Beneath the Surface (Century Media)
ALPHA TIGER is one of Century Media Records’ newest bands and have released a quality album for their first release as a signed band to a major metal label. Their origins are in Germany where other great metal bands have come from including HELLOWEEN and RAMMSTEIN. They may soon find themselves accompanying those two bands in the ranks of outstanding German metal.
As soon as “The Alliance” comes on, one can tell STEPHAN DIETRICH is going to become known as one of the stand out voices in newer metal. It’s a strange mix of RUSH’s GEDDY LEE and early IRON MAIDEN vocalist PAUL DI’ANNO.
The band has a mix of thrash and hair metal to their sound. Their instruments are played in thrash style while the vocals and lyrics account for the hair metal half. The band even manages to include some ballad parts into the album. Because of these factors, they tend to sound slightly dated but this is not necessarily bad; it’s a fun throwback to the ‘80s. In fact, one can visualize the cheesy music videos that would accompany such tunes. This is especially the case with “Along the Rising Sun”. However, they must be careful to not have all of their songs become too similar.
Although some songs are lengthy, they don’t tend to feel that way. “From Outer Space” is the track off the album that can be deemed most fun. It shows that the band does not mind being silly sometimes. It is also the first single and will be the first music video. “Eden Lies in Ruins” offers an interesting story that almost DIO like. “We Came from the Gutter” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It may have worked better as an opener rather than a closer.
The style in which the album cover for Beneath the Surface is done matches the content well. There is something real and sinister about it although it is cartoony enough that there is some lightness to it. The portrayal of laughing business people and burning money reflects a lot about modern day concerns. Having their reflections as skeletons is reminiscent of the classic heavy metal art seen in the 80s.
Beneath the Surface is a promising start for ALPHA TIGER’s career. However, they still have some work to do in terms of separating themselves from the rest of the pack. It is an album worth picking up for fans of classic heavy metal looking for a throwback sound.
by Melissa Campbell