Review Summary: A forgotten gem from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
There is little doubt that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that arose during the early to mid 80's was a rather hit and miss affair. If you explore the less well tread paths away from the more well known acts such as Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Saxon you will find a whole host of badly produced and rather amateur sounding metal bands that deservedly faded into oblivion. However, there were several bands that, although not quite approaching the quality of the aforementioned trio, did in fact deliver some entertaining 80's metal and deserved far more success than they achieved. Tysondog are just such a band.
In some ways Tysondog are pretty much the archetypal NWOBHM band. By blending the influences of stalwart metal acts such as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath and injecting some of the vitality of punk into their music they sound fresh and energetic, if not particularly original. Album opener "Hammerhead" screams Iron Maiden at you with its opening riff and galloping rhythm and although not quite hitting the heights of the music that those kings of the NWOBHM were dishing out at the time it comes damn close. Even better is "Dog Soldiers" with its stomping rhythm, killer hook and searing blues-based soloing. Some cracks do show in places in the form of naive vocal phrasing and some rather badly produced percussion sounds but the sheer power and enthusiasm on offer ensures a fun listening experience. Elsewhere on the album the spectre of Judas Priest looms rather large in places. "Dead Meat" almost sounds like a tribute to Priest's British Steel
and "Painted Heroes" is a mid-tempo rocker with a riff that one could easily imagine being churned out by Glenn Tipton or K.K. Downing. But in spite of the band wearing their influences on their sleeve the music is delivered with such conviction that it hardly matters. Album closer "In The End" brings the curtain down with some lovely acoustic guitar passages and a great extended solo which sounds quite unlike anything else on offer.
This is a highly entertaining album from start to finish with no filler in sight. Tysondog's influences may be rather too obvious on occasion but the band's capability in whacking out some solid and infectious metal tunes is undeniable. A lot of music from this era can tend to sound a tad cheesy when compared to the thrash metal that came to prominence shortly thereafter and this album is no exception. However, if you don't take it all too seriously there is a lot to like in this forgotten debut from Tysondog, especially for fans of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.