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Tzar - Players of the Game (Reissue)

Players of the Game (Reissue)
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 02 February 2018, 2:35 PM

Active in Ontario, Canada, from 1983 to 1986, TZAR released their one and only album “Players of the Game” in 1985. From the little information I could gather about the band on the web, it’s become a cult classic that is both very hard to obtain and expensive to buy. Lost Realm Records is re-issuing the album now, which contains nine tracks.

The production here is a bit muted, but you can immediately sense an energy in the band as the fast moving track “Don’t Try Love” rolls forward. Vocalist Pete Tahan has a raspy and edgy voice that moves well in a few different ranges. “Heavy Metal Queen” is a mid-tempo number anthem that talks about what many bands of this time had for lyrical content…girls, what else? The chorus is big here with backing vocals. The title track has a little more going on…some acoustic guitars to go along with the electric, and a song where bass guitar has a noticeable presence in the mix. It doesn’t get more Rock and Metal than a song called “Born to Rock.” “We were Born to Rock” is answered in the chorus by “Rock.”

“We’ve got the Right” is a classic song of rebellion, one of the reasons Heavy Metal came to be in the first place. Tahan’s picking hand knows how to work the tremolo bar on what I am guessing is an Ibanez. “One Ticket to Paradise” is really unlike the other songs on the album. Sporting a more mature sound in a slow moving track, it gives the band some more time to explore the songwriting, but it does meander a bit as a result. “Missing you” closes the album, in a tender embrace. It reminds me of some of the ballads that L.A. Guns wrote back in the day.

I hear potential on the album, especially considering it was their first release. But, as it is, I think they are limited vocally and in the songwriting realm. Though some famous bands of the 1980’s made it out of a first attempt that sputtered, and we will never know where they could have gone from here, I just don’t hear enough that would lead me to believe they would have gone on to a long and storied career. But, listen and judge for yourself.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. Don’t Try Love
2. Heavy Metal Queen
3. Players of the Game
4. We’re Coming on
5. Born to Rock
6. We’ve got the Right
7. One Ticket to Paradise
8. Much too Late
9. Missing you
Pete Tahan – Bass, Vocals
John Tahan – Guitars
Frank Tahan – Guitars
Ludwig Van Guy – Drums 
Record Label: Lost Realm Records


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