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Still mostly metal at this point. - 80%

hells_unicorn, December 30th, 2010

While Tygers Of Pan Tang generally tend to receive praise for their first two albums, “Crazy Nights” is not mentioned as much. Why this is the case escapes me, as it is a solid slab of crunchy, riff driven NWOBHM that differs primarily in that it’s a little bit slower and gets more into the relationship side of the lyrical paradigm. Singing about women and interpersonal relationships isn’t necessarily out of bounds for this era, although there does also seem to be a slightly more bluesy character to the riffs. It doesn’t quite get as overtly AC/DC like the way Def Leppard’s “High N’ Dry” did, but there is a small but noticeable divergence going on here.

Things largely follow a basic format, with riffs that are fairly similar to some of the more rocking songs on Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell” such as “Lady Evil” and “Walk Away”, with a guitar sound that actually isn’t too far removed from the crunchy, punchy tone of said album. Jon Deverill’s smoother, slightly crooning voice is about as present as it is on the later, more mainstream sounding “The Cage”, but doesn’t really detract from the razor edged goodness on display here. Even the slow grooving, 4 chord banging opener “Do It Good” is just a little too heavy for a party song, even though the lyrics have that aura and Deverill’s vocals sound about as hard rock as Robert Plant.

As things progress, a duality of Deep Purple styled riffing (mostly of the earlier 70s era) and large sounding chorus sections is basically the norm. The happy-go-lucky “Love Don’t Stay” is almost fit for rock radio, save that really hard edged principle riff that’s about as heavy as what Accept was putting out at the time. “Running Out Of Time” speeds things up and goes in more of a Riot direction, pretty similar to that of “Narita” actually, but perhaps a tiny bit simpler. And the fun as hell “Raised On Rock” has a nice busy, bluesy groove to it that is somewhat reminiscent of Boston’s “Smokin’”, but without the rock organ and at a faster tempo. There’s also some good bonus material on here, including the galloping wonder “Slip Away”, which sounds like a throwback to “Spellbound” and probably would have made what was already a great album even better had it been on there.

At the end of the day, this is something that is still rock solid and shouldn’t be passed up despite being a little bit more rocking than the previous two. But it’s definitely far removed stylistically from the overt AOR and big hair 80s tendencies of “The Cage”, let alone the keyboard steeped arena party rock that came after. “Spellbound” should be at the top of the list for anyone looking to experience good NWOBHM, but this isn’t too far behind.