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Killer heavy metal from the first riff. - 90%

Zodijackyl, July 1st, 2013

Tysondog came along a bit later in the NWOBHM, perhaps eluding success because of their timing, but way ahead of the curve with seriously fucking killer riffs. In addition to having one of the most badass and British names I've ever heard, Clutch Carruthers has a unique voice that is both soaring and relaxed, reminiscent of Kevin Nugent from Legend (the one that released "From the Fjords") in how he sounds relaxed but both emotional and powerful, and a bit more intense and metal than Nugent's laid-back prog/hard rock voice.

The first riff on the album is just a complete knockout, one of those melodic and powerful NWOBHM riffs that carries melody and force, a mix of a power chord and root note chug followed by a lead melody, cycling through a couple chords and patterns. The existence of this riff alone puts countless bands to shame, from the power-metal-inspired melodeath bands that try to make riffs like this but just can't write such a serious, ass-kicking riff, to power metal bands who tried to write big riffs but just don't have anything like this up their sleeve. It's just such a huge, amazing riff that I can't help but thing that nearly any band who didn't write this riff would be infinitely better if they had it. Though it still has an old, NWOBHM feel, it could even hold up in a heavier power/speed metal record from a later year.

While the entire album isn't knockout riffs that make you stop what you're doing and repeat them until you're satisfied that they were as good as they seemed the first time, it's a great mix of perfectly phrased and tasteful riffing with soulful, smooth heavy metal vocals. This isn't juiced-up pub rock, this is heavy metal with a vocalist who is OK with putting his voice at the forefront and even offering the vibe of songs with his picturesque tone. There are tons of riffs that range from the typical heavy metal of chugging for a line with a tail on the end, to precisely-phrased sliding power chords, to rocking heavy metal headbangers.

This is one of the treasures of the NWOBHM, lost amidst a lot of great bands from Newcastle and a lot of bands who came earlier. Even with the help of Venom frontman Cronos producing this and attempting to take the band to support them in the US a few years later - which fell through due to visa issues - they never found great success. They secured a record deal by recording a demo tape live and finding the head of a local record company in a parking lot to give it to him. Seems that great music couldn't buy success back then, nor could it now, but Tysondog are an excellent heavy metal band and certainly one that hasn't seen enough exposure to earn the credit they deserve.

Listen to this, you won't be able to turn it off starting from the first riff.

Don't Fuck With The Dog! - 89%

dystopia4, June 27th, 2013

Tysondog predominantly play under the NWOBHM style, but influences from speed metal and even the occasional nod to arena rock are present. This plays the traditional style, and does it damn well. Catchy riffs, soaring vocals and fiery solos all make for memorable debut album. Perhaps it is due to their fairly ridiculous name, but this band often gets overlooked when it comes to which NWOBHM people still go back to. That is unfortunate and surely should be remedied. This is a damn catchy album and features some killer guitar work.

The release blasts off with what is probably its best song - "Hammerhead". Closer to Iron Maiden than anything else here, this slays from the beginning and never lets up. While the riffing and lead work are great, it is really the songwriting, brought to life by a stellar vocal performance, that makes this something worth coming back to again and again. The next song "Dog Soldiers" (haha, really?) is the second best, having a huge arena sound. Unfortunately this quality can't be kept up for the entire album, but they surely try. And they do come close at times. Yeah, and just for the record the third song is the third best track on the album, so you can probably see a pattern emerging. Despite much of the best work being clustered at the beginning, this is enjoyable throughout, and the songwriting is consistently catchy.

The riffs, while obviously metal, often feature hints of rock. And yup, often of the arena variety. They go for a sound that's really easy to get into. The riffing often drifts into speed/proto-thrash territory. The vocals aren't quite as falsetto as other bands in this style, but still are the farthest thing from low pitched. The lead guitarist can really shred, and has no qualms of going full speed frequently. There is one track here not like the rest, the album closer, which is aptly titled "In The End". This is a metal ballad. Alright, to be honest this feels like what the light track would be on a cheese-heavy glam metal record, where the band members dress more feminine than their girlfriends. It's not great, but it could have been worse and it does approach heavier territory while time goes on, as well as featuring some nice sexy leads.

This is just a good record that's fun to listen to. They don't pull any punches, just going for catchy songs that have a lasting effect. This is a sadly underrated triumph of the NWOBHM sound. I still think if they had a better name they very well could have made it. "Hammerhead" is especially great, worming its way into your head and taking up residency there, refusing to be evicted. This is an all around enjoyable record with great songs and some bitchin' guitar work.