When Tigers Fight – Death Songs

Abrasive, angry and unforgiving the new album from US hardcore band When Tigers Fight, shakes and challenges the foundations whilst pulling one in with some mightily crafted pinpoint grooves and caustic melodic play that re-inspires the buckling senses from the surrounding attack. "Dead Songs" is a persistent wearing down of the ear and beyond but a provocative and testing release that offers more substantial rewards than many other similarly aggressive confrontations.
Released through Closed Casket Activities, "Death Songs" is the follow up to the band’s debut album "Ghost Story" of 2006 which succeeded a self titled EP the year before. Though not prolific the band do leave a mark with each release that is hard to shrug off.
Formed by vocalist Mike McTernan of Washington DC-based hardcore kings Damnation A.D., and guitarist Jonathan Dennison of Another Victim, Unholy, Santa Sangre, The Path Of Resistance, and The Promise, When Tigers Fight completed by Jim Winters and Andy Miller return with an album that oozes pedigree and substance to balance and compliment the aggressive power of the band.
The opening ‘Never Want to Hear Your Voice’ is a short sharp shock on the system, an opening up of the ear for the following ‘L'Esprit de l'Escalier’ to rage and fire things up. With stubborn riffs that demand attention through an intense rubbing up of the ear and the harsh scowling vocals of McTernan the song consumes and fills every thought with its angry mass. This gives the album a formidable opening if a less than inviting entry for the less hardened.
The following ‘Temporary Fix’ is the first to offer a resemblance of a groove though it forms into a totally dark absorbing one as the song lays down its agenda. The album at this point finds its swing and true focus with the following likes of ‘The Forever Decision’, the excellent ‘The Outsiders’, and best track ‘All I Had To Give’, all driving through the ear with intensive grooves and blistering intensity in sound and lyrically. An impressive feature is how the band make truly anthemic songs without discernible hooks and gang chants to lead the way.
With essences reminding of Earth Crisis and Cro-Mags, When Tigers Fight take or do nothing lightly from which their music finds a fuller and more satisfying balance in an album that without lighting up the fires definitely satisfies fully. (8/10)

Pete RingMaster