4. Vardis – Red Eye
Blues, rock, metal….it was all clear to hear on Vardis‘ Red Eye, an album that made you nostalgic for the old days but clearly belonged in 2016.
Bad mannered and belligerent, it was actually the honesty of Red Eye that shone through the most. No pretence, no bullshit, simply fully-focused rock ‘n’ roll of the highest order; indebted to the greats of classic riffing and quality songwriting.
Vardis may no longer be achieving speeds of 100 M.P.H but they’re more than adept at settling into good time grooves while maintaining a dangerous edge….worth keeping more than just one red eye on!
You need to hear: “Paranoia Strikes”, a deranged descent into unhinged grooves and an absurdly catchy chorus!
3. Tygers Of Pan Tang – Tygers Of Pan Tang
Of all the NWOBHM bands riding the comeback train, it’s arguably the mighty Tygers of Pan Tang who have achieved the most. Ever since 2008’s Animal Instinct saw a return to their early 80’s sound, Robb Weir and co. have delivered three outstanding, modern – but NWOBHM flavoured – hard rock albums of ever increasing quality.
This self-titled release, their 11th full-length overall , once again saw the Tygers delivering their now trademark sound but they were arguably more pumped than ever. The muscle, the melody, the endless supply of riffs….it was all here but simply primed to pounce with more ferocity than ever before!
36 years after their Wild Cat debut and this beast had sharper claws than ever. Incredible.
You need to hear: “Never Give In”, a mantra that the Tygers live by and a full-blooded, roaring rendition of riffs and vocal lines that bring to mind the best of this great band’s back catalogue.
2. Salem – Dark Days
Ably mixing drama and anthemic prowess with the thud and stomp of prime NWOBHM riffing, Salem’s Dark Days, while perhaps not as immediate as 2013’s excellent Forgotten Dreams, found the band instead stretching their wings and delivering an album that oozed confidence. A confidence that bordered on brazen without once sounding pretentious and found the band tapping into a more experimental side that unearthed a varied collection of contradictive yet cohesive compositions in the process.
Featuring timeless songs, Dark Days felt like it belonged nestled next to the hard rock classics of the 70’s whilst simultaneously cosying up with the AOR giants of the 80’s. Turns out we were right all along, Salem’s time has truly come!
You need to hear: “Nine Months”, an epic of moody malevolence. Middle Eastern mystique meets NWOBHM grandeur; seemingly drawing on every influence that made prime 70’s and early 80’s rock and metal so abundantly prolific.