Whenever the era of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is discussed, most name the obvious ones, some mourn the ones that got away and some (me included) say “How the hell did (insert band name here) become so successful when bands such as the Tygers Of Pan Tang had to struggle and yet still delivered such high quality rock as on The Cage, Crazy Nights and Spellbound?”
Until this lockdown is over and the Tygers finish the recruiting of a new guitarist and are back in their natural habitat (on stage) we have a reissue to keep us company. Ambush was originally released in 2012 but the guys have decided to put it out again with two bonus studio and two live tracks. I’ve listened to both versions back to back and I must admit the sound is a little fuller and the separation is better, giving the opportunity to hear the various instruments with increased clarity. Strangely most are a second or two longer with the great, near-epic ‘Burning Desire’ – although that extended fade is still there, dammit! Other highlights are the chugging commerciality of ‘Hey Suzy’, the very NWOBHM ‘Rock ’n Roll Dream’, the irresistible rock of ‘Man On Fire’, and the cracking ‘Speed’.
The bonuses are very live, live versions of ‘Keeping Me Alive’ and ‘These Eyes’. The other two include ‘Cruel Hands Of Time’, an outtake from the original sessions that is a solid rock effort and available as a digital single. Then ‘Rock and Roll Dream’ is a demo version and, while raw, it has a power and feel that I actually prefer and, for Tygers fans, is worth the purchase alone.
So, apart from the extras, there is a limited appeal to existing fans but if you don’t know this hard-working, bloody good band, it’s a fine place to start.