Released: 2012, Frontiers Records
When you have not written an album together in 18 years, your convictions about the wisdom of reforming have to be pretty strong. What’s more, Tyketto was a band that never really “made it” so the money factor is one you can toss out the window. No, what brought the band back together to write a new album was playing a few festivals and being floored by the response worldwide to their music and the realization that the fans were still there. Thus the band’s original lineup agreed to collaborate on new material, but on a couple of conditions as stated by the band’s label Frontier Records. Those conditions were, “The music had to be written by the core writing team of Danny Vaughn, Brooke St. James, and Michael Arbeeny (Clayton). The music should have stayed true to the Tyketto roots, but at the same time the album should have reflected where the band member’s lives were today.
It should rock!”
Man, setting conditions are fine and sound great, but how often do things ever really turn out that way? In this case, the band accomplished exactly what they set out to do. DIG IN DEEP picks up right where STRENGTH IN NUMBERS left off, but as intended the lyrics reflect where the band is now and the music has fewer of the hair metal tendencies of the 90s albums. Likewise, the production is modernized and solid, incorporating the good and bad elements of current recording trends. Nevertheless, Tyketto’s brand of grounded and sincere AOR incorporates the same themes as the classic material, namely standing your ground, relationships in life, and not being afraid to move on to something new. Lyrically you can compare Tyketto to Bon Jovi and Springsteen’s themes of championing the ordinary everyman and inspiring him to wake up and greet a new day with the hopes it will be better than the last. Tyketto gets away with these occasionally unsophisticated lyrics because they are sincere and heartfelt, with no trace of commerciality.
Album opener and the early released single, “Faithless” is a blast from the past recalling the catchy riffs and heaviness of “Forever Young”. It is a track that incorporates acoustic guitars during the verses to offset the kicking crash of distortion as Danny Vaughn immediately steals the show with a voice that has lost none of its force or compelling listenability, unquestionably one of the most under -appreciated singers of his generation. As with all Tyketto albums, the band is comfortable with breaking out the acoustic guitars and delivering high quality feel-good tunes and ballads like “Monday”, “Love To Love” and the more somber “This Is How We Say Goodbye”. Guitarist Brooke St. James’s style often seems effortless and it easy to miss just how sophisticated and tricky some of his work is, particularly on the verse rhythm to “The Fight Left In Me”, which opens with a ripping solo from James. Honestly though, every track on here is strong and like the excellent new Van Halen album, it sounds like nothing ever changed since they were last together. Hats off to Frontiers Records, for giving bands like Tyketto and Trixter - whose new album out this month is also amazing - another chance and helping to keep this style of metal alive.
The highest praise I can give the album though is that I have been listening to it everyday for two weeks, and it is most assuredly a grower, its near-genius not immediately evident. It is a style of music that is obviously not in vogue and will undoubtedly be missed by a lot of peoples, but it is a good place to discover Tyketto. As for fans already in the know, DIG IN DEEP not only picks up where SIN left off, but it does so as an equal of the first two albums, and as a worthy member of a towering trio of AOR pillars. This one is highly recommended for fans of melodic metal and AOR.