Due for release via Rocksector Records on 24th Sept. 2012, Ambush, the Tygers Of Pan Tang’s second full length album since their reformation by original guitarist Robb Weir in 2001 just goes to prove that you cannot keep a good nwobhm band down! Formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay, their debut Wild Cat was released on MCA Records in 1980, they went onto record another 3 studio albums with Robb before splitting up in 1982 due to frustration caused by MCA. The 2008 release of comeback album Animal Instinct showed great promise, receiving rave reviews but the follow up Ambush blows it clean out of the water!
All 11 songs here are balls to the wall hard rock songs with massive guitar riffs, clinical guitar solos, a tight rhythm section and have more catchy hooks than a fishing tackle shop! At least 8 of Ambush’s songs have rock radio appeal due to the care taken into the songwriting and from the vocal delivery of Italian born Jacopo Meille. He joined the Tygers in 2004 as an unknown but his performances on Animal Instinct and Ambush will soon diffuse that tag.
Personal highlights are album opener and my favourite track , ‘Keeping Me Alive’. A few acoustic guitar bars are taken over by an electric taking over the same riff before a trademark nwobhm groove kicks in with the first soaring vocal by Jacopo. There is a killer guitar solo at 4 minutes and the choruses are instantly memorable. In fact, on first hearing, the song, it reminded me of a faster version of ‘She’s Got Balls’ by AC/DC! Once again a huge riff comes in, this time opening the second track ‘These Eyes’, a mid paced rocker, bringing to mind vintage UFO. ‘One Of A Kind’, given the right push could be single material, commercial rock at it’s best but still with plenty of bite. On seeing the title ‘Rock And Roll Dream’ I expected a ballad but was soon proven wrong as the hard riffs give way to the vocals, sung with just the drums/bass backing them, followed by ripping guitar solos. ‘She’ is a Scorpion’s style stomper with huge choruses and a neat midsection of Spanish acoustic guitars and castanets. ‘Man On Fire’ seems to have the vocals higher in the mix than any other song on the album, driving the track with a tempo similar to Kiss’ ‘Cold Gin’. ‘Play To Win’ is uptempo metal, the lyrics are gambling orientated with multi tracked guitar solos as it ends with a soundbite of a roulette ball coming to a stop. ‘Hey Suzie’ sees the return of the character first featured in the Tyger’s 1980 single ‘Suzie Smiled’. It’s chugging rhythms interspersed with a guitar talk box. Album closer ‘Speed’ does exactly what it says and could easily have been lifted from the Wild Cats album, such is it’s rawness and contains a stratospheric vocal from Jacopo.
Ambush was recorded/produced/engineered by the legendary Chris Tsangarides who also produced the Tyger’s first 2 albums Wild Cats in 1980 and Spellbound in 1981. Chris may be the Tyger’s lucky talisman as he helped the rebirth of Anvil when he produced their This Is 13 album in 2009, also recorded in the same studio as Ambush in Deal,Dover. The Ambush cover artwork is eye catching to say the least, created by famed artist Rodney Matthews, noted for his work with Thin Lizzy, The Scorpions and Nazareth to name but a few.
Although Ambush is not on general release until Sept. 24th, a ltd. edition of 300 fanpacks can be ordered from Aug. 1st via the band’s website which will be dispatched no later than Sept. 8th. It includes the Ambush cd, Ambush guitar pick, a poster of the original album artwork signed by Rodney Matthews and a postcard featuring song lyrics. It is housed in a high quality cd box with a metallic Tygers Of Pan Tang band logo. As an added bonus, each buyer is entered into a free draw with the first 5 winners receiving a signed 12″ vinyl copy from the Spellbound sessions and a signed cymbal from the same sessions. It retails at £12.99 with free postage to the UK and the rest of Europe with a £3 postage charge to the rest of the world……….i have ordered my copy, don’t leave it too late to order yours!
Tygers Of Pan Tang band line up :-
Robb Weir – Guitars.
Jacopo Meille – Vocals.
Dean Robertson – Guitars.
Gavin Gray – Bass.
Craig Ellis – Drums/percussion.
Ambush album track listing :-
Keeping Me Alive.
One Of A Kind.
Rock And Roll Dream.
Man On Fire.
Play To Win.
I award the Ambush album a sabre toothed 9/10!