Man or Machine
Man or Machine
Back in the early 80s, when I was a pimply faced Jr High student with feathered hair and a denim jacket, my brother and I frequented a music store in the area where we purchased boat loads of used albums (those big round black things). The manager there was always getting his hands on promos and imports and selling them at used prices. Anyways, one of the times we were there, my brother purchased a Music For Nations compilation album (probably because it had cool cover art) and when we got it home and put it on the turntable, we were blown away by all of these British bands. It was in this way that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal entered our home. NWOBHM changed the landscape of heavy music and set the stage for the metal we love today.
Forgive my long-winded introduction, but it seems the perfect way to begin my conversation about Alpha Tiger's new CD "Man Or Machine", and how they embrace the past and make no apologies. If you love the dual guitar and rhythmic gallop of early Iron Maiden, the melodic punch to the solar plexus of early Metallica, and the Oliva brothers era of Savatage, you'll be a big fan of Alpha Tiger. Heck, if you are a fan of great traditional metal, you'll like Alpha Tiger.
I must admit that when the first few acoustic guitar notes sounded along with the crackling and popping effects of vinyl albums, I thought I was going to be listening to some epic 70s prog rock akin to Styx, Kansas or Pink Floyd. Then the distorted guitars kicked in and I realized I was wrong. While the music pays homage to the early 80s, much of it due to the production, it is in no way limited to that era. The way the songs flow on "Man Or Machine", it feels as if there is some time travel happening. Without fail, every time I finish the cd (each of the dozen times or so I have listened to it) I have to do a double take to make sure I'm still listening to the same band because the last song, "Black Star Pariah", is very modern sounding.
Most of the tracks fall within the 6 minute range and this allows the band to add some interesting segues into many of their songs. Of note for me are the title track, "Man or Machine", "Against the Time" and "Black Star Pariah". As I mentioned earlier, there is a transition from classic to modern as the songs progress and this is also thanks to some great double bass drum work. The cd is full of great dual guitar harmonies and the solos are quite musical in their delivery.
"Man Or Machine" is a great cd with a nod to the past that Alpha Tiger obviously loves. While the production is very very good, I'd like it just a wee bit more if it wasn't so retro sounding. Same can be said about the cover art. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Alpha Tiger. Their sound is stripped down and the songs are classic and epic.
Live Long and Rock Hard,
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SpaceKev's Rating: 3.75 out of 5