Reviews Round-Up April 2024Reviews Round-Up April 2024

• TYGERS OF PAN TANG – ‘Live Blood’
• MOONSPELL – ‘Under The Moonspell (The Early Years Collection)’
• LAURI PORRA – ‘Matter And Time’
• MY DYING BRIDE – ‘A Mortal Binding’


Recorded live at The Patriot in Wales on 4 August last year, ‘Live Blood’ (Mighty Music, 26 April) sees the TYGERS OF PAN TANG doing what they do best – ripping up the stage. With original Tyger Rob Weir and long-time collaborators Jack Meille (vocals ) and Craig Ellis (drums) joined by guitarist Francesco Marras and bassist Huw Holding earning their live stripes this Tyger still has plenty in the tank. With the band out on the road to promote their excellent 2023 release ‘Bloodlines’ four songs – ‘Edge Of The World’, ‘Back For Good’, ‘Fire On The Horizon’ and ‘A New Heartbeat’ – represent that album; the rest of ‘Live Blood’ however does a pretty good job of keeping the faithful happy with a scattergun of tracks from the Tygers’ extensive back catalogue: ‘Love Don’t Stay’ (from ‘Crazy Nights’) and ‘Hellbound’ in particular crackle with energy, while the hard ‘n’ heavy ‘Only The Brave’ from their 2016 self-titled release really goes for the throat. It’s nice to see ‘Suzie Smiled’ on the tracklist – although I would say that! – and you can’t help but smile at ‘Love Potion No.9’. ‘Live Blood’ is available as a single CD or a double LP which boasts an additional three cuts – ‘Insanity’, ‘Slave To Freedom’ and ‘Blood Red Sky’.


photo by Steven Christie

Video Clip: ‘Gangland’ -


Portugal’s MOONSPELL can be traced back to Morbid God, formed in 1989, but by 1993 had started the transition into the band as it is today by releasing their ‘Anno Satanae’ demo. ‘Under The Moonspell (The Early Years Collection)’ (Alma Mater Records, 20 April) comes as a limited edition box set and collects up ‘Anno Satanae’, their debut EP from the following year ‘Under the Moonspell’ and 2007’s ‘Under Satanae’ album on which Langsuyar (as was, now better known as Fernando Ribeiro) and his bandmates revisited this early material as older and (possibly) wiser musicians. The material – as you might expect from a young band finding their way – is a little crude at times but exceptionally enthusiastic, and the vinyl box set from Ribeiro’s own label comes with a fanzine and a back patch.



If you’re looking for something a little different then you might want to explore LAURI PORRA’s ‘Matter And Time’ (Platoon, 19 April). Lauri Porra is probably best known to the likes of us as the bassist in the legendary Stratovarius, but is also a composer of film scores amongst other things as well as the great- grandson of the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Described as a musical love letter to the universe ‘Matter And Time’ is a sweeping progressive composition, epic in form and scope, and – for a fairly weak point of comparison – is kind of a cross between Nightwish’s ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’, Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’ and those stereophonic test LPs that were all the rage for a while in the Seventies. With text by astronomer Esko Valtaoja and narrated by Stephen Fry – really! – ‘Matter And Time’ is a largely instrumental aural feast with Porra’s own contributions backed by Finland’s Vantaa Orchestra and choir, and with occasional vocals by Ringa Manner. It was originally written in 2018 and performed by the Vantaa Orchestra (whose conductor Dalia Stasevska is Porra’s wife, trivia fans), but is now available as a digital release via all the usual platforms. Compositions like ‘Fall Of Man’ and ‘Evolution’ are stirring and evocative; listen through headphones for the maximum effect, and lobby for a physical release.

Video clips:
‘Consciousness’ -
‘Requiem Mundi’ -


‘A Mortal Binding’ (Nuclear Blast 19 April) is the fourteenth studio release from MY DYING BRIDE, one of the original UK doom acts who with Anathema and Paradise Lost became known as the Peaceville Three. The passing years – their first album appeared in May 1992 – might have seen members come and go, with just frontman Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan left from the band’s original line-up, but they certainly haven’t dented the band’s ferocity or appetite: ‘A Mortal Binding’ is exactly what you would expect from ‘My Dying Bride’ – dense, atmospheric and intensely claustrophobic, and created from a cocktail of death, doom and goth. Lead single ‘Thornwyck Hymn’ is a pretty good representation of the fifty-five minute album, although ‘Her Dominion’ bucks the trend by featuring cookie monster vocals throughout. The songs are, naturally enough, long and labyrinthine (nothing under six minutes makes the cut here, with ‘The Apocalyptist’ clocking in a double that) and revel in the misery of their broken hearts and crushed desires. As a collection of songs it’s as foreboding as the Yorkshire Moors which birthed the band, and is all the better for it.

Video Clips:
‘Thornwyck Hymn’ -
‘The 2nd Of Three Bells’ -

© John Tucker April 2024