Tygers of Pan Tang-The Wreck-Age/Burning In The Shade 1985-1987

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Reviewed: July, 2022
Released: 2022, HNE/Cherry Red
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: JP


As hard as I tried, when I was a young Metallion in the 80’s, I tried, I tried really hard to hear and embrace much Metal music as I could. However, some bands you just never get exposed to or never quite click with.

The Tygers Of Pan Tang was one of those bands. I did hear and buy a couple of their earliest albums on cassette, the ones that are widely regarded as NWOBHM classics, but they never resonated with me. I have no idea why. Accordingly, I never followed the band until I revisited them in 2012 with their 11th studio album AMBUSH. This reignited my interest in the band.

When I had an opportunity to check out this box-set I jumped at the chance. The vast majority of the bands and albums presented in the Cherry Red/Hear No Evil reissue campaign I am intimately familiar with. This is not the case with this 3CD reissue of THE WRECK-AGE (1985) and BURNING IN THE SHADE (1987). It was a real treat to enjoy albums now 30+ years old that I had never heard. I don’t think I had ever even seen the album art for BURNING IN THE SHADE! It is actually quite a stunning image. It’s odd after such a weak album cover for the prior release THE WRECK-AGE sporting a simple band photo.

This 3CD set is the standard clamshell with slipcases and a 20-page booklet. NWOBHM expert John Tucker gets the call to provide a nice historical overview of this era of the band… almost a death-rattle until the band reformed almost 14 years later in 2001.

To avoid tainting my perception I avoided reading about these records until after I heard them. My initial impression was very positive! After I listened to the albums I went and read some reviews of these albums. I suppose I should not have been surprised that these albums are pretty widely regarded as a low point in the band’s career, BURNING IN THE SHADE more so than THE WRECK-AGE. It happened a number of times in the NWOBHM; a promising young band a few albums into their career, gears down, embraces a pop/melodic sensibility, likely to appeal to a broader (read: American) audience and it doesn’t work. With this strategic miscalculation and stylistic shift, these bands, like Tygers, failed to find a new audience and alienated their original fans, amounting to a near fatal career move. In this case it was glaringly obvious, the look, style and time changed and only the original drummer laboured on keeper of the band name. Let’s be blunt, if you are an original Tygers fan, these albums probably suck.

From my perspective I don’t have that emotional attachment to the original sound and early albums so I really enjoyed the sleek, Americanized sound, that is a big part of what I enjoyed in 1987. The albums have a big pop sheen, melodic keyboards, smooth vocals , the kind of thing you might hear on a latter era King Kobra, Back n’ Blue or Autograph album.

The bonus disc left me a bit cold. It is just demo tracks. Hard core collectors and fans will love it! There are quite a few songs from those demos sessions that did not make it onto the album so it is a real historical curiosity. This disc alone the true reason why Tygers completists need this.  I’m not enough of a aficionado to know if these tracks have never been released before on a box-set or compilation before, but it is good to have them in one place.

I suppose in hindsight it is not my ‘fault’ that I never heard these albums at the time for three reasons. The band was signed to a tiny, short-lived label called Zebra which, to the best of my knowledge had no distribution in North America. They were only pressed on vinyl and buy then I was a cassette buyer. Plus, the aforementioned fact I wasn’t enamoured with the band in the first place, however I still feel ashamed that there are big chunks of this esteemed bands catalogue I am not familiar with.

That’s why I really value this box-set. It not only preserved a bit of a lol lost era of an iconic band but introduced me to two decent little melodic Metal albums.


Track Listing:

DISC ONE:

The Wreck-Age (1985)
1 Waiting
2 Protection
3 Innocent Eyes
4 Desert Of No Love
5 The Wreck-Age
6 Women In Cages
7 Victim
8 Ready To Run
9 All Change Faces
10 Forgive And Forget

DISC TWO:

Burning In the Shade (1987)
1 The First (The Only One)
2 Hit It
3 Dream Ticket
4 Sweet Lies
5 Maria
6 Hideaway
7 Open To Seduction
8 The Circle Of The Dance
9 Are You There
10 The Memory Fades

DISC THREE:

Demos

The Wreck-Age Demos
1 Forgive And Forget
2 Not Guilty
3 Undercurrent
4 The Wreck-Age
5 You’re On Your Own
6 Time To Regret
7 Slow Recovery
8 The Face Of Innocence
9 Shadow Of The Past
10 Waiting

Burning In the Shade Demos

11 Are You There?
12 The Circle Of The Dance
13 Don’t Think I Could Leave
14 Hideaway
15 Hit It
16 Never Say Never
17 The Memory Fades


www.cherryred.co.uk/product/tygers-of-pan-tang-the-wreck-age-burning-in-the-shade-1985-1987-expanded-editions-3cd/