Review Summary: One of the better entries in the NWOBHM chapter.
Throughout the early to mid 1980's The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement spawned a nearly endless stream of new metal and hard rock acts. Some of these, the most notable of course being Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, went on to major long term success but the great majority fell by the wayside when the metal fanbase moved on to thrash and the sort of music that was coming from the so-called LA Scene. One such short lived attempt to grab a slice of the NWOBHM pie was Tytan.
Angel Witch bassist Kevin Riddles, guitarists Steve Gibbs and Steve Mann and vocalist Kal Swan were joined by ex Priest drummer Les Binks to record their one and only album. The result was 'Rough Justice' which is considered by some people to be one of the lost classics of the NWOBHM (although it has now been re-released and is widely available).
The music on here is a mix of Judas Priest inspired melodic heavy metal, straightforward hard rock and some forays into pop-metal.
Album opener and single 'Blind Men And Fools' gets proceedings underway with a swirling synth intro leading us into a killer hook with Swan serving up some vocals quite reminiscent of early Rob Halford and an infectious chorus whith some effective harmony vocals. 'Money For Love' also displays it's Priest influences with a riff that wouldn't sound out of place on Sad Wings of Destiny or Sin After Sin and a guitar solo very reminiscent of Tipton. There is, however, a commercial sounding edge to this song, especially in the chorus, and this attempted commercial edge throughout the album is when the band sound least convincing. This is exemplified on such tracks as 'Women on the Frontline' and 'Don't Play Their Way', the latter of which sounds like early Def Leppard but without the energy. When Tytan forget any attempts to lend their sound a commercial edge and really get down to business they truly shine. 'Sadman' features an extended opening passage with heavily chorused guitar but then suddenly erupts into a sledgehammer riff and some great singing from Swan. The spectre of Judas Priest looms again on main riff of 'The Watcher' but when it results in such a great driving hard rock song as this you can forgive the plagiarism. It clocks in at 4 and a half minutes but feels rather longer (in a good way) due to a quiet middle section with a great solo and a shift of gear that bring the track to a close in a galloping fashion a la early Iron Maiden.Other highlights are the pounding 'Rude Awakening' with its mini-Kashmir riff and 'Far Cry' which is one of the rare moments on the album where Tytan try to give their music a slightly commercial feel and actually succeed.
I have mentioned a lot of other bands throughout this review which might lead one to suppose that this album is rather derivative. Well, that supposition would be quite correct as Tytan do certainly wear their influences on their collective sleeves. However, when your main influences are 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' era Priest and early Iron Maiden and you pull it off with such aplomb as they do here it can be excused to a large extent. Worth checking out.