Band: Tygers Of Tan Pang
Label: Mighty Music
Release Date: May 7th, 2023
For Fans Of: Judas Priest, Armored Saint, Visigoth
I hadn’t heard of Tygers Of Pan Tang before picking up this album to review, and apparently that is my fault. Tygers Of Pan Tang play NWOBHM, but they aren’t a band with a retro style. They originally formed in 1978. Through various splits and line-up changes, they come to give us Bloodlines, the band’s thirteenth studio album. The new Tygers Of Pan Tang album sounds just as fresh as it would have forty years ago.
Tygers Of Pan Tang draw influence from early Judas Priest, with some Deep Purple sounds as well. The vocals occasionally have a Coverdale tinge to them, and some of the guitar work makes me think that this band listens to Deep Purple In Rock and Sad Wings Of Destiny quite often. Outside of the influences, Bloodlines plays NWOBHM straight, in everything from tone to structure.
The harmonized choruses stand out pretty much immediately on Bloodlines. In this way, this record reminds me of the newest Armored Saint release. If you hit the listener with a big and catchy enough chorus, they won’t remember what you do in the valleys between. Tygers Of Pan Tang do an excellent job with this songwriting approach. From the first listen I felt the immense weight that this band can bring and withdraw just as quickly. These big choruses keep the music moving forward and interesting.
Bloodlines brings tons of energy. Sometimes with older bands you can hear their age, but that simply isn’t the case for Tygers Of Pan Tang. The band uses tonal inflections and bold, articulated playing to keep their sound engaging. Even the obligatory slower tracks such as “Taste Of Love” keep moving at a nice pace. With those slower tracks, I appreciate that Tygers Of Pan Tang can make use of the stretched out tempo to add another aspect to their sound, as shown with the guitar solo at just before the 3 minute mark.
As I kept listening to Tygers Of Pan Tang, some doubts about this music started to creep into my mind. Mainly: Is the songwriting here actually good, or does this just remind me of better bands? Bloodlines contains some solid hooks, but listening to this hasn’t made me go back and listen to the rest of Tygers Of Pan Tang’s albums. Instead I’ve been listening to Deep Purple and Judas Priest. Nothing that’s done here is done better than other NWOBHM bands, even if this is one of the originals. Compared to recent releases by contemporaries such as Satan and Armored Saint, this record doesn’t sound as vital.
Additionally, some of these tracks don’t sound like they were made for a studio environment. For example, the ending of “Back For Good” reminds me of live versions of “Black Night” that contain space for audience call and response. And although that would probably work on a live version of this record, here it just sounds awkward and drawn out. The end result is a record that can alternate between sounding same-y and bloated when the glamor of the hooks wears off.
Tygers Of Pan Tang have made a solid album, but one that doesn’t quite equal the output of other NWOBHM bands. I’ve enjoyed the experience, but suspect that this won’t remain in the front of my mind once I stop listening to it for this review. I recommend Bloodlines to anyone who is looking for songs with big choruses, anyone who’s a fan of the bands I’ve been name-dropping, and anyone who likes the cleaner side of metal. There’s enough here to enjoy that you’ll appreciate the time spent.
- Edge Of The World
- In My Blood
- Fire On The Horizon
- Light Of Hope
- Back For Good
- Taste Of Love
- Kiss The Sky
- A New Heartbeat
- Making All The Rules