Review Summary: Elliot Coleman and company finally catch the tiger by its toe.
Good Tiger, entering their third album, had a lot to prove. Founded by former members of TesseracT and The Safety Fire already garnered the band some hype from the get go. While the band claimed it was still progressive metal it was more akin to swancore, but don’t get your panties in a twist, Good Tiger have no screamer who sings random jargon or over-the-top noodly riffs. No, they are more adjacent to Hail The Sun, Icarus The Owl, Stolas, and A Lot Like Birds who take inspiration more from Circa Survive than The Fall of Troy. A Head Full of Moonlight was a sonic smorgasbord that was as sultry and seductive as it was loud and harmonic. It was fresh and unique, however its results varied wildly. There were three or four amazingly written songs, but the subsequent tracklist was more or less trying to emulate said three or four amazing songs. As a result it felt like a debut record in the best and worst ways possible. Their second record, We Will All Be Gone, unfortunately suffered the same problems, but the highlights didn’t extend into the stratosphere to the extent that its predecessor accomplished. A true sophomore slump. It was immensely disappointing because the band had shown so much potential, yet so much was untapped. With the ever so important third album approaching, and a change of drummers from Alex Rudinger to JP Bouvet, would Good Tiger finally be able to pull together a cohesive and thoroughly excellent project?
Raised in a Doomsday Cult is Good Tiger’s most refined, sweeping, and well-composed album by a significant margin. In essence, Good Tiger play to their strengths while creating a diverse tracklist. Lead singer Elloit Coleman’s voice attains a sultry, soothing, and charismatic tone with the ability to absolutely soar if necessary. No matter where the instrumentation takes the songs Coleman’s voice always seems to suit the soundscape. The guitar work is harmonic, lush, full, and warm whilst maintaining the ability to unleash fret-blistering riffs when the time calls for it. However, the standout musician is JP Bouvet with perhaps the best drumming performance of 2020. His beats are groovy, angular, and perfectly saucy while his fills are tight, technical, and sixteenth note driven. Bouvet’s flow on the kit leads to positively exquisite performance.
The performances are just as great as the songs themselves. “Ghost Vomit” and “Animal Mother” are fast, heavy, riff driven affairs with massive choruses, and “1252” and “Redshift” are more luscious, richer, slower cuts that provide an excellent blanket for Coleman’s vocals to sooth the listener. In addition, there are wonderful exercises in songwriting like the dainty verse and bouncy chorus of “Young Speak”, and the slow burner, “Sunthrower Flower”, that leads into a powerful bridge/outro. Almost every song instills an ear worm of a chorus with the guitars and bass amplifying just the right amount in the mix to let the full sound of the band wash over the listeners. The ebb and flow of Raised in a Doomsday Cult track to track, intro to outro, is truly something to behold. I would be remiss to mention that the latter third of the album is a tad underwhelming in comparison. “GoGo Yubari” and “Smile.Growth.Accept” are merely solid tracks. The closer “If You Weren’t My Son I’d Hug You”, as the name implies, contains heartfelt lyrics and shockingly outsources the chorus to another member other than Elliot. However, the song should have ended on the massive bridge at around the four and a half minute mark instead of winding down for an excessive minute and a half.
Good Tiger successfully achieved their potential that was always evident on their previous releases with Raised in a Doomsday Cult. They cemented themselves, finally, as a band in alternative music with an idiosyncratic sound, a charismatic lead vocalist, rock solid instrumentation, and all the upside in the world.