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Tygers Of Pan Tang - "Ambush" (Rocksector Records/***)

Line up:

Robb Weir - guitars
Jacopo Meille - vocals
Dean Robertson - guitars
Gavin Gray - bass
Craig Ellis - drums/percussions
 

voto:

8
 

recensione

Four years after "Animal Instinct", which marked the entrance in the band of the Italian singer Jacopo Meille, Robb Weir and the Tygers are back with "Ambush", fourth studio album of the new millennium for the band. But the record could have been made as well in the beginning of the 80’s, as the sound brings the listener back directly to the era of the acclaimed "Wild Cat" and "Spellbound" albums. This might be also thanks to the touch of the producer and engineer Chris Tsangarides, who worked previously with the band precisely for the release of those two records.
The album is a groovy, solid mix of hard rock/NWOBHM of the finest tradition, and you don’t really feel that 30 years have passed since those early times.
The captivating guitar riffs and the charismatic vocals keep you hooked to the album one song after another, right from the beginning with "Keeping Me Alive", which is a real attention-grabber wisely placed as a first track. More rooted in the English heavy metal tradition, "One Of A Kind" is another personal favorite of the album, one of those songs you’d see fit as a soundtrack in a wild motorbike ride! Strong composition and great rhythmic section do for a great background to the energetic vocals.
While "Rock & Roll Dream" - where the bass of Gavin Gray stands out dictating the groove - sounds more anthemic, "She" is the classic single-kind of song, flowing steady, with a bit of a latin feeling in the guitars. "Man On Fire" has a bluesy approach to it, which makes for a nice touch to the song, again thanks also to the versatility of Jacopo. A song that goes well with the current times, where this kind of sound is resurfacing thanks to young bands such as Graveyard and Rival Sons.
The rhythm accelerates with "Play To Win", another of the highlights of "Ambush". The song gets you involved from the very first notes, and it would be really fit as a radio hit with its easy-listening character. Another direct reference in this album to "Wild Cat" is the return of Suzie ("Suzie Smiled" anyone?) in "Hey Suzie", as Rock as it could possible be, which makes an extensively wise use of distortion in its riffing.
It’s hard to find something to criticize in an album that sounds overall so compact, keeping the bar high in almost its entirety. But before you know it, here comes the end with "Speed", a song that to me comes out as the perfect union of past and present of TOPT, a pure classic made of catchy solos and which shows great character in both its music and vocals. It actually leaves you wanting for more when you realize the record just ended.
In essence I strongly suggest this album to the old fans of the band, but also to the lovers of NWOBHM and hard rock music at its best. That’s pretty good stuff coming from a band which started 34 years ago. The guys in their new millennium version are still kicking both live and in studio.
As the cover, realized by Rodney Matthews (who made the "Crazy Nights" artwork), is a good eye-catcher, another big plus on this record comes from the quality of the lyrics, and it seems the guys really didn’t lack inspiration. So the Tygers are back again, are you ready to be "Ambush"-ed???

Recensione di Marco Manzi

tracklist

  1. Keeping Me Alive
  2. These Eyes
  3. One Of A Kind
  4. Rock & Roll Dream
  5. She
  6. Man On Fire
  7. Play To Win
  8. Burning Desire
  9. Hey Suzie
  10. Mr. Indispensable
  11. Speed

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