Good Tiger have created something unique and compelling.
Released: 6th November 2015
Good Tiger, a supergroup of sorts formed of Elliot Coleman – formerly of Tesseract – and the guitar complement of progressive-math-metallers The Safety Fire, have a heavy burden of expectation surrounding their crowdfunded debut LP, ‘A Head Full of Moonlight’, and with that line-up, it’s easy to see why.
‘Enjoy the Rain’, and its precipitous dive into a galloping chorus is arguably more immediate than single ‘Snake Oil’, while ‘All Her Own Teeth’ blends early Fall of Troy mathy impulses with a similar, powerful galloping chug, a guitar trick presumably facilitated by their past habit of drop-tuning to AADGBE on a six-string and used on most of the best head-banging moments on the record.
’67 Pontiac Firebird’ is a full-on blast of drop-tuned metal, and a welcome reminder that the band can still deliver such a punishing blow, particularly potent as the album closer. ‘I Paint What I See’ is a worthy anthemic single, while ‘Latchkey Kids’ eventual resolution from ballad into stop-start post-metal is particularly satisfying.
The only criticism that can be levelled is that there’s nothing as expansive and cinematic as the closer from ‘Mouth of Swords’, ‘Old Souls’. This makes sense; guitarist Dez Nagle has said that a major consideration during the writing process was thinking about performing the songs live. Some impulses have been pruned back in order to allow for the most impact in an uncertain live environment, where broad strokes are needed to offset unpredictable PAs and short soundchecks.
Then again, part of the joy of The Safety Fire was when they trod the line between overcomplicated and hummable riffs, with a rhythm section prepared to back up the math-metal complexity with simple, punchy beats when required. ‘Glass Crush’ was a fine example of this, but Good Tiger are clearly more about the ‘Red Hatchet’ type single material – a conscious decision, and therefore one worth commending, since it appears to have succeeded.
Though Elliot Coleman’s vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, Good Tiger have, by distilling down the frantic genre-blending of The Safety Fire, created something unique and compelling. Not only that, but they’ve created something substantially more accessible, and in a fair world, they’d be expected to appear on end-of-year lists in not just the djent and tech metal scenes but also in math and prog. Time will tell if this comes to pass. Alex Lynham