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“…I hope you realize the cost of your decision, can’t you see that you were wrong…”
When the internal order of almighty Angel Witch began experiencing problems sometime in ’81 (or probably before), drummer Dave Dufort and bassist Kevin 'Skidz' Riddles evaded burning at the stake and formed Tytan, an eventual five-piece that is at times a little more commercial than the group they’d left, but in other instances flex larger muscles.
Normally a disparaging branding, the record’s commercialism isn’t a sin to the music. In fact, it really only penetrates the extremely catchy title track, a cut that infiltrated my regular playlist years ago and only gets more admiration from me as time passes. “Blind Men and Fools” is one of those breakout hits that never got spotted, a description that admittedly sounds dangerously death knell-ish. Nah, this is a really cool tune. Vocalist Kal Swan steers clear of the hairless, adolescent tone typifying the day’s metal crowd including former AW band mate Kevin Heybourne and sets roots in a more masculine tenor on par with, but not really reminiscent of, future Omen frontman J.D. Kimball. The contagious, backing vocal-woven chorus is the chandelier that sheds light on the song’s epic, vocally soared launch and its tough-skinned verse that strides with much confidence. Sounding anything but British, it’s one of those pieces that never should have fallen into uncharted waters and every time I give it a foot up and out, it’s usually well received.
“The Ballad of Edward Chase” is hastily paced with a story that’s fleshed out just as swiftly, a spectacle as hard as anything AW previously commanded and even Ozzy’s best hauler of the time would have difficulty outrunning. Steve Gibbs bridges the handful of rhythmic breaks with some electrified solos which sets up the rest of the story, alienated from the rest of the track and along similar lines to the tale chronicled like the intro to Kiss’s “Detroit Rock City” or the interlude of Meat Loaf’s “Bat out of Hell” – the ignition of a motorcycle or car, then a detonation – oddly enough the song finishes with the same explosive pace, as if the tragedy didn’t actually happen. Heretical, recycled laughter fades out the end. Strange.
Now the 7” and its pair of songs is fine, but the 12” version features “Sad Men”, a track that starts out acoustically fragile with Swan’s vocals swimming delicately in a loftier, higher-toned pool. Both elements are emotionally fueled, so far the real ballad of the ep, but when a main riff bent heavily around Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell-era, or even the forbidding chorus of their former band’s “Sorcerers”, drawls through, it suddenly turns into something more mischievous or even intimately blacker. Now logically complimented with compelling Dio-esque vocals, this turn of events turns yet again, regaining and ending on the song’s original frailty.
With lyrics not as grim as Angel Witch's, Tytan proved they could write songs that mattered on a larger level; creations with emotion, fire, and infectiousness. But despite the AV birthright, Blind Men and Fools is a bit of a surprise release. A minor one, of course, but still very enjoyable from a somewhat eclectic style that, with these three tracks, sounded more veteran than it was.
I have this sneaking suspicion that the ep’s title, song and its lyrics, with its ‘Liar(s)’-chanted chorus, has something to do with the men Riddles and Dufort left behind.
Not to be confused with Tryton, Tyton, or any of the Titans