In a day and age when so many bands are concerned with down tuned guitars , awful screams, and stupid breakdowns it is very refreshing to see a great band like ALPHA TIGER waving the flag for the Golden Age of Metal. One listen to these guys and you’ll instantly be reminded of early to mid-80’s QUEENSRŸCHE, FATES WARNING, and IRON MAIDEN (Yes, please!). Twin guitars locked and loaded, riffs on top of riffs, and a smooth as silk rhythm section coupled with a vocalist who actually SINGS (believe it or not!) make up the tracks on the group’s new album iDentity, their third, out February 20 via Steamhammer/SPV Records. I’ve been jamming this one pretty hard for a couple of days now because the songs just pull you in. The sequencing of the record is great, too. Clearly a lot of thought and care went into coming out of one song and leading into another, which only enhances the listening experience.
Opener “Lady Liberty” basically puts on a clinic for how to start a metal record properly. Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch’s guitars set the ass-kicking blasters to “stun” and then Stephan Dietrich lets fly with the chorus and it just feels like home. David Schleif’s drums are crisp and powerful, and bassist Dirk Frei is the glue holding it all together. This takes us right into “Scripted Reality” which could be the wicked stepson of “Speak” or “The Needle Lies” from the aforementioned QUEENSRŸCHE, and believe me that is NOT a complaint! “Long Way of Redemption” opts for finesse over power, yet it still has some biting guitar work and arguably the disc’s best hook. Yep, this is definitely one of my favorite tunes.
Langforth is the principal songwriter and what he’s come up with for the title track is nothing short of amazing. Running guitar lines, dual harmonies, and terrific structuring beg for repeat listens. One of my other favorites is next in “We Won’t Take It Anymore”, a pissed-off anthem that should get you going pretty quickly, and “Revolution in Progress” keeps things moving in an aggressive fashion. For all my metalhead friends who lift, this is a song that should be on your gym playlist.
Then from out of nowhere comes a gorgeous piano intro that the whole bands comes in behind for “Closer Than Yesterday”. I was completely blown away by this one, I can’t even lie. It really took me back to a better time. Speedster “Shut Up & Think” is next before the seven-minute-and-change epic closer “This World Will Burn” steps up to the plate, calls its shot Babe Ruth-style, then knocks the fucker out of the park. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in the case of ALPHA TIGER, their vintage type of traditional metal is just what the doctor ordered. With iDentity it sure seems like they’ve found theirs.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Long Way of Redemption”, “iDentity”, “We Won’t Take It Anymore”. “This World Will Burn”, “Closer Than Yesterday”