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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.