Reviews Round-Up May 2023Reviews Round-Up May 2023


• TYGERS OF PAN TANG – ‘Bloodlines’
• EXCESS – ‘Crucifixion: Complete Excess 1989 – 1993’
• MYSTIC PROPHECY – ‘Hellriot’


I would have to take issue with the Classic Rock review of ‘Bloodlines’, the thirteenth studio album from TYGERS OF PAN TANG. Far from it being “founding guitarist Robb Weir dithering about with an assortment of unmemorable sidemen,” ‘Bloodlines’ (Mighty Music, 5 May) is a strong album with a healthy bite and a twenty-first century sound. The band have certainly musically covered many bases with many line-ups over the years, but as with their last couple of offerings the Tygers – with Weir joined by Jack Meille (vocals), Francesco Marras (guitars), Huw Holding (bass) and Craig Ellis (drums) – have come up with an exciting riff-driven album which, with tracks like ‘Light Of Hope’, opener ‘Edge Of the World’ and the frenetic ‘Fire On the Horizon’, certainly holds its own in today’s metal world. ‘Wild Cat’ this is not (but then, what is?), but that was over forty years ago. It’s time to judge the Tygers on today’s merits, rather than harking back to days long gone.


Video clips:
‘Edge Of The World’ -

‘Back For Good’ -


German death metallers EXCESS, quite naturally, come from the noisy side of town. Formed by bassist/vocalist Harold and guitarist Smog in Ludwigshafen, an industrial city on the Rhine in Germany, the duo were joined by drummer Marcus and released a demo ‘Torment Of Death’ in 1989. The ‘Crucifixion’ EP followed in 1992, by which time Harald had handed the vocals to Clausi, and in 1993 the band morphed in Malignity. Available on a chock-full CD, ‘Crucifixion: Complete Excess 1989 – 1993’ (Golden Core, out now) rounds up the band’s material which, as a point of reference, sound a bit like Hellhammer or early Celtic Frost: crude, true, but with a distinctive charm in its metal naivety. A single LP version simply entitled ‘Crucifixion’ is also available, but with the reduced vinyl running time omits the Malignity material and loses ‘Cry For God’ from a 1992 recording.


With very little subtlety, and all the better for it, MYSTIC PROPHECY’s latest album is a riot of riffs and frenetic soloing. ‘Hellriot’ (Rock Of Ages Records, 19 May) is a masterclass in traditional metal, and a forty-plus minute slab of proof that old dogs get better with age and certainly don’t need to learn new tricks. Although many of the faces may have changed over the years frontman Roberto Dimitri Liapakis has steered the helm since co-founding the band in 2000 and he sounds better than ever on this, the band’s twelfth full-length studio release. Meanwhile, last man in Evan K appears to be having the time of his life, manically firing out solo after solo but never overstepping the mark. With its Accept-esque shouted chorus line ‘Paranoia’ takes the pace down a little, but generally this is an album that spins at 100 mph, and with its bassline opening from Joey Roxx it’s ‘Rising With The Storm’ that currently takes full honours in my opinion. A great album, metal through and through, and ever it comes encased in one of the band’s trademark iconic covers.


Video clips:

‘Hellriot’ -

‘Unholy Hell’ -

‘Metal Attack’ -

‘Demons Of The Night’ -

© John Tucker May 2023