Tysondog – “Cry Havoc” (Rocksector Records)
Beware of the dog! Man, I remember these Geordie dogs from back in ’82, when they were hot footing it after Venom and Raven as they exploded out’ve the north east of England. Along with bands like Avenger and Satan, Tysondog formed the last wave of NWOBHM and by the mid 80s, were being touted by the press as one of the next big ones. With Cronos producing their albums and even playing Holland’s prestigious Dynamo Festival, their futures looked to be set big especially on the continent where the new faster and heavier styles of metal were being craved rabidly by massive European audiences. As (bad) luck would have it though, it was not meant to be as cancelled support tours, work permit hassles in the US and finally personal injury resulted in the band being dropped by their label around ’87. In limbo for the next 21 years, Tysondog faded into the mists of time as various members flitted in between other bands to no real success, quit metal altogether or in the case of guitarist Paul Burdis, joined the Royal Marines! But the fire of the dog was still there, and a few years back the core of Burdis, bassist Kev Wynn and vocalist Clutch Carruthers re-started their engines, have gradually worked their way back thanks to those European audiences, who never forgot the dog and told their sons and grandsons. Even in the UK, Tysondog had always retained a cult status so having played last year’s SOS Festival, the band were pleasantly surprised to signed on the spot to Rocksector Records. With none other than Jeff ‘Mantas’ Dunn producing the album it was time indeed to “Cry Havoc” and let slip the Tysondog once more! Joining the core would be veteran drummer Phil Brewis (Blitzkrieg, Satan) and new guitarist Steve Morrison from the Judas Priest tribute band Judas Rising. Ironically still based around a more intense Priest sound, it’s still the same old dog but wisely the band have learned from their past by adopting a few subtle modern touches here n there rather than rolling out a full retro rehash – clearly this is a band that has missed the stage and now want to get back in there with material that smashes live crowds just like they used to. Heavy, chugging metal riffs rip n tear as metallic melodies slice mercilessly just like bullets from Burdis’s flaming axe while Morrison unleashes endless breaks and fireball solos to send this canine beast into overdrive on songs like ‘Playing With Fire’, ‘Crash And Burn’ and ‘Shadow Of The Beast’. Carruthers’s vocals dance admirably between metallic highs and a more gritty rock style that does fine justice to the new material while the searing rhythm of Wynn and Brewis’ hammering double bass work prove that there’s plenty of bite left in this barking dog!!