Alpha Tiger
Beneath The Surface

Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Scanner/Enforcer/Steelwing
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Intro
2. The Alliance
3. From Outer Space
4. Waiting For A Sign
5. Beneath The Surface
6. Along The Rising Sun
7. Eden Lies in Ruins
8. Rain
9. Crescent Moon
10. We Came From The Gutter
Bonus tracks Limited Deluxe Edition:
11. S.D.I. (Loudness cover version)
12. Flight Of The Warrior (Riot cover version)

Stephan Dietrich (Vocals & Piano)
Peter Langforth (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Alexander Backasch (Guitars)
Dirk Frei (Bass)
David Schleif (Drums)

Man Or Machine (2011)


Peter Tikos (art)
Recorded at Berlin's Musicflash studio
Engineered by Mirco Godi Hildmann
Mixed and mastered by Andreas Hilbert

Released 2013-02-28
Reviewed 2013-03-10

century media

The record labels often promise plenty when they promote new albums and Century Media is no exception. When they promoted the release of Germanys Alpha Tigers second album they made the following claim: “'Beneath The Surface' kicks rusty rockers out of their wheelchairs with its remarkably fresh take on early Helloween and Queensryche – perfect metal pleasure guaranteed!". Perfect metal pleasure… wow!

I was pretty upset with Nuclear Blast for not handing me the new Enforcer album as that was one of the albums I had been looking forward to most in 2013 and after hearing the first couple of songs on 'Beneath The Surface' I became even more angry - instead of hearing Enforcers great 80's power metal I got some sort of lame copy of it from this album. Well, that was before I got to know this album.

I think the turning point comes in the fourth song, called Waiting For A Sign - a ballad! Or at least some sort of ballad-ish thing. It's strange how a band can give such a poor first impression and then totally redeem themselves in such a way Alpha Tiger do. Both The Alliance and From Outer Space are mediocre at best, being quite poor versions of 80's heavy/power metal in both sound and style and when you get to the fourth track that begins slowly with acoustic guitars and Stephan Dietrich soft voice singing something about age and world reflections but as the song reach 1 minute and 14 seconds they increase the speed, adds electric guitars and starts drumming. Dietrichs starts to add power to his vocals and the melodies gets catchy and interesting. And from this point 'Beneath The Surface' just doesn't become the same thing.

Sure the album don't have any song after Waiting For A Sign that can match that tune but the quality is clearly higher afterwards than before. The title track that follows is another cool song and especially the chorus is good but the further you get in to the album the more your enthusiasm calms as they don't find another rocket and more or less everything just feels the same. All the songs are long as well, the nine songs following the intro takes almost 55 minutes to play and only two are shorter than five minutes (both of these more than four) and personally I feel the band tries to put too much in to each song to really get it to work. Some of the songs are interesting partly but lose all their magic as they keep going far too long.

I can't say the band sounds like the most brilliant musicians either, Dietrich is decent but he sounds too much of a copy on the defining vocalists of the genre, like Kiske, Tate and Michael Knoblich. He doesn't really adds an own persona in the vocals and even though some songs are good and some parts in other songs sounds interesting it's definitely no "perfect metal pleasure". I get it though, it sounds more intriguing saying that than "average metal pleasure" even though that's what it is.

I do like 'Beneath The Surface' at certain parts of the album and I really like Waiting For A Sign, but the album as a whole is not that great. It has qualities, but so did Hitler and I'm pretty sure it's far from normal to say "perfect leadership guaranteed" about him. I'm not comparing Alpha Tiger to Hitler, of course, but you get my point? Just because something is good in certain aspects it doesn't make it perfect.

Alpha Tiger is a decent power metal album with a few better tracks, but overall I'd say it's pretty much average. Recommended to big power metal fans but not to people that aren't that much in to that music because it's not like Alpha Tiger comes with anything new on this album.



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