Last year saw the release of the Tygers Of Pan Tang’s excellent studio album Animal Instinct. When I reviewed it on Blogcritics, I wrote that the album saw a, ‘rejuvenated band paying homage to their past whilst still sounding fresh and relevant.’
For their 300th release Angel Air records have produced Animal Instinct x 2. Not only do you get last year’s album but they give you five additional newly recorded bonus tracks, and an eleven track DVD recorded in the Berlin Studio, Blackpool, England. Add to that the extra footage recorded live in Europe during 2007 and 2008, and you have an ultra generous package.
A nice touch sees the band from Whitley Bay include the track “Live For The Bay” which celebrated the local football team’s appearance in the non league final at Wembley Stadium. It is, of course, a take on the bands own “Live For The Day” from Animal Instinct which appears on the DVD.
The Tygers will always be associated with the NWOBHM (the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) back in the eighties alongside other leading examples such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Witchfynde. Their 1980 debut album Wild Cat achieved chart success and was followed by other notable albums such as The Cage and Spellbound.
However, it all imploded and it wasn’t until the tenth annual Wacken Festival that the band re-appeared. The response from the crowd convinced them that the time was right for the Tygers to return.
Albums arrived, namely Mystical in 2001 which was followed by Noises From The Cathouse, but it was last years Animal Instinct that really provided the springboard. Since then, it has been all action and this is confirmed by the release of this two disc set. Even if you bought the album this double offering proves to be an excellent addition.
There is a genuine energy and reinvigorated belief surrounding the band and this is perfectly captured during the hour long film. Vocalist Jacopo Meille underlines exactly why he has proved to be the perfect voice for the Tygers material both old and new.
They kick off with one of the older tracks, a typically wired version of “Hellbound”. It was originally released back in 1981 as a single taken from the album Spellbound. Also included from that album is “Take It” and “Gangland”.
“Raised On Rock” from 1982’s Crazy Nights makes a welcome appearance. Meanwhile from the first album Wild Cat comes long time live favourite “Suzi Smiled”, “Rock And Roll Man”, and “Slave To Freedom”. From 1983’s The Cage they deliver their cover of the Leiber and Stoller penned hit for The Clovers “Love Potion No. 9”.
Right from the start of “Hellbound” it is obvious that this is a band on fire and enjoying every well earned moment of this resurgence in power. Scorching guitar work was always a highpoint for the Tygers and here those guitars of sole survivor Robb Weir and the excellent Dean Robertson literally burn with pent up passion. Jacopo is excellent throughout even managing to hit some Plant-esque high notes.
Without pause for breath they move into an equally driving “Take It”. Animal Instinct is introduced with “Live For The Day” a track that proves that the Tygers still has the ability to write some pulsating rock.
The version of “Suzi Smiled” that follows is as fresh sounding as when I first heard it longer ago than I care to remember. Dean Robertson’s guitar trades off Robb Weir’s in a totally intuitive way. Bass player Brian West and drummer Craig Ellis are so tight that they must be joined at the hip.
“Rock And Roll Man” leads powerfully into the much newer “Bury The Hatchet”. It all peaks nicely with their unlikely cover of “Love Potion No.9”. A track that always went down well and I saw many times during those hot sweaty and incredibly good gigs. They round off with that other long term favourite “Gangland”.
The bonus material on the DVD has live footage taken from the European tour and includes film from UK’s Birmingham and Newcastle in 2007, and Italy’s Milan, the following year.
Last years Animal Instinct has re-ignited the passion in this band and this very welcome DVD set underlines exactly that. There is also a section of photographs included. All this for just a few quid, you just can’t go wrong.
Catch up with the band and try and catch a live date or two by visiting the Tygers' official website.