Pride Tiger - The Lucky Ones
Powerage Records
Hard Rock
13 songs (43:35)
Release year: 2008
Powerage Records
Reviewed by James
Surprise of the month

Another week, another band trying to emulate the 70s. Canada's Pride Tiger do it better than most, in no small part due to a extra sense of melody added to their hard rock swagger. There's also a freshness here, a feeling that the band are trying to make something relevant to the 21st Century rather than merely running tired old cliches into the ground. And, most importantly, they're actually pretty good songwriters, Fill Me In and the title track being some of the catchiest offerings I've heard in a while. For the more cynical among you who'll be put off by the full-on sunniness of the aforementioned tracks, It's Only You shows a band with a love for classic metal, all Thin Lizzy harmonies and riffs that recall prime Black Sabbath at their most rocking and uptempo. It's still as joyously happy as this sort of thing gets, mind. Those who require something a little darker and menacing need not apply, then.

It's all oddly warm, lovely fare from a band who share a drummer with fucked-up sludge merchants Goatsblood (who also provides vocals here, Matt Wood's melodic singing being a far cry from the demented screams of his earlier band). Indeed, the warmth of tone extends throughout, from the vocals to the pleasantly audible bass. It's all wonderfully easy on the ears, and anyone who doesn't run screaming from the room at the sound of loud guitars should find something to like here. Quite frankly, it's surprising that Pride Tiger haven't become absolutely massive.

It's not like they don't have the songwriting skills to go along with their accessible rock sound. I've always held the belief that simple, verse-chorus-verse fare is the hardest style of song to get right, and I must say, Pride Tiger do a very impressive job. Pretty much every song has something to endear it to the listener, a groovy drum beat, a hooky chorus, or a pleasant melody. At The Lucky Ones' best, it all comes together to make a near-perfect song. How songs like Fill Me In or the title track haven't become party-rock anthems, a Boys Are Back In Town for the 21st Century (and indeed, Thin Lizzy are clearly an influence on Pride Tiger, from the twin guitar leads to Matt Wood's Lynott-esque singing) is beyond me. And I suppose the fact that these songs can get a crusty black metal fan like me nodding his head and grinning like a fool is testament to their quality. There's admittedly a trace of irony, particularly in the folky interlude Wizard's Council, but this never feels like a contrived retro-trip by a bunch of hipsters. Pride Tiger have definitely got something special, and it'll be interesting to see if their stock of quality material will hold out for their next album.

Killing Songs :
Fill Me In, The Lucky Ones
James quoted 83 / 100
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