Two years on from their acclaimed second album, ‘Beneath The Surface’ (enthusiastically reviewed by PlanetMosh at http://planetmosh.com/alpha-tiger-beneath-the-surface/), young Saxony retro melodic metallers Alpha Tiger return with their third offering, and their first for the mighty Steamhammer imprint.
Hailing from Saxony, the powerbase (sic) of the German power metal scene, Alpha Tiger are very much steeped in the mid-Eighties roots of the mien’s “golden age”, while attempting to bring their own updated take on the genre, with this third album seeing them, as fittingly embodied in the title, striving to establish their own identity in the modern era.
The problem is that, almost from the outset, the band immediately draw strong comparisons with the likes of ‘The Warning’-era Queensrӱche – especially in Stephan Dietrich’s vocal delivery and the twin guitar harmonies woven by Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch – and classic counterparts such as Helloween and Fates Warning: however, despite such obvious parallels being drawn early on, it has to be admitted that ‘iDENTITY’ does sound fresh and vibrant, and hits as impressively as the aforementioned acts did when they first exploded from stereos all around the world. And, in a way, it’s a pity that they chose to kick off the album with ‘Lady Liberty’, which sounds just like it could have been an unused outtake from the ‘Rage For Order’ sessions, because, as the album progresses, the band come more and into their own, and by the time ‘A Long Way Of Redemption’ rattles your ear drums it is clear that this quintet are more than capable of standing on their own two feet and producing great rock songs.
Underpinned by the tight and methodical bass of Dirk Frei and drummer David Schleif, each of the songs slowly builds from a solid foundation, showing a careful craftsmanship in the songwriting department, with a feel for the epic: the title track, for example, rumbles over the horizon in a way which builds anticipation for the coming storm, before roaring into life with a rollicking, albeit ‘Rӱcheian riff, which curls and snaps around an infectious melody, topped off by an incredible vocal performance from Dietrich and a neat double-guitar solo. New single ‘We Won’t Take It Anymore’ is edgier and sees the band increasingly demonstrating their fledgling individuality, with its angry, spitting verses and confrontation “no more” gang chant in the latter section, while still retaining their melodic metal sensibilities, especially on the uplifting choruses. The more aggressive tone is maintained on ‘Revolution In Progress’, while ‘Closer Than Yesterday’ sees Deitrich stretch his vocal range, to terrific effect, in a different direction for the album’s sole ballad.
As mentioned above, Alpha Tiger’s sound may be very firmly rooted in the “golden era” of mid-Eighties/early-Nineties nascent power metal, and they may be struggling in places in to truly find their own identity (sic), but this album is a tremendous stride forward and hopefully will help to cement their reputation as rising stars in the European metal firmament.
Intro / Lady Liberty / Scripted Reality / A Long Way Of Redemption / iDENTITY / We Won’t Take It Anymore / Revolution In Progress / Closer Than Yesterday / Shut Up & Think / This World Will Burn
Recommended listening: We Won’t Take It Anymore
‘iDENTITY’ is released on January 19 via Steamhammer/SPV.