Review Summary: This is a great album that is appealing to a wide variety of people.
The Sound Of Animals Fighting – Tiger & The Duke
The Sound Of Animals fighting is a “super group” which features members from the RX bandits, Finch, Saosin, Circa Survive, Atreyu, and The Autumns to name a few. There are a lot of people who contributed to this album (14 or 15 I believe). The main people to note though are Anthony Green and Rich Balling who provide most of the vocals, and members from the RX Bandits and Finch who provide the guitar, bass, and percussion on the album.
Tiger & The Duke is a concept album that features some of the most creative and fun music in the genre. In other words, I believe it manages to bring a lot of new things to the table while still being rather accessible. Since this is the band’s debut, it is very raw sounding and the production isn’t amazing but it is decent and it gets the job done . The four songs, or “Acts” of this album each have unique elements and they generally manage to showcase everyone’s talent while still being a well written album without too much wankery or self-indulgence. There are also a bunch of “Interludes” that serve as breaks between each act, but I will go into more detail about them later.
"Act I: Chasing Suns"
Vocals: Anthony Green, Matthew Kelly
This is possibly the most fast-paced song on the album and is a really good choice for the first act as Anthony’s screams in the beginning of the track are very urgent sounding. Matthew Kelly’s vocals in this song are ever so slightly outshined by Anthony, but still offer a fresh change of vocal styling on the track. Around halfway, the band offers an extended instrumental passage where they do different variations of the riffs and melodies from the start of the song, and then they fluidly flow into a very nice solo section with both guitarists playing leads. They almost effortlessly flow right back to an even more powerful repetition of the chorus and end off the song effectively with rather mathy tempos. This is my favorite track on the album.
5/5 – Classic
"Act II: All Is Ash or the Light Shining Through It"
Vocals: Anthony Green, Rich Balling
This song’s intro is very thematic and has a weird rhythm. The guitar harmonies are interesting also. After the instrumental introduction, soft strumming comes in and Rich Balling opens his mouth for the first time on the album. He offers some good vocals overtop of the instruments that are building up in intensity as he sings. Anthony and him have good chemistry as vocalists because their voices mesh well together in the build-ups before the chorus. The instrumental part of the bridge in this act offers a bit of interesting noodling and some atonal riffs/harmonies. After that, there is a section where Anthony Green powerfully states: “While everybody else could be fighting out”. This part of the song flows beautifully and it almost reminds me of a waltz of some sort. The song dies down again and Rich Balling offers more a few more interesting lyrics and they repeat the formula from before but there is a bit more variation to it on the last time.
4/5 - Excellent
"Act III: Modulate Back to the Tonic"
Vocals: Rich Balling, Anthony Green, (Some Other Guy I Don’t Know)
This act is probably the mellowest on the album but at times one could argue it’s the most fast-paced. It starts off with some soft guitar playing and Rich Balling does a spoken word passage while another guy offers some weird vocals that almost sound robotic. These two vocal tracks intertwine quite well. There is a build up to the chorus with a drum roll. In the chorus Anthony Green uses his powerful screaming voice and offers more variety in the second chorus by overdubbing his voice for good harmonies. The bridge has an amazing blues solo from both guitarists at once like in the first act.
4.5/5 - Superb
"Act IV: You Don’t Need A Witness"
Vocals: Anthony Green
To be honest, this is probably my least favorite act. The intro to the song starts off with noise and it flows into a redux of Act I. There is a low tom roll which is a great transition to Anthony’s verse. Even though it’s my least favorite I still enjoy the verses in this song because they sound very bluesy. There is an interesting start-stop dynamic that’s very progressive-sounding. A cool bass line is played and they go into a rather subpar chorus with screaming. He has interesting things to say but it just doesn’t really grab my attention as much. They also don’t offer a bridge or any interesting instrumental break in the song. Act IV reminds me a lot of Saosin’s old material when Anthony Green sung for them.
3/5 - Good
The Overture, The Interludes, and The Postlude
Unlike most people who have listened to this album. I, for the most part, can enjoy the interludes when I listen to Tiger & The Duke in full or I am craving an experimental change of pace. The overture features some odd atonal feedback and almost works as a build-up to the first act. The first interlude is very neat track, there is a lot of different things going on at once and different noises and bleeps make brief appearances. The second interlude is probably my favorite on the album as it almost like a real song and is very ambient and relaxed sounding with some keyboard and a laid back beat. The last interlude is decent. It kind of sounds like something from a Death Cube K album which is cool but it can at times just seem like a rehash of “Overture” and is mildly boring. The album’s “Postlude”, is really stupid as the quality of it is terrible and the track is way too long and doesn’t even have a beat of some sort. It sounds like a Merzbow b-side track. Overall, the interludes are interesting to listen to and I also like how they flow perfectly into and out of the acts.
Overall Rating of the Interludes – 3.5/5 (Great)
- The album has great instrumentation.
- It is quite experimental while still being accessible to casual listeners.
- The vocal styling are quite intense.
- Well-written lyrics.
- Good guitar solos.
- The interludes can be interesting to listen to sometimes.
- Some people may not like the interludes.
- The postlude is just dumb.
- Act IV is a decent track but doesn’t really live up to the other 3 acts.
- The production is very raw (although this can be considered a good thing too).
1. Act I: Chasing Suns
2. Act III: Modulate Back to the Tonic
3. Interlude (2)
To conclude, this is a great album and the musicians have great chemistry together. I definitely recommend picking up this album if you are a fan of Anthony Green or you want to listen to something unique but not overly pretentious. I personally think Act IV should have been the first act and Act I should have been the last act as it is way more epic. It might have ruined the albums concept though.
Overall Rating: 4/5