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Tytan: Rough Justice

Album Notes

Frequently saddled with the cumbersome tag as "the band featuring Angel Witch's former rhythm section," Tytan worked hard to show greater depth as songwriters on their full-length debut Rough Justice. After all, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal which had first ignited the musicians' careers was already losing steam, and, though they didn't realize it yet, their band was about to be undone by a bankrupt record label and escalating personal differences. In fact, the songs they recorded in 1983 wouldn't see the light of day until two years later, making Rough Justice a posthumous document of Tytan's brief existence, and rendering the metal-and-spikes-clad warrior depicted on its sleeve (a N.W.O.B.H.M. throwback in every sense) only the most glaring of misconceptions compared to what fans would find inside. Call them AOR with flashes of metallic guitars, or watered down heavy metal -- whatever suits you -- but token tracks like "Blind Men and Fools," "Money for Love," "Far Cry" and "Forever Gone" countered their still frequently jagged lead and rhythm guitar bite with equal measures of sweetened melodic choruses and discreet synthesizer splashes. Even the album's only pure, unembellished heavy rocker, the excellent "Cold Bitch," sounded a lot more like Coney Hatch than Iron Maiden; while its unchallenged lowlight, the intolerably boring "Rude Awakening," seemed instead to wallow in metal's lamest clichés. Sticking with the weakest links, the female background vocals forced into the intended single "Women of the Frontlines" only added to its unnecessary and unconvincing syrup, but those used a little later, as introductory and closing bookends for the stately "Sadman," were far more interesting, almost progressive in nature. And, equally unusual and revealing of Tytan's desire to break out of those stylistic N.W.O.B.H.M. boundaries, the bluesy "Ballad of Edward Case" comes to a full stop midway through to launch into some spirited English pub singalong, after which the drunk protagonist appears to wreck his car. In summary, Tytan's lone and rather uneven LP was justifiably passed over for essential status in the grander scheme of '80s British hard rock and metal, but it still provides a few interesting moments that may interest obsessive collectors of the genre. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia



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