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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Tygers Of Pan Tang - 1981 Spellbound
Tygers Of Pan Tang - 1981 Spellbound

ARTIST: Tygers Of Pan Tang
ALBUM: Spellbound
SERIAL: MCF 3104 (UK), MCA-5235 (USA, Canada)
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1989, Repetoire, RR-4015-C * 2006, Metal Nation (UK), MNR006 * 2007, Universal (Japan), UICY-93395


LINEUP: John Deverill - vocals * John Sykes - guitars * Robb Weir - guitars * Rocky Laws - bass * Brian Dick - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gangland * 02 Take It * 03 Minotaur * 04 Hellbound * 05 Mirror * 06 Silver And Gold * 07 Blackjack * 08 The Story So Far * 09 Tyger Bay * 10 Don't Stop By * 11 All Or Nothing * 12 Don't Give A Damn * 13 Bad Times * 14 It Ain't Easy * 15 Don't Take Nothing


At the forefront of the NWOBHM scene were Newcastle natives TOPT, formed by original vocalist Jess Cox in 1978. The band were one of famed British metal label Neat's first signings, with their first single 'Don't Touch Me There' appearing in 1980. This gained the attention of MCA. who signed the band, with a follow up single 'Rock 'N' Roll Man' released shortly after. The debut album 'Wild Cat' was a surprise top twenty hit that same year but Cox soon split, being replaced by ex Persian Risk vocalist John Deverill. The biggest addition was John Sykes, a highly touted axe slinger who beefed up the guitar attack. The resulting 1981 'Spellbound' is considered their finest hour, a good mix of British metal and some well crafted hard rock. Ace metal producer Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Y&T) was on hand to provide the suitably muscular sound.

The Songs
Like many NWOBHM classics, the album kicks off with a high speed burner, 'Gangland', the emphasis on the devastating dual riffing of Weir and Sykes. The latter adds a blinding solo, which would later benefit Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake. The intensity is fueled by 'Take It', vaguely reminiscent of David Coverdale era Deep Purple in the chorus, aided by some more scorching guitar work, the equivalent of a musical affront. The well remembered title track is definitive early 80's metal, fast with an opening riff to silence even Iron Maiden and Saxon. Made for headbanging! Things quieten down with 'Mirrors', atmospheric ballad territory, along the lines of Iron Maiden's 'Strange World'. 'Silver And Gold' lacks the melody of the previous numbers but 'Tyger Bay' picks up where 'Spellbound' left off, another assault on the senses. Streamlined hard rock rears its head with 'The Story So Far', far more accessible to mainstream audiences with the commercial chorus. The rollicking 'Blackjack' and 'Don't Stop By' conclude matters satisfactorily, although it's no wonder that the band would lean towards AOR on later albums considering the dramatic nature of the latter.

In Summary
'Spellbound' succeeds primarily because of the rampant opening trio of 'Gangland', 'Take It' and 'Spellbound', metal of the highest quality. The band released 'Crazy Nights' that same year, but Sykes left in 1982, to be replaced by Fred Purser (ex Penetration). There was major success with that years 'The Cage', but the band was dropped by MCA. and by 1985's AOR tinged 'The Wreckage' only Deverill and Dick remained from the 1981 lineup. 1987's 'Burning In The Shade' was their final act until Weir assembled a new lineup in 2001, signed by Z Records, and unleashed a derided set named 'Mystical'. The band was subsequently fired by Z and they are currently preparing a new album, Weir the only original. A far cry from the glory days of 'Spellbound', an album which has stood the test of time.

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#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 04:13:07
Definately my fave Tygers release - remember seeing the band on tour with this one. The band actually had a much more varied set of songs than on the debut 'Wild Cat'(which i always found very samey). John Deverill was also a much better vocalist than Jess Cox and put in an excellent performance throughout. Highlights for me, the excellent Ballad 'Mirror', 'Hellbound' 'The Story So Far' and the fabulous 'Don't Stop By' (one of the best songs the band ever recorded).
#2 | rkbluez on July 11 2012 04:01:20
My Favorite Tyger's also...this one just rocked! Crazy Nights the follow up was a great CD also...don't want to knock it...but for me lacked a little of the raw energy and quality up tempo tunes of this disc...this one I played to death back when it was Jez said it's light years ahead of 'Wild Cat' which also lacked in the guitar department...John Sykes and John Deverill both jioned on Spellbound so it wasn't even like the same say they improved from album #1 to #2 is an understatement.
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