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Good, but difficult to recall afterwards - 72%

Napero, October 13th, 2012

Tiger Cult was a Brazilian band that managed to release just a single full-length album, and perhaps the only thing worth mentioning in its career is the fact that their female member is not the keyboard player as tradition would dictate, but the lead guitarist in the band. And that's where the mentionable deviations from the basic metal band formula pretty much end. It's a decent band, and the album is OK, but on the other hand, there's little in the way of innovation beyond good songwriting and skilled playing.

The music is based on rather uplifting basic heavy metal, but spiced with grumpy influence from melodic death and infused with the joyous plummeting of power metal. The faster parts have plenty of mildly too timid European power metal galloping for the album to count as an actual power metal full-length, and certain riffing, and the vocals especially, owe much to Nordic melodeath. There are mandatory guitar solos in every song, and they seem to stick to a more traditional 80s formula than the other influences. And there are dozens of small, entertaining glimpses of brief, enjoyable fragments, but none of those really get developed beyond just throwing them out there. It's a waste of ideas, really, and settling for a ten second interlude with something nifty is a pity, since many of those sections could have made a song, had they been expanded and left to evolve for a while.

As a technical performance, Cold and Terrible is a very well-made album; there's nothing to complain about, except that the vocals and drumming could have used turning the "anger" dial up to around 8 instead of 4 or thereabouts. The growling is OK as it is, but what's the point of growling, if it's not meant for roughness and aggression? The production job is very good, and there's nothing missing or overdone in the sound.

Eventually, the rating of Cold and Terrible depends on the songwriting. Since there's nothing to complain about on the technical side, the enjoyability is hanging in the balance, and the quality and catchiness of the songs is the deciding factor. And that's where the shortcomings lie, unfortunately. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the songs, and the band would no doubt have been a pretty good live group, but as an album, there's lamentably little to stick in the mind. The songs come and go, and while there's nothing irritating about them, there's nothing to take home afterwards, either. Towards the end of the album, some of the songs show a bit of extra bad temper, and "Slave to Emptiness", for example is a rather dark and mean song, although the friendly production removes some of the darkness from it; as it happens, one of the most power metallic parts on the album, the beginning of "Mad Lawyer", follows immediately after the track ends, and the almost amusingly flowery gallop spoils the little oasis of anger that the song created.

Now, in the European scene, Tiger Cult would probably be a little-known local favourite of a limited regional club scene. What their status in the Brazilian scene was remains a mystery to a European, but knowing that they only managed to squeeze out one full-length during roughly a decade of existence, they probably never truly made it big domestically, either.

Cold and Terrible is a good, listenable album, and displays professional ability. Unfortunately, that's pretty much it, and it never really takes off and spreads its wings, despite obvious skill an potential. The third album of this band would probably have been an interesting thing to listen to, but as it happened, the second album never saw the light of day, either, and the third one, with the mature ideas and a clear directions, wasn't ever going to be.

Decent, but nothing to write home about.