Tygers of Pan Tang – Ritual (Mighty Music)Monday, 25th November 2019
Tygers of Pan Tang today is vastly different in terms of musicians than in their NWOBHM heydays. Albums from the 80’s such as Wild Cat, Spellbound, and The Cage contained the work of vocalist Jess Cox and a relatively unknown guitarist John Sykes among others – and within the current lineup, only guitarist Robb Weir remains from those early times. Ritual is the twelfth Tygers of Pan Tang album, staying true to the heavy metal vision and its electrifying to see veteran artists willing to stick to their guns in total commitment for the cause – regardless of what’s in fashion or favor for a musical climate.
The guitar charge that sets off the record with “Worlds Apart” proves the quintet hasn’t lost any relevance as the powerful riffs, solid tempo mechanics and mesmerizing, melodic vocals make this an ideal headbanging anthem. Talk box effects punctuate the heads down swanky/bluesy “Rescue Me”, where you can hear the excellence of impeccable pacing and upper echelon powerhouse singing from Jacopo Meille – he has that Coverdale-like charm turned into more of a metal finesse angle that will capture most listeners as the lead break also moves from sparse notes to blitzkrieg fingers of blazing flurry. Similarities to Saxon a la “The Power and the Glory” come up in the up-tempo main riff gallop for “Raise Some Hell”, while tasteful clean parts exude the calmer, reflective side of the band on the outstanding ballad “Words Cut Like Knives”. Bassist Gavin Gray starts the groove-charge for a back half favorite “The Art of Noise” – the guitars and drumming semi-exotic and militant in execution, while the concluding track “Sail On” at 7:37 contains bird / narrative nuances, another killer lead break, a calmer mid-section, and a speedier finale that keeps the twin guitar harmonies flowing. The infamous tiger mascot makes an interesting twisted appearance for the cover this go around – looking more like a fierce mask that is still captivating.
Tygers of Pan Tang deserve credit for sticking to a tried and true, classic NWOBHM-style that may not necessarily be ‘awe-inspiring’ but is damn catchy and entertaining on all fronts when it’s executed as well as it is for Ritual. Another winner for straightforward metalheads.