Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hex A.D. & Tygers Of Pan Tang conjure up a heavy metal storm in Oslo, Norway

What better way to spend a Sunday evening in mid-May than witnessing two superb acts deliver the goods in front of a relatively small yet devoted and appreciative audience at John Dee in Oslo? Following a warm and relaxing day in Norway’s capital city, we headed to the aforementioned venue to witness the amazing Hex A.D. and the inimitable Tygers of Pan Tang tear it up on stage. It turned out to be a splendid ending to the weekend and a highly enjoyable event with a friendly and inviting vibe to it.

While the Norwegian act Hex A.D. has a rather unique style that incorporates classic heavy metal, doom metal, and arguably even hints of hazy stoner rock, British legends Tygers of Pan Tang are one of the great purveyors of NWOBHM and pure heavy metal, and it was interesting to witness how the two outfits differed from a musical perspective while simultaneously complementing each other in that both of them obviously have their roots firmly planted in classic metal. I simply loved the idea of them appearing on a bill together.

Hex A.D. released the stunning Delightful Sharp Edges via Apollon Records just a few weeks ago, which is undoubtedly an early candidate for album of the year in the humble opinion of this scribe, and it was magnificent to experience ‘The Memory Division’ and ‘Radio Terror’ in particular from said LP in a live setting. Their forty-minute set contained songs both old and new and embodied the very idea of dynamics in that their sprawling epics contain a seemingly infinite amount of light and shade. If you wanted monstrously huge chords and thunderous riffs capable of levelling the building coupled with reflective and calm passages not to mention an abundance of 70s-inspired influences that would have made Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Uriah Heep proud, you had come to the right place. With the talented ensemble’s strong melodic flair and ability to conjure up a muscular groove, they also evoked the spirit and feel of Black Sabbath in places, and I am referring to some of the lesser-known yet still brilliant eras of that pioneering band as opposed to the early classics featuring Ozzy at the vocal helm. You seriously ought to check this awe-inspiring quartet out as soon as humanly possible.

Tygers of Pan Tang went on stage at 9 PM and immediately grabbed our attention, and there can be no doubt that sole original member Robb Weir and his talented cohorts know perfectly well what it means to serve up a fiery and kick-ass heavy metal cocktail consisting of memorable riffs, brilliant vocal hooks, melodically impressive solos that you can actually hum along to, and a rock-solid rhythm section that packs some serious punch. The set list was quite the treat in that it was comprised of timeless classics, brand-new songs from the recent album titled Bloodlines, and a couple of relatively obscure entries that undoubtedly surprised many of us. There was energy in spades throughout the performance, but more importantly, there were lots of smiles on stage, and you could tell that they were having fun and enjoying themselves at John Dee. On top of that, the sound was terrific and lacked neither clarity nor power. Who could possibly resist such fist-pumping anthems as ‘Keeping Me Alive’, ‘Gangland’, ‘Only the Brave’, and ‘Suzie Smiled’? The crowd were loving it, and the inclusion of ‘Love Don’t Stay’ from the Crazy Nights LP added a nice touch to the evening. However, I was mostly looking forward to experiencing the new material in a live setting, and I am pleased to announce that ‘Edge of the World’, ‘Fire on the Horizon’, and especially the bass-heavy ‘Back for Good’ from the aforementioned Bloodlines LP received heaps of positive feedback and sounded even better here than on the actual record. ‘Hellbound’ and the entertaining rendition of the immortal ‘Love Potion No. 9’ by The Clovers served as encores and made sure the event ended in a blaze of heavy metal pyrotechnics. The 70-minute gig felt concise and to the point without losing its momentum along the way as the Tygers made every second count.

Jens Nepper
Jens Nepper
Born and raised in Denmark, currently living in Norway, and hopelessly addicted to coffee and Black Sabbath.

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