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Tiger Army - III: Ghost Tigers Rise (Cover Artwork)

Tiger Army

Tiger Army: III: Ghost Tigers RiseIII: Ghost Tigers Rise (2004)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

III: Ghost Tigers Rise isn't the album I was expecting, but it is the album I was hoping for. For a band with a penchant for aggressive songs and macabre imagery, the fact that your drummer's been shot four times and has a bullet permanently lodged in his brain should (understandably) fuel some a.
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III: Ghost Tigers Rise isn't the album I was expecting, but it is the album I was hoping for.

For a band with a penchant for aggressive songs and macabre imagery, the fact that your drummer's been shot four times and has a bullet permanently lodged in his brain should (understandably) fuel some angered, raging tunes. Yet surprisingly this is most melodic, most intricate, and as it turns out most subtle record in Tiger Army's career. Maybe it's that Fred Hell's plight forced more introspection than anger, or maybe it's just that Nick 13's songwriting has reached that higher plateau he's always hinted towards, but this is the most musically accomplished and consistently enjoyable outing from the three piece yet.

It's always seemed that Tiger Army was stronger when leaning harder on their rockabilly roots than their punk side. At the end of the day material like "Power Of Moonlight," "In The Orchard" or "Cupid's Victim" always felt more complete and fully realized than the band's more traditional Misfits-fuelled rockers like "F.T.W" or "When Night Comes Down." III: Ghost Tigers Rise smartly builds up the style of the former songs, bringing the rockabilly and country influences to a new place of prominence and integrating a moody Smiths-like 80s pop feel on a number of tracks. The standouts seems to be the slower tempo tracks, like "Rose of the Devil's Garden" or the beautiful pedal steel guitar backed "The Long Road." Nick 13's vocals soar in these songs with more confidence and range than he's ever shown.

The band's rocking moments seem to fit better as well. Take the opening "Ghost Tigers Rise," a thrilling instrumental track that's shows the band raging out the gate with a showboating Reverend Horton Heat style vigour. The most striking thing is how good the band sounds in the song, particularly bassist Geoff Kresge. His playing here is worlds better than on II: Power Of Moonlight. He's admitted during interviews that he's learned much in both playing and recording the stand-up bass since then, and it shows on tunes like "Through The Darkness." Most noticeable is how percussive his playing is this time around, sounding closer to the style Quakes' bassist Rob Peltier employed on the first Tiger Army record. Fred Hell was still in recovery at the time when this was recorded, so drum tech Mike Fasano plays on the album. To his credit he's closely emulating Hell's own style and seamlessly meshes with 13 and Kresge.

III: Ghost Tigers Rise might disappoint those looking for a more rowdy and aggressive record, however considering the quality of the results the choice to take a more subtle approach was the best move Tiger Army could have made. Tiger Army's niche within the psychobilly movement has been that they're more in tune with roots Americana and less obsessed with shlocky horror than their peers. III: Ghost Tigers Rise captures that sound and vision better than anything Tiger Army has released prior.

Tiger Army - Ghostfire
Tiger Army e-card

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Operation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Weakerthans - Reconstruction SiteThe Clash - London CallingTiger Army - Music from Regions BeyondAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!NOFX - The DeclineWeezer - WeezerAFI - Black Sails In The SunsetAFI - The Art Of Drowning

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Godfather (October 4, 2005)

definitely their best album so far

im-dead (March 18, 2005)

Woops, 2 stars?! sorry guys....see this group live!!

im-dead (March 18, 2005)

I seen these guys last week and it comes highly recomended that if you get a chance to do so, you should, they put on an incredible live show. As for the album, i must say i prefer the older more phsyco-punk stuff but Nick's singing voice has certainly improved on this outing, and there's more country songs, which the army do oh so well. T.A.N.D

Anonymous (September 24, 2004)

TIGER...

ARMY...

NEVER...

DIE!!!!!! !!

Anonymous (August 19, 2004)

fuck the dude below me! tiger army is the shit and this cd is the shit, more melodic , but great!!!

Anonymous (July 29, 2004)

lolz tiger army r shit!!!!!!111111111111

Anonymous (July 8, 2004)

Admittedly not quite the album I was expecting..but wow,certainly the album i can't get off my stereo right now! In my humble opinion,their psycho fanbase'll probably love this more than than those who've recently discovered them through bands like AFI,but I think this album holds some of the best songs they've written to date,'Wander Alone' & 'Rose Of The Devil's Garden' being just a couple...& Nick's voice is sounding more impressive than ever!
LauraX

Anonymous (July 7, 2004)

i'm not a fan of tiger army but this third album is great

chrisafi (July 6, 2004)

If you think AFI are moving downhill, then clearly your some weird freaky hardcore fan. Which means quite frankly your opinions mean jack.

Anonymous (July 6, 2004)

I love this band but i am giving the score a 1 just because I can

Anonymous (July 4, 2004)

Tiger Army follows AFI down the hill...

chrisafi (July 4, 2004)

"And so it's come to be
Shards of broken dreams
Cutting me apart"

This is Tiger Army's best album definatly. It is simply much more lyrically expressive and impressive at the same time.
It's slown down to accomodate this. This is good.
This CD is good too. And it's getting better with every listen.

Anonymous (July 4, 2004)

ahahaha... taigaa aamiii

punkindrublic696 (July 3, 2004)

epitaph liked this review - http://www.epitaph.com/news/article.php?id=1429

Anonymous (July 1, 2004)

Even though this cd has slowed down the pace quite a bit, I think it's still a DAMN FINE effort. I really like this cd, but I think that since its way different than their other records, it's going to get mixed reviews. I'm just glad they are still around after what happened with Fred Hell.

Josh

JoshCBFL@aol.com

punxtar (July 1, 2004)

TIGER ARMY NEVER DIE!!!!!

good review too.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

They slowed it down a little but they still kick so much ass. Cant wait to see them at warped. TxAxNxDx

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

i thought London May joined this band...?

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Right, all I'm saying is that AFI's progression is linear, while you can't really say there's a linear progress with TA because their sound changed from album to album instead of "advancing along a path"

-El Vaquero

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Best TA album yet. Get it and enjoy some wonderful psychobilly.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

To the kid below, sux for you. THIS ALBUM KICKS ASS!

ohcanaduh (June 30, 2004)

The first two albums by Tiger Army were nothing short of spectacular, but I'm sorry I am just not digging this album.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

"The guy below me on that post is spewing everywhere."

Yes, exactly, that's when the Pepto Bismol is most effective. Get that man a bottle!

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

My bad chrisafi - thanks for the support.

C-Dogg

chrisafi (June 30, 2004)

Nah nah Cdog - I was backing you up dude
The guy below me on that post is spewing everywhere.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

"I'm a bit underwhelmed, but I'll give it time."

maybe you just need some good speed! and a bottle of that great panacea Pepto Bismol

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

I feel that Bay Area MC's, and African-American's in general, were misrepresented, when assessing the sounds of AFI and Tiger Army...

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

El Vaquero/Cowboy - I guess I think the rockabilly of s/t sounds harder than the music of III; not HARDCORE, but harder music. As for the Silver and Cold video...you got me. I really wish they would go back to their "Black Sails" era imagery.

LMChc - I never said TA made an entire hardcore record; only that their sound was harder. R Kelly sounds harder than Clay Aiken, but in no way are either a hardcore band.

Chrisafi - I have been saying all along what you said in your middle 2 sentences (TA never made a harcore record but their sound has changed from the first album to this). But then you say I'm full of shit twice (at least I think you're talking to me since you don't bother to address who you're talking too).

It's too hard to post here. I make one statement, than I gotta check back every couple hours to defend said statement. From now on I'm sticking to short innocuous statements like the following:

This cd is awesome. I wish I had an army of tigers to do my bidding...than I'd show you all.

C-Dogg

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Far and away the bands best work, the song writing is great, geoff's bass sounds the best it ever has. No filler, easily worth the wait-oldpunker-

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

AFI is shit.

I'll picking this up today if the record store happens to be carrying it.... Screw living in Canada.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

www.blacktiebombers.com

chrisafi (June 30, 2004)

Your full of shit
Tiger Army have not had an enitre record of hardstuff but they have changed from ALbum 1 to this one Album 3.
Album 1 had more "straightforward" hardcore pschobilly songs (not that that is bad) whilst this album has adopted softer more punkier songs
So shut up, your spewing shit all over the page.

LMChc (June 30, 2004)

the dude who compared afi and TA's careers forgot to mention tiger army's hardcore records.

oh. wait. they don't exist.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

That said, I haven't had this good a debate on this website since I switched my musical focus to Japan.

Cheers!

Cowboy

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Alright, the assuming backlash is well deserved, but hell, would arguing on the internet be any fun without all the biting comments?

You still have yet to clear up this little mess "Both bands started off with a much harder "punkier" sound." I don't believe you proved to me that their first album was anything but rockabilly driven instead of harder, as you and I both agree on existing in the second album, the middle of their career. What my statements outline is that AFI's maturity as a band is more progressive and smooth while Tiger Army has taken a rather different path, experimenting with a different sound scape with each album while maintaining a similar general "sound" throughout all of their albums, elements from each major twist present in all. And, yes, I am familiar with AFI and am not all that fond of the early or Sing The Sorrow, though I do enjoy Black Sails and Art of Drowning on occasion. Did you see the video for "Silver and Cold" though? I mean how could you even respect the band for making themselves look like the biggest dipshits on the current modern rock scene... laughable and not in a good way. Davey has an ego and I can't stand their direction or image.

Respectfully,

El Vaquero

theOneTrueBill (June 30, 2004)

I'm a bit underwhelmed, but I'll give it time.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Good review. I like this album a lot. True that's a little more laid back, but it's one of the most honest heartfelt music I heard in a while.

Ramo

Jesse (June 30, 2004)

My friend (who's a big metal/hard rock fan) is randomly a HUGE Tiger Army fan. I have to say I never heard them until a few days ago when I went bowling. I wasn't too impressed until I head "In The Orchard." I was like, "Man, this band should just do alt-country/rockabillyish shit."

I love the unique vocals.

Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

Yeah, I figured that was the case...haven't read much of the vertical writing...

My problem is that...forget what my problem was...I Lose.

This score is for them not using Kanji instead, and for me being illiterate...

And for me not using Gay Fag Noob Poseur Douche in any of my posts....yet.

gladimnotemo (June 30, 2004)

I didn't know how this was going to work out for TA, but I really like this album. It's mellow, but very dark...and Nick seems to write very honest lyrics, and doesn't just stick with horror for shlock (ex, Nekromantix [they're still very good, however]). Definately one of the best of the year.

cdogg (June 29, 2004)

El Vaquero,

First of all, I DO know their first and second albums (as well as a man can legally know an album) and I've seen them live. But thanks for assuming I only know what I've read in this review because you don't agree. Outlaw Heart is one of my favorite TA songs, along with Cupid's Victim and In the Orchard off the second. When I said they've evolved, I mean they took what they did on those songs and built upon them for this album. I didn't just think they only played harder songs in the past and radically changed their sound on this album. However, it appears that they've dropped much of their harder stuff (there are no tracks on this album similiar to FTW, Towards Destiny, etc.)

As for AFI, thanks for letting me know that they're pop trash. Alot of people on this site would disagree, but thanks for setting us straight. I guess since you didn't like "Sing the Sorrow" my comparison of AFI and TA doesn't hold true (that they both started with a harder sound than they currently have). I could assume that you're a fucking douche bag for not liking Sing the Sorrow, and assume you know nothing about AFI's previous albums, but I'll leave the assuming to you (since you've been so right so far). Thanks again!
Love, CDogg

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

Good to see this band is finally making honest music. I hate the whole overplayed horror movie thing when anyone besides the Misfits, the Undead, the Damned, or the Cramps do it.

This solidifies their status as being better than Nekromantix.

-BSD

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

cdogg, you are way off base on this one. If you knew their first album, instead of only reading this review, you would know that the first featured not only slower songs (Outlaw Heart) like the ones on this album, but several straight up rockabilly songs (including a cover of the classic Twenty Flight Rock, Neo Bam Boom, and others) and in general had a more rockabilly-influenced direction than they took later on.... In II, where the punk did shine through more than the country or rockabilly, which is what the review refers to as the change in "sound." To see them in a pattern of change similar to AFI is not only ridiculous considering their more twisting maturity, but also insulting considering that SIng The Sorrow is pop trash.

Oh, yeah, PWNED.

-El Vaquero

rage (June 29, 2004)

Actually, the Japanese read their text from right to left so it actually says "Tiger Army."

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

This score is for the fact that the Japanese says "Army Tiger"

~Still Kenny from Hammond.

inanechild (June 29, 2004)

Great album. Tiger Army never fails to impress me.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

i like this album. it's more mellow, they annoyed me a little on the older albums.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

i find this band to be very mediocre.

cdogg (June 29, 2004)

Great album. Another similiarity that now exists between Tiger Army and AFI (besides the dark imagery and similiar lead vocals) is how they progress from album to album. Both bands started off with a much harder "punkier" sound. As the bands both evolved musically, the harder sound gave way in favor of melody, resulting in - dare I say - more beautiful music (see "Sing the Sorrow"). I hate saying both bands have matured, since I don't think maturity is synonymous with slower music, but these bands have definately grown from album to album. Could DreamWorks be not too far off in Tiger Army's future?

(Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

This score is for the review. Maybe you can give Kirby and Jesse some pointers?

sjoipunx (June 29, 2004)

Wow!

This album is great! It definitely sounds more rockabilly than Moonlite or the self-titled record. For those that haven't heard it it much of it is a natural progression of songs like Cupid's Victim and In The Orchard. The sound is mixed perfectly and everything sounds awesome. It is obvious that Tiger Army have taken themselves to a new level.

I have spent a lot of money on this band in the last month having picked up the LP on vinyl and CD as well as the Ghost Tigers 10". I'm not really much for Morrissey, but their cover of "The Loop" is very good.

I hope the wait for IV is not as long as the wait for III. However if it is this good it will be worth it.

p.s. Nice review.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

Again, the cowboy forgets to log in and claims the last post. Again.

-ElVaquero

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

Adam, you are pretty much my favorite reviewer. For any publication. I really want to go and get this now, since I agree with you completely (Outlaw Heart is genius). I love graduation gift certificates.

chrisafi (June 29, 2004)

I agree with the reviewer. This is a much better album from Tiger Army and much more "rounded" and punky.
And I think Rose of the Devil's Garden and Long Road are the best tracks too.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

I liked all their albs and this one is also a killer

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

Roar!!!!

plaigth

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

I bought this lp a week before it came out, and it sucks. Power of moonlight was a way better album.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

this album is realy good. i always liked the slower tiger army songs. great cd

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- jones the bones

SOYBOMB (June 29, 2004)

Good review, Adam.

Peace,
-SOYBOMB-

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

i loved II.....and i'm pretty stoked for this. cupids victim was my fav. song on the last album. more songs like that and i'm sold

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

A review that starts out with a thesis statement.

Good job.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

Adam does it again, best album to come out this year. Songs the Long Road and Atomic kick so much ass
PsychoOS231

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