Review Summary: A look at the beginnings of Tiger Army.
Tiger Army is a band that has seen many lineup changes in their career. The only member remaining from the start, who happens to be the creative force behind the band anyway, is Nick 13. The Early Years EP
captures Tiger Army at the beginning, it includes their first ever recordings which took place in 1996 and a few from early 1997. At this point in time the band didn't even have their own drummer. Being good friends with the band AFI, Adam Carson practiced, recorded, and played live with Tiger Army in the beginning.
This EP is comprised of three songs found on an out-of-print vinyl called Temptation
(one of which being a cover), another cover, and two demo tracks. The first song, Temptation
, blazes right from the start. The drumming is simple and straightforward but it pushes the song along, giving it high energy. It's similar to Carson's work in earlier AFI records and it also works well for Tiger Army. The upright bass bounces along with the drums and the guitar riffs are fast, moving from power chord to power chord. Nick 13's vocals are a mix between clean singing and shouting. The second song, Jungle Cat
, is quite similar to the first song in structure.
Twenty Flight Rock
is an Eddie Cochran cover, which was also rerecorded for the band's self-titled debut in 1999. The inclusion of this song is a welcome change from the similarities the first two songs displayed. The singing is clean during the whole song with the tempo being slower than the previous tracks. Nick 13 also plays a nice simple lead part towards the end of the song. A staple of Tiger Army's early live set, a cover of the Misfits song American Nightmare
, follows. This cover is similar to the original though it is played with psychobilly twist. All in all, these two covers bring some nice variety to the disc.
is the first recorded version of a song that can be found on II: Power Of Moonlite
. The song is darker than the others, containing very blunt lyrics. “Every day I think, “Man, it can't get no worse.” Every day I surprise even myself. Every night I sit and wonder why. Every day I want to ***ing die.”
The song Nocturnal
finishes this short EP. This track was the lead off the band's demo that got them signed to Hellcat Records and it was also rerecorded for their full-length debut. This is easily the strongest track on the EP. The guitar lines are more interesting and the bass is prominent. The vocals are very powerful as well and they don't feel as restrained. The outro is also extremely catchy and makes for a strong finish.
The Early Years EP
is not for everyone. I would mainly recommend it to Tiger Army fans, especially those who are fans of their earlier material. For those people this is an essential collection of songs that show the foundation of the band. It's also pretty cheap as well, as long as you can find it somewhere.
Tiger Army was, in the Early Years:
Nick 13 – Vocals, guitar
Joel Day – Stand-up bass
Adam Carson - Drums