Tygers of Pan Tang - Tygers of Pan TangI love the 80s. And who wouldn’t? If you’re an olde guy like me, the 80s were the peak of metal. The big bands were huge (Maiden, Priest) and new shit was cropping up everywhere (Metallica, Slayer). Luckily, as a teen back then I managed to hold down a job, so I was able to spend all my $6 hour wages on music at every opportunity. Despite that insatiable thirst for new music, I’ll admit that I never owned anything put out by NWOBHM also-rans Tygers of Pan Tang. Sure, I heard some of their stuff through the years (guitarist John Sykes, later of Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy, does some great work on early recordings), but for me, they stuck out only because Kiss kept stealing their album names. The Tygers put out Crazy Nights in 1981, Kiss did in 1987. They put out Burning in the Shade in 1987, Kiss released Hot in the Shade in 1989. Meaningless trivia, I know, but what I’m trying to say is that to someone who was a connoisseur of 80s metal, Tygers of Pan Tang were inconsequential.

That was the case for a lot of listeners, apparently, as the band broke up in the late 80s, resurfacing as many did in the 2000s to take a stab at the festival circuit. They’ve released a few tepid records since then, and this self-titled piece here is their 12th album. Contrary to what I was expecting when Steel coerced me into taking this on, Tygers of Pan Tang is not tepid. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Songs like the opener “Only the Brave” and “Never Give In” are foot-stomping, head-bobbing numbers with great vocal lines and tight rhythm guitar work. Same with “Do It Again,” an ode to the glory years, and album closer “Devil You Know.” Elsewhere we have the requisite power ballads “The Reason Why” and “Praying for a Miracle,” and a rousing cover of “I’ve Got the Music in Me” — an odd addition, considering a big beef the band had with record labels in their heyday was the forced inclusion of covers.

Tygers of Pan Tang has everything you want from an old-school record: catchy riffs, energetic anthems, wah pedals, pick slides, cowbell (but not enough!), talk box, and a couple of power ballads. While not all the songs hit home, none of them are outright bad. “Glad Rags” would have fit on a Poison album (and if you Google the title and click on the first link, the song actually becomes hilarious). The good-but-not-great nature of the album means it’s not going to have a lengthy shelf life, but it’s a blast to spin for nostalgia’s sake. The rhythm section is tight, the dual guitars play off each other seamlessly and drop in tasty leads throughout, and singer Jacobo Meille has the perfect voice for this style, nailing his performances. From that perspective, the Tygers hit on all cylinders, and probably make the material sound better than it actually is.

Tygers of Pan Tang 2016

The biggest surprise for me with this new Tygers offering wasn’t the genuine homage to days gone by, nor the solid songwriting and performances. No, what took me by surprise was the production. Honestly, these songs aren’t markedly better than anything the band has released since they reunited this millennium, but previous albums sounded horrible. There was no punch, the mid-range lacked anything resembling presence, and the high-end was tinny at best. This release fixes all that and then some. It’s as well-produced as one could want for the style. All the energy of the band comes through in spades with the aggressive mix, and it’s a great example of what good production can do to average but immaculately performed songs. Don’t let the low DR score fool you: this is a sweet-sounding record.

Tygers of Pan Tang isn’t going to land on your Album of the Year list, but it’s a heckuva fun spin. Think of it as a glass of fresh lemonade on a hot summer day. The Tygers don’t take themselves seriously, and you shouldn’t either. That’s not to say they’re giving us musical vomit like Steel Panther: rather, they’re here to have a great time and make sure we do as well. If this album came out in 1986 it would be in heavy rotation on my turntable – hell, it might even have knocked Black ‘N Blue’s Nasty Nasty off its “1986 Awesome Hair Metal” perch.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music
Websites: tygersofpantang.com | facebook.com/tygersofpantangofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 21st, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface


    if you were willing to say “heckuva” rather than “helluva” rather than “hell of a”, you may as well have just gone the full distance and plugged yourself with “huckuva”

    great review haha, sounding a little too old-school for me though

  • I’m with you, Huckster. Tygers were a band I always heard about and never bothered to check out. This sounds decent enough though, as far as Dad Metal goes.

    • Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick

      “Dad Metal”? Great sub-genre tag, but it cuts my old ass to the bone, Steel…

    • Huck N’ Roll

      It’s definitely a solid Dad Metal record. Lots of fun and not to be taken seriously (except for Glad Rags), just like the olde days.

    • The Unicorn

      Dad metal. Ugh. I feel so fucking old right now.

      • Hulksteraus

        I’m with you there…

    • Lars Barres

      For whatever reason, I didn’t hear anything by these cats (haha!) until “The Cage” – which I HATED. Thus I haven’t listened to anything else by them since like… ’82? The embedded track is kinda cool, though, so maybe I’ll check out their other stuff.

      • David Christian Dalton

        Ha! Exact same experience. The record store my best friend bought “The Cage” from also had copies of “Wild Cat” and “Spellbound.” To a 15 year-old in 1983, those “old” records seemed too risky. If we’d only known…

        Years later, I read about how awesome the first two Tygers albums were in Martin Popoff’s, “Collector’s Guide.” Found a used copy of “Wild Cat” and it was hot rockin’. Rough and tumble with meaty riffs. Full of the same working-class swagger that Saxon had in the early ’80s. Got “Spellbound” a few years later. Different singer and Sykes is on board by that point. Also recommended. You can find them on Youtube for a quick survey. Quite enjoyable, if not mandatory.

    • sir_c

      I don’t think Dad Metal is a pejorative in this case.
      It’s a perfect listen whilst in the garage repairing your motorcycle or doing other important Dad Things (TM) like emptying canisters of alcoholic beverages nearing their best before date.

    • David Christian Dalton

      Will DSO and Portal be Dad Metal™ in 30 years? Oh, it is certain. Either that or we return to simply calling these bands (Tygers, Satan, Saxon, etc., et al.) NWOBHM or Heavy Metal. :)

  • mindbleach

    That’s the greatest album art I’ve ever seen. Spheres, explosions AND sabre tooth tigers? Oh my.

    • The Unicorn

      All it needs is a Unicorn to be perfect.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That’s not a saber tooth tiger, it’s a regular ass tiger. ;)

      • Patrick Bearden

        ….regular ass tiger. YEAH!

  • Tyr

    6.00 an hour……yeah…that brings back memories. None of them good.

  • Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick

    As much as a fan of John Sykes’ guitar work I am (Whitesnake’s 1987 album is my all-time favorite and Sykes’ Blue Murder and solo stuff kick ass, too.), I never bothered to go back and check out Sykes’ pre-Whitesnake output other than his late contributions to Lizzy. But whoever that dude is on guitar must have spent years worth of hours studying Sykes’ style, as I’ve never heard another guitarist sound so much like him in feel and tone. This dude almost has Sykes’ style down to a science! Doug Aldrich didn’t even sound this close to Sykes when he played his Whitesnake songs live. This sounded great to me (even if it is “Dad Metal”- looking at you Steel).

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Love Potion No.9 used to be my weight-lifting jam. Brings a smile to my beard.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    You’re being too tough on the good ol’ Tygers… “Spellbound” is at the very least a minor classic of NWOBHM.

  • Weirwolfe

    I bought the Noises From The Cathouse(2003) reissue recently and was mightily impressed. Whoever produces the Tygers does a great job. Lots of bottom end and upfront guitar. Dad Rock approved.

  • Henriette Gaston

    ahah, if you like Rudolf Schenker so much, get a V