Robb Weir is never a man to take what he has for granted. Having led Tygers Of Pan Tang since their first album through a number of line-up changes, he recognises that the current Tygers are probably the strongest since they were at the forefront of the NWOBHM. The original band, who made four albums for MCA Records, survived the unexpected departure of Jess Cox to run Neat Records and later John Sykes, who was bound for Thin Lizzy and a multi-million seller with Whitesnake. What they didn’t survive was their greatest commercial success with the album ‘The Cage‘. However, Weir, ever the optimist, formed a new version of the band to both play the old material and write songs that would represent this ‘new’ Tygers. The backbone of the band – Craig Ellis on drums, together with Jack Meille on vocals, have now been together for considerably longer than the first Tygers and were recently joined by Francesco Marras on guitar, and Huw Holding on bass. Francesco arrived via solo and session work that has made him a go-to guitarist, and Huw has history of working with NWOBHM bands such as Blitzkrieg, Avenger and Holosade.
Recording an EP (‘A New Heartbeat‘) to celebrate their re-signing with Mighty Music, the Tygers demonstrated just how potent the new lineup was becoming. Re-recording two songs from their first album to complement the two new songs on the EP gave listeners the chance to evaluate Francesco Marras’ contribution, and the reaction was entirely positive. Following this with a tour that took in six countries across Europe both Francesco and Huw have been amazed at the reaction to the new line-up. Fans old and new have turned up to lend their support to the continuing story of the Tygers.
Now the band are all set for the release of their new album, ‘Bloodlines‘. Recorded entirely by the musicians who comprise the current line-up, it is a tour de force of what made the NWOBHM such a potent force in music. The songs, all self-penned, successfully demonstrate just how well the core of Weir, Meille and Ellis have blended with the new boys. New Danish producer Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Moonspell, Sick Of It All) has brought a contemporary edge to the traditional Tygers sound and immediately bonded with the band, recognising just what it was they were looking for. Still metal at its core, the melodic vocals and exemplary guitar solos ensure that the songs are worthy rivals to the very best of their back catalog.
The last word comes from Robb Weir, whose dream created the Tygers all those years ago. “I feel as confident with our new lineup as I did all those years ago when ‘Wildcat‘ appeared on the shelves and it was given a unanimous thumbs up. Our recent live shows have demonstrated a harmony within the band and, coupled with the quality of ‘Bloodlines‘, the potential to create music and perform live shows for some considerable time to come.”
‘Bloodlines‘ will be released on LP (black and red vinyl, with the latter being limited to 500), CD and digital formats via Mighty Music on May 5th, 2023. Pre-orders are available here.
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