It’s easy to discover new bands these days… it’s called the internet. But for those of you in the UK, of a certain age, you know how hard it was to track down great new bands in the early 80s (usually via Sounds or Kerrang – which actually used to be a Metal mag… or via Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on Radio 1).
I found Tytan via a slightly different route as a local department store in my hometown bought a load of vinyl from a company that went bankrupt, way back in 1983 and I spent months going through the new additions each week – which included the likes of Scorpions clear vinyl, Sammy Hagar picture discs and a 12” single by a band called Tytan.
I’d never heard of them before, but as everything was being sold at just 25% of the normal retail price, I took a chance… and I ended up with one of the best songs of the NWOBHM era, Blind Men and Fools (and if you check it out on the YouTube link below, it does have a quiet intro)
So 34 years later and 35 years after the original release of Blind Men And Fools, Tytan are back… unfortunately without vocalist Kal Swan… well, they don’t actually have a fulltime vocalist at all, as the man leading the charge on Justice Served, Tom Barna, has quit the band already, just a short time after the release of the album.
Anyway, history lesson out of the way, what does the album actually sound like?
To be brutally honest, stealing a very over-used football cliché, this album is like a game of 2 halves.
Dealing with the first 6, out of 12, tracks, and the album gets off to a superb start. I don’t think Tom Barna is an exceptional vocalist, but his voice works very well with the songs on offer.
They are mid-paced NWOBHM meets Hard Rock with a smattering of rockin’ Blues. There’s stacks of melody and the choruses are all good to excellent.
Maybe some of the songs (like Fight The Fight) are a little too simple, but there’s some sterling axe work going on and overall, I think it’s a really solid first half. The highlight is the brooding Reap The Whirlwind, which also produces the best vocal performance from Tom Barna.
So moving onto the 2nd half of the album and I have no idea what the problem is. Maybe the band ran out of quality songs, or the running order splits the styles in half, but it is nowhere near as good as the first half.
It could be the increased presence of the keyboards, which feel like they should be loaned back to Deep Purple… or it’s the more melodic nature of the songs – Hells Breath has a lightweight chorus that doesn’t fit in with the heavier body of the song, but whatever the problem is, Kevin Riddles and his crew are definitely not firing on all cylinders on some of the tracks.
Thankfully the album does end in style with The Cradle, which sounds like Deep Purple having a jam with Saxon on The Eagle Has Landed and then on Purple’s Perfect Strangers, before hitting their stride with their own sound.
I think it’s a real shame that they lost their way a bit on the 2nd half of the album as I really wanted to enjoy all of this album. So if they do make another, I hope their reign in the range of styles, just a little and stick with the more potent material.
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