Alpha Tiger – ‘Alpha Tiger’ (Steamhammer/SPV) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Marc Leach   
Monday, 11 September 2017 04:00

Alpha Tiger artworkIt always sucks whenever core members part ways with their band, and it was a shame when Stephan Dietrich parted ways with German metal band Alpha Tiger back in 2015 following the ‘iDentity’ album. However, this setback didn’t stop the fiery felines from continuing on their musical journey as they re-invent themselves, plus debut their new cub, with their latest and fourth self-titled release.


Following ‘Road To Vega,’ which is the obligatory album introduction track, ‘Comatose’ almost sets the tone and the pace of the record with the band’s signature fast paced, power metal sound; with a hint of a Hammond organ adding an extra depth to the song. But of course the main focus is on new lead vocalist Benjamin Jaino’s who is popping his Alpha Tiger cherry here and while you can tell he has the debut jitters, you can get past this through this large sounding track.


As the album progresses on, however, it is obvious that the band are wanting to experiment with their sound, as they slow the pace down through the likes of ‘Feathers In The Wind’ and ‘Aurora’, almost using the likes of Uriah Heep as influence here. While I credit the band for trying something new musically, there is one thing to which, if I opened the windows, I can hear the dogs howling in pain - and that is Benjamin’s vocals, especially during ‘Feathers In The Wind’, where he struggles to keep pitch throughout the entire song.


Even drummer David Schleif’s outstanding drum performance during ‘To Wear A Crown’ and the use of effects still can’t cover up the fact that not only is Benjamin really fighting with remaining in key (especially during the vocal harmonies), but the fact that, without the titles, the likes of this and ‘Welcome To Devil’s Town’ just sound like the exact same song. The band continue to demonstrate their new musical style, which now echoes the likes of Skid Row - which would sound fantastic, if it wasn’t for the poor vocal performance.


The Hammond organ makes a return during the Deep Purple influenced ballad ‘My Dear Old Friend’ and it is here where Benjamin actually sounds pretty good as he sings in a much lower pitch which isn’t straining his vocal chords. The signature pace makes a massive return during the playful and atmospheric ‘If The Sun Refused To Shine,’ which features duelling guitar riffs from Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch. This playfulness continues once you get past the spoken word introduction of ‘The Last Encore,’ as the track itself reflects on the band’s personal musical relation all while the delayed guitars help make this track sound as huge as possible.



After hearing the band’s earlier work, that was what I was expecting (fact, wanting) to hear - and while I am open to new directions in sound, this did not help the album. That, good reader, only scratches the surface as to what is wrong with this record: it is obvious as to what this reviewer didn’t like the most - and that was Benjamin’s vocal performance. Don’t get me wrong, he has a strong enough set of pipes on him; but I hope that for the next album the band could use less vocal effects and experiment with a lower pitch to help suit his voice, so he isn’t constantly straining. I also hope that they work with a music producer that can produce a good sounding album: the mixing throughout is just muddy and awful, especially where the rhythm section was concerned. I personally really wanted to like this: sadly, it is the band’s Marmite album - and I really don’t like Marmite.


‘Alpha Tiger’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


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