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Robb Weir has always declared to be enthusiastic about this new work, often defining it as a return to the early sounds of the band and really, in the booklet of the album, as the album the fans of Tygers have been waiting 26 years for (that is since the split happened in 1983 for discographic reasons mainly, without considering the artificial resurrection of 1985).
Concerning the former statement, we can say it's true. Tygers Of Pan Tang in 2008 play a very raw and versatile heavy rock, built around long sequences of riffs which are now straight metallic (“Bury The Hatchet”), now heavy and sharpened (“Live For The Day”, “Let It Burn”), now ever moving and agile rocking (“Live For The Day”, “Let It Burn”), but always well built and perfectly played on a Thin Lizzy-like way of twin spinning guitars (“Cry Sweet Freedom”); all with an energy and cleverness that are alien to many younger acts. It's like the riffing of “Wild Cat” was ridden by the refined singing of “Spellbound”, and indeed the new Jacopo Meille (new so to say, since he's been part of the band since the leaving of Richie Wicks in 2004) is close to the range and refinement of John Deverill, even if they don't miss some more mainstream and polished touch à la “Crazy Nights” and “The Cage”.
The latter statement, instead and unfortunately, is a bit exaggerated: “Animal Instinct” is a very nice album, but does not hit the target fully likewise the previous “Sounds From The Cathouse”, a less raw but no less powerful album (and maybe even more metal oriented). There are some great pieces like “Rock Candy”, “Cry Sweet Freedom”, “Live For Today” (not casually the first three) and “Hot Blooded”, but also some filler (“Winners & Losers”, “Cruisin'”).
For the rest the album never fails, but doesn't even astonish, mostly for the lack of superior quality refrains, and this marks the distance from “Spellbound”. An album that on stage is destined to grow in beauty, but which I don't know if can shake those NWOBHM is just a historical phenomenon for.
Originally written for Silent Scream www.silentscreamzine.com