Review by Michael on April 25, 2023.
Tygers Of Pan Tang have always been a "what if" band for me. What if the band around Robb Weir had had a stable line-up in the 80s? Probably they would have a much bigger name recognition, maybe they would even be one of the "Big Four" NWoBHM bands together with Judas Priest, Saxon and Iron Maiden. Well, this is all speculation. The band has still a large fanbase in the scene though and they're releasing Bloodlines, their 13th album on May 5th, 2023 via Mighty Music.
The cover, which is immediately noticeable, shows the typical tiger motif, but the environment is much more threatening than on all albums (except on Crazy Nights - no, just a little joke!), because the forest in which the tiger is up to mischief is slowly burning. Whether this is an omen for what the listener will expect musically in the next 44 minutes?
Well, with 'The Edge Of The World' the English-Italian quintet starts pretty fast and heavy. The song is composed very catchy and convincing with its very melodic and catchy hook lines and the gripping chorus. The lyrics come pretty gloomy, which the band here for the first time ever uses a slightly distorted and thus slightly threatening and dystopian voice of Jack Meille sets. Also the guitar solos seem well thought out and find their place in the song. If you feel like it, you should take a look at the video, which visualizes the mood of the song very appropriately. 'A New Heartbeat' is another song that goes in the same rocking direction and is already known from the A New Heartbeat EP that was released last year. Here, too, the Tygers captivate with a lot of catchiness and melody, but also never lose their heaviness.
There's more though. There are songs that sound very modern at first hearing, which is due to the tight production of Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Heaven Shall Burn, Moonspell, among others). But if you listen to 'Back For Good' or 'Kiss The Sky' several times, you will notice that there are many influences of the 80s. So I feel Jack's voice several times as contrary, yes quasi as an anachronism to the modern sounds. However, this fits wonderfully on this album - with 'Back For Good' arises through it (and the gang shouts) a slight stadium / glam rock feeling á la Guns n Roses at "Appetite For Destruction" or the first two Mötley Crue albums. The song spreads in any case a good mood and will be celebrated live quite certainly. Likewise, 'Taste Of Love' hits the same 80s note. The song is very quiet and again has a pretty catchy chorus. But despite all the modern sounds, it sounds more like an old Bon Jovi album, which is meant in a positive way. Almost all the other songs are also all on a very good level and with 'Light Of Hope' the band also has a very modern song up their sleeve that has a cool groove and doesn't sound like the band is only a year younger than me. If I felt the way the album sounds, I would be happy!
Now my (of course very subjective) point of criticism: 'Believe' is the only song that falls a bit behind in terms of quality, as it seems very monotonous and slightly uninspired to my ears. It is a mid-tempo song, but it seems very repetitive and somehow sounds as if you drive permanently with the handbrake on. But I would still recommend for everyone to listen to the album, because Bloodlines has become a very entertaining and very good heavy metal album, which was recorded by fantastic musicians and an incredibly fresh and young-at-heart Jack Meille as a vocalist.
Rating: 9 out of 10767