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- 'Ambush (2020 Reissue)' Review by Marcelo Vieira

The year started neither smooth nor favourable for Tygers of Pan Tang. Despite having released, on November 20, 2019, the impeccable “Ritual”, the group entered in 2020 saying goodbye to the main responsible for updating their sound, the guitar prodigy Micky Crystal. In addition to the fall, the recoil (at world levels): without being able to tour or get together to compose new music - and without a substitute for Crystal, although tests are already underway -, Jacopo Meille (vocals), Robb Weir (guitar), Gav Gray (bass) and Craig Ellis (drums) decided to bet on an early re-release of “Ambush”, their 2012 album, with a new remastering and four bonus tracks.

In many ways - obviously neglecting the unfair competition that would be compared to the classic "Spellbound" and "Crazy Nights" (both from 1981) - "Ambush" is of paramount importance in Tygers discography. First, the record was the last with guitarist Dean Robertson, who would skip it the following year after more than a decade of good service. It was also the last of the band produced by Chris Tsangarides (1956-2018), a professional relationship that dates back to the beginnings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. On the other hand, “Ambush” marks Gray's debut and, from the point of view of the art critic who lives in me, the resumption of good taste in the choice of cover - kept in the 2016 album of the same name, to this day the best in the group.

Musically, "Ambush" shows the first signs of the uneasiness that would lead Tygers to seek the middle ground between the old and the new in the following works. That said, part of the repertoire leans on the proven effectiveness, and sometimes and inevitably, dated from NWOBHM clichés, from primary riffs - if that were bad, AC / DC would not have had the brilliant career it had - and built solos about the pentatonic friend. In terms of letters, maturity is much more in content than in form, as when great works of world literature are summarized and adapted for university students or those in a hurry.

But without a doubt the biggest attraction for those who did not buy “Ambush” eight years ago is the inclusion of the unprecedented “Cruel Hands of Time”, which, even under the condition of a studio surplus, outshines in quality at least half of the sounds that compose the original tracklist. See the clip below, directed by Ellis, try to argue against this one that speaks to you, and fail miserably: without knowing that it was possible, Tygers released one of the most exciting songs in metal in 2020. Never before in 2012, when it was cleaned from the album , they could imagine that.

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