Communique 2004 / Angel Air 2016
Heavyweights of NWOBHM return to their sonic base to rebuild the den and move on.
Back from limbo in 1999 yet failing to impress with “Mystical” that was out two years later, it took TOPT some more time to regain their might. The key to it, as original guitarist Robb Weir felt, lay not in the hardening of his band’s performance but in expanding their sonic palette with touches of prog, applied very carefully in order to preserve the group’s essence. Cue “Noises” – remixed by the collective’s old producer Chris Tsangarides and resequenced now for maximal impact.
Starting with a playful blast of “Bad Bad Kitty” and signing off with the equally tuneful “Master Of illusion” whose tempo shifts and lyrical flow bare the metal-laden depth of it all, this record refines TOPT’s trademark double-barrel assault on “High Speed Highway Superman” while in the molten prayer of “Cybernation” Dean Robertson’s axe cuts the second six-string’s strum in a lyrical way. The tightness-and-release method is what the band excel at, best illustrated by “Running Man” and its bluesy licks sprinkled over the groove as Richie Wicks is bemoaning the fate of a questing spirit, although a reckless rock ‘n’ rolling of “Three In A Bed” may vie with the epics for attention. There’s a lot of anger, peaking in “Godspeak” to the punches of Brian West’s bass, yet it’s well balanced with fun, and the re-recording of “Don’t Touch Me There” from the ensemble’s debut – one of the bonuses on this reissue – only stresses their development and relevance.
The TYGERS still roar: a solid noise it is.