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Tytan is one of the many lesser known bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. They have released a single and a full-length, in 1982 and 1985 respectively, when the moment just began dying and explains why the band did not get much recognition, which is surprising as it consisted of Kevin Riddles from Angel Witch and Les Binks from Judas Priest (at least on this particular release).
Rough Justice is a very good heavy metal album and my personal favorite album from the movement. The album places itself apart from other NWOBHM bands with its fairly mid-paced songs, cutting down on the aggression factor and going for an early Judas Priest-like sound, which makes it tend a little towards hard rock than heavy metal. The vocals are by Kal Swan, who was also the vocalist of the glam metal band Lion. His vocals are not over-the-top shouts, but powerful at the same time. The vocals dominate and stand out in most tracks. I could compare his vocals to quite a lot of hard rock vocalists. The guitar work is very unlike what you would expect from NWOBHM. It lacks the punk-like aggression of Tank and the crunchy sound of Jaguar or Raven, and the sound is cleaner, more akin to hard rock. Soloing is beautifully done, especially in the song The Watcher. The drumming is standard heavy metal and is handled by Les Binks, so there's not much to say about it except that it is good despite being simple. The bass is audible and crystal clear, which means the production job is very good. The pace varies with songs throughout the album. Some songs are slower while some speed up. This makes sure each track stands out from one another.
The album is long enough to keep you entertained, has quite a bit of variety, and is slightly different from your run-of-the-mill NWOBHM band. Maybe I am praising this album way too much, but it is definitely worth a try if you like digging NWOBHM or if you are a heavy metal/hard rock fan in general.
Angelwitch was a great band. It was such a great band, that, even in the occasions when it split up, it gave birth to excellent albums. Following the temporary demise of Angelwitch in 1981, bassist / keyboardist Kevin “Skidz” Riddles, together with drummer Dave Dufort, both members of Angelwitch until then, went on to team up with vocalist Danny Swan. Guitarists Stuart Adams and Stevie Gibbs were also recruited, and the result was a new band, named Tytan.
The history of Tytan turned out to be short lived: in March 1982, they signed to Kamaflage Records and later that year they managed to release their first (and final) single, by the title of “Blind Men & Fools”. After some modifications in their line up (during which famous drummers Les Binks and Simon Wright seemed to have joined the band, each one for a short period of time), they eventually recorded their first album. However, before this album was released, Kamaflage went bankrupt and Tytan, disappointed by this turn of events, decided to call it a day towards the end of 1983.
Then, suddenly, somewhere in the summer of 1985, Tytan’s album “Rough Justice” appeared on the selves of music stores. What had happened? According to Malc Macmillan’s “NWOBHM Encyclopaedia”, advance copies of the original ten - track album had been circulated on cassette back in 1983. The released version included two songs that were not originally intended to be on the album, “Cold Bitch” and “The Watcher”, while it omitted two tracks that were supposed to be on the album, “Nothing Ever Lasts” and “Hold On”.
Nowadays, “Rough Justice” has acquired cult status and is considered to be one of NWOBHM’s finest moments. It fully deserves this characterization. Both Swan and Riddles are not only great musicians, but also accomplished songwriters, and this is reflected in their compositions. Comparisons to Angelwitch seem inevitable: one soon finds out that the songs of “Rough Justice” do not have the occult, dark atmosphere that the music of Angelwitch possesses. Riddlez originally thought that Tytan could perform some songs of Angelwitch live, yet this idea was eventually rejected, as the creations of Angelwitch didn’t seem to share a lot in common with the new material. In fact, there’s a light, almost humorous element running through some of the tracks of “Rough Justice” (observe, for example, the middle part of “Ballad Of Edward Case”). Riddles’ keyboards, whenever employed, seem to work towards this end: they’re not as gloomy as they were in “Angelwitch”, for instance, but rather try to convey an easy - going, melodic, at times perhaps even commercial, feeling. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the songs of “Rough Justice” lose in quality. On the contrary, most of them may not be as heavy as “Angel Of Death” or “Sorcerers”, yet, either when playing fast (“Cold Bitch”, “Far Cry”), either when using mid - tempo speeds (“Money For Love”, “The Watcher”), or when deciding to slow down (“Sadman”), Tytan seem able to deliver excellent music, with catchy riffs and sing along refrains. The lyrics are typical of a NWOBHM band: not to deep or sophisticated, but honest enough to entertain, putting the finger on every day facts of life (women, deception, defiance).
Until recently, “Rough Justice” was relatively hard to find, much to the disappointment of NWOBHM fans. However, the fact that it has been re-released made it fortunately possible for all of us to enjoy this jewel. So, if you are into NWOBHM and happen to come across this record, don’t miss the opportunity to give it a chance: it will most likely not disappoint you.