.  This is ballsy high octane hard rock of the highest order.  The twin guitars of Weir and Crystal are just superb, the powerhouse rhythm section of Ellis and Gray are rock solid, but the icing on the cake has to be the vocal prowess of Meille, who delivers a heavy weight punch that will just floor you.

The album continues with the riff fuelled ‘Dust’, another hard rocking monster, this one shows what a great lyricist Ellis is with this really modern slice of Hard Rock, that has all the qualities of classic Tygers, but with enough of a modern edge to show the band aren’t stuck in the past and are ever heading forward.

One of my favourite tracks off the album has to be ‘Glad Rags’, a track with more groove that a stack of vinyl albums.  This one grabs you by the short and curlies and rocks your very inners.  It's also a real wormy song that burrows into your head, makes itself at home and stays firmly there for days.  I can confidently say that this song will be another new classic that the band have added to their bow.  It's anthemic, catchy as hell and live it really gets the crowd on board.  It's Tygertastic!

The album takes a heavier edge with the massive ‘Never Give Up’, another of my favourite tracks off the album, with Weir and Crystal exchanging fiery licks on this one, that reminds me of a certain Tipton and Downing pairing. (Heads down people!)

The album takes a more sedate road with the excellent melodic rock tones of ‘The Reason Why’, which is where Meille brings in those Plantesque tones to the mix.  A really classy track that shows the true diversity of this album and the band's song writing ability.

The tempo is picked up once more with the excellent ‘Do It Again’, another track I have empathy with as I was once one of those rockers that the song is all about, rocking out at the City Hall, hanging with friends dressed in Denim and wearing those white canvas boots we all wore.  Oh how we rocked!

One of the surprise packages of the album has to be track seven, as the band rock up Kiki Dees classic ‘I Got the Music In Me’.  If you're going to cover a classic, then be sure to make it your own and the Tygers certainly do that on this one.

The tempo is brought down once more with the stunning ‘Praying for A Miracle’, which is the Tygers at their modern best, as they embrace the past while at the same time, bring that typical Tygers classic sound bang up to date.  Again another stunning lyric from Ellis.

Another of my favourite tracks on this excellent album, has to be the hard edged ‘Blood Red Sky’.  A classy rocker than just oozes quality musicianship.  Another thunderous example of what this new line-up is all about. 

It's back to the ballads for the stunning ‘Angel In Disguise’, which is Jack at his very best, as he brings that Robert Plant edge to proceedings.  The album closes in style with another all-out rocker in ‘Devil You Know’, featuring a blistering bass line from Gray which opens this one up, before the twin guitars of Weir and Crystal come rampaging in with more heat than an active volcano, while the powerhouse rhythm section is as solid as ever.  Of course the icing on the cake as always is the rock n' roll Viagra that is Meille’s vocals, as he keeps the band hard and true all the way to the bank.

This is without out the best Tygers line-up in years and the album is equal to all those involved.  This is the band's best album to bear the Tygers name and also their most diverse in years.  It's stunning, it's fabulous, it's a solid ball of great rock music.

I just love this band and have done for years.  I’ve seen every incarnation of the band over the years and for me they have never sounded better.  The band could have very easily become their own tribute act when they reformed, but Weir had a vision for the band and that was to take them further than they'd ever been before.  Well this is the result of a great many years of hard work and never giving up on that dream.  With this line-up and the quality of songs on offer with this release, the band have not just taken one step up, they've catapulted into a whole new amazing level completely.  This is without a doubt one of THE albums of 2016.  If you remember the Tygers of old but haven't heard any of their newer material then check this out, I think you'll amazed at the beast they have become. 

Review by: Barry McMinn

 

Tracklisting:

1. Only The Brave 
2. Dust
3. Glad Rags 
4. Never Give In 
5. The Reason Why 
6. Do It Again 
7. I Got The Music In Me 
8. Praying For A Miracle 
9. Blood Red Sky 
10. Angel In Disguise 
11. Devil You Know

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