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Alpha Tiger - Beneath The Surface

Alpha Tiger
Beneath The Surface
by YngwieViking at 04 February 2013, 5:00 PM

I will make it short, in summary, “Beneath The Surface” is a technically well-crafted album, after a surprisingly initial good album titled  “Man Or Machine” in 2011, ALPHA TIGER quickly ranked as serious contender in the competition for the ‘best new hope in waiting’ alongside with 'old-school revival' figures as ENFORCER / STEELWING / WHITE WIZZARD / HOLY GRAIL / STRIKER. With this album that features an improved songwriting and a less cliché concept in mind, the youngsters this band, hailing from Germany, have fulfilled all the expectations till now. They also set all the lights to green for their big success breakout. Their energetic stage antics and their superb performances delivered in some influential festivals such as Hellfest / Rock Hard or Keep It True proved that they are a new Metal force in the making, and not a ‘one-use-only’ gimmick item or another short life project but a great bunch of talented Metalheads musicians (The 2nd limited bonus disc, it’s a live recording with stunning powerful renditions of both old and new songs and in addition to a magical “Queen of the Reich” cover-version as a tribute for QUEENSRYCHE). Unlike HAMMERFALL / PRIMAL FEAR or DREAM EVIL, no Teutonic or too Germanic praise here, I will describe them more in the GLENNMORE / HEAVENS GATE, side of things.

On their quest for the highly coveted, Metal scepter, singer Stephen Dietrich is definitely their strongest argument, his fine vocals, stuck in the sky-high-pitched range that feed an intense fast vibrato in the true tradition of Michael Kiske (ex-HELLOWEEN / UNISONIC / AVANTASIA / PLACE VENDOME) along with a sheer feeling and an authentic sensibility, that reminds me of the young Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE), are indeed beautiful and impressive. Another perfect working axis in their wonderful attribute arsenal, is their abilities to refresh some old concepts, like the MAIDENian epic arrangements with instrumental sections and the obvious harmonized double-twin-axe attack. But they avoid brilliantly, which is the trap, to fall into parody or worse in the caricature stuff. On the contrary, here everything is done in an absolute faithful and almost secular tradition of US Metal, with strong NWOBHM roots in the purest / first degree Metal worship by True Metal orthodox pilgrims or their way to Steel Stardom.

The influences from the 80s, are of course present but the music itself is not for the old farts nostalgia only, and it's neither particularly retrograde but still young and fresh. I also read somewhere about, some supposed additional, Thrashy widespread elements. Well, I can’t see any, not even one. Except if HELLOWEEN and their “Keeper of the Seven Keys” saga or “The Warning” by QUEENSRYCHE were Thrash Metal albums. But, they succeed in resurrecting those well-known formulas and even if it’s not revolutionary in any way, the album “”Beneath The Surface” is full of quality  music, they also bring a lot of different textures and varied dynamics to their melodic Metal with progressives atmospheres, almost like their famous elders HEIR APPARENT, LETHAL, LIZZY BORDEN, and early FATES WARNING years.

The furious “From Outer Space”, "Waiting for a Sign", “Beneath the Surface” or the intense "Eden Lies in Ruins" are the best cuts and it's,  the most obvious example for their perfectly mastered iron craft, those songs are only equaled by the great cover songs of LOUDNESS originally the opening track out of 1987’s  “Hurricane Eyes” & the great rendition of “Flight of the Warrior” from the legendary RIOT era “Thundersteel”. Metal belongs to the Legions of fans, and the good music doesn’t belong to a particular decade, with bands like ALPHA TIGER. Metal is forever, so, Long live Heavy Metal.

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. The Alliance
3. From Outer Space
4. Waiting For A Sign
5. Beneath The Surface
6. Along The Rising Sun
7. Eden Lies in Ruins
8. Rain
9. Crescent Moon
10. We Came From The Gutter

Disc 2 – Fan Edition – Live At Rock Hard Festival

1. Star Rider
2. Crimson Desert
3. From Outer Space
4. Along The Rising Sun
5. Karma
6. Black Star Pariah
7. Queen Of The Reich
Stephan Dietrich – Lead Vocals
Peter Langforth – Lead Guitar
Alexander Backasch – Lead Guitar
Dirk Frei – Bass
David Schleif – Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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