Tygers Of Pan Tang – “The Tygers Sessions: The First Wave” (Skol Records)
Hailing from Whitley Bay in England, the mystically named Tygers Of Pan Tang formed part of the second generation of NWOBHM bands and certainly lived up to their name sounding at times as sweet as a kitten whilst elsewhere could claw you to death! Effortlessly mixing melody with heavy rock and later metal, the Tygers were famed for having legendary vocalist Jess Cox in their mark 1 line-up and later John James Sykes (of Thin Lizzy and later Whitesnake fame). Achieving success themselves with the charting of their debut “Wildcat”, the band were soon signed to MCA – and soon after the problems began as continuing pressure from the major label to release commercial covers led to legal wrangles and the inevitable break up. Subsequent partial line up reformations and albums proved fruitless until 1998, when Jess Cox and founder guitarist Robb Weir jammed at Wacken and sparked a resurgence of interest in the band, which led to a follow up show and a live album. Since then Weir has continued the Tygers with an entirely new line up, so this strictly limited edition of 11 re-recorded classic numbers by the new group is something truly special! Inspired by the anniversary EP releases “The Wildcat Sessions” and “The Spellbound Sessions”, which were only available through the band’s fan-club and quickly sold out, the material in my opinion comes from the band’s golden era with songs like ‘Gangland’, ‘Take It’ and ‘Hellbound’ being my personal faves right from back in the day to even now! The new band is up to par, especially vocalist Jacopo Meille who does fine justice to both Jess Cox’s rockier and Jon Deverill’s more soulful styles, adding his own rock panache along with harmonies that in some cases gives a modern rock take on some songs without losing the essence of where they came from while amping others up beyond their original glory. With Weir maintaining firm quality control, its clear that a lot of effort as been put in (right down to even recreating the placements of the microphones to their original position!) to achieve the classic ‘live’ sound that made this band so special and deserved of their fame back in the day. Complete with a thick booklet of lyrics, liner notes and lot of previously unseen pictures, even the cover artwork is drawn from that era, making for a heartfelt tribute to the history of the band that continues in fine form to this day.