Tuesday, April 10, 2007

TYGERS OF PAN TANG: (1980)Wild Cat (MCA)

Hailing from tiny Whitley Bay in the Northeast of England, the Tygers of Pan Tang (whose name originated from a Michael Moorcock novel called Stormbringer) were formed when aspiring singer Jess Cox met guitarist Robb Weir at the local pub in November 1978. Weir, along with bassist Rocky and drummer Brian Dick, had recently formed a band combining the lessons of early-'70s heavy metal legends such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with the do-it-yourself ethos of punk -- an emerging style eventually dubbed the new wave of British heavy metal. After much rehearsing and gigging in the surrounding area the foursome recorded a number of demos at Impulse Studios, whose owners Neat Records released their first single "Don't Touch Me There" in September 1979. Relentless touring across Britain would follow, supporting such childhood heroes as the Scorpions and Budgie, as well as NWOBHM peers like Iron Maiden and Saxon. They also signed a deal with MCA and entered London's Morgan Studios in June to record their proper debut, Wildcat, which went straight into the British charts at number 18 upon its released in July 1980. Looking to beef up their sound, the band added virtuoso guitarist John Sykes just in time for their biggest gig ever at that year's Reading Festival. Yet, despite this promising start, singer Cox decided to quit the group at year's end, citing the ever-popular "musical differences" and going on to form the short-lived Lionheart with recently ousted Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton. Ex-Persian Risk vocalist Jon Deverill was drafted to replace him and the revitalized Tygers of Pan Tang kicked off 1981 firing on all cylinders. Widely considered their best album, Spellbound hit the streets in April 1981, and was followed by another bout of touring which kept them nipping at the heels of NWOBHM powerhouses Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Def Leppard. Things began to unravel when MCA forced the band to write and record a follow-up in only three weeks, resulting in the uneven Crazy Nights, released in November 1981. European dates in support of Ian Gillan followed, but guitarist Sykes quit abruptly to join Thin Lizzy upon their return to England (eventually achieving even greater success with Whitesnake and Blue Murder). The band soldiered on with new six-stringer Fred Purser, whose more commercial leanings were heard on 1982's disappointing The Cage album. Everyone seemed to be giving up on the Tygers, including their management, which dropped the band just prior to a sold-out tour of Japan. After a brief attempt at self-management, the group decided to call it quits later that year, and a 1983 greatest-hits set seemed to close the book on the Tygers of Pan Tang. Surprisingly, Deverill and Dick would resurrect a glammed-up version of the band in 1985 with guitarists Steve Lamb and Neil Shepard, and bassist Dave Donaldson. They released two albums: 1985's The Wreck-Age and 1987's Burning in the Shade (featuring Shepard's replacement Steve Thompson on guitar), both of which went absolutely nowhere and prompted another, apparently final split. 1986 also saw the release of the original band's 1980 Impulse Studio demos by Neat Records, under the title First Kill. In 2001 the Tygers released Live at Wacken, which was mostly recorded at the independent European metal festival of the same name. Live at Nottingham Rock City followed the same year.... by Ed Rivadavia, AMG

1. Euthanasia
2. Slave to Freedom
3. Don't Touch Me There
4. Money
5. Killers
6. Firedown
7. Wild Catz
8. Suzie Smiled
9. Badger Badger
10. Insanity
Covers: Yes
Bitrate: 192 kbps
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