Tygers of Pan Tang


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Spellbound represented an amazing evolution for the Tygers of Pan Tang, especially considering that it was released a mere six months after their very rough and unpolished debut. Simply put, the addition of versatile new vocalist Jon Deverill and brilliant guitarist John Sykes (yes -- that John Sykes) helped improve the Tygers' musicianship and songwriting abilities to no end, allowing producer Chris Tsangarides to exact an infinitely superior (if not as innocently charming) performance of the band from a technical perspective. With a muscular brand of metal lying somewhere between Def Leppard and Saxon, the revitalized group had all of their bases covered and only MCA (frequently referred to as the "Musical Cemetery of America" in those days) could possibly squander the potential of memorable numbers like "Gangland," "Take It," and the especially hook-laden "The Story So Far." Other highlights include "Mirror," one of the band's best power ballads, and "Don't Stop By," where Sykes takes the first great solo of his career, showcasing both the stunning technical mastery and fluid musicality which would become his trademarks. And despite containing the odd clunker, like the pointless instrumental interlude "Minotaur" and the rather one-dimensional "Silver and Gold," Spellbound still ranks as one of the more consistent and impressive early albums of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and should satisfy all first-time customers. [The 1997 CD reissue of Spellbound by Edgy Records offers an impressive number of bonus tracks (five in all) and band photos, along with extensive biographical notes and technical credits to boot.]

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