October 15, 2018

Tiger Army - III: Ghost Tigers Rise (2004)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Punk Rock, Psychobilly
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© 2004 Hellcat Records
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
Just as they did with 2001's II: Power of Moonlite, Tiger Army begin III: Ghost Tigers Rise with a brief, mood-setting prelude. The move establishes spiritual leader Nick 13's music in a world outside our own, in a silvery place somewhere between celluloid and the supernatural. Some operators in the genre get caught up in their own stylism -- all that talk about ghouls and gore over slap bass and recast punk chording atrophies into one enormous (and enormously dull) song. But Tiger Army are different. First of all, Nick 13 can sing. He pours bitterness and yearning into the melody of "Santa Clara Twilight" -- it ends up sounding like Del Shannon fronting a rockabilly version of Social Distortion. "Through the Darkness" and "Rose of the Devil's Garden," too, expand psychobilly's traditional aesthetic borders with vocal harmonies and interesting changes -- in short, Tiger Army write songs, not generic genre product. "Ghost Tigers," the distorted-vocal rave-up "Swift Silent Deadly," "Atomic," and especially "What Happened?" land on the band's harder side. While the slap rhythm and decadent, corpse paint lyrics ("I want to show you what happens when we die") are present and accounted for, there's Ramones in the guitar work and even the vocals. Overall, it's another solid outing from Tiger Army, who find real inspiration -- not just rehashing of theme -- among the leather jackets, nether world references, and biting heartbreak that have always defined psychobilly.

tags: tiger army, iii ghost tigers rise, 2004, flac,