Tygers of Pan Tang

Animal Instinct Two

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This current incarnation seems a bit of a flash in the Pan Tang, for the only familiar face from the group's early-'80s heyday is guitarist Robb Weir. The rest are all far more recent additions, although it's only fair to say that, with a continuously shifting membership having dogged the Tygers since their earliest days, even hardcore fans would be hard-pressed to identify the band's "classic lineup." So this is as good a contender as any. Animal Instinct Two is really a showcase for Weir's guitar, but the old Tyger has surrounded himself with powerful playmates all the same. Particularly fine support comes from fellow axeman Dean Robertson, while the powerhouse rhythm section is a force to be reckoned with. Iacopo Meille, though, is the real revelation. The Italian singer -- whose career previously revolved around metal cover bands -- proves he's not just ready for prime time, he's ready for the big time as well. Capturing all the excitement that the NWOBHM first ignited, the set makes the entire genre feel new again, with Weir knocking out steely solos like his life was at stake, set around infectious melodies and anthemic choruses. "Cry Sweet Freedom," "Let It Burn," and "Winners & Losers" are the standouts in a head-held-high field, with this reissue adding five bonus tracks, including the chant-along "Live for the Bay" and a sizzling remodeling of the band's old hit cover "Love Potion No 9." An accompanying DVD adds even more songs to the occasion, all filmed during the album's recording in 2008.

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