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The Sound of Animals Fighting - Tiger and the Duke CD (album) cover


The Sound of Animals Fighting


Heavy Prog

3.93 | 17 ratings

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The Whistler
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Okay, right off the bat...this album has screaming. No, wait, don’t run away. Now, I don’t consider myself a screamy music fan. Or even knowledgeable really. I’ve heard some bad screamo bands, some not quite as bad screamo bands, and even went to a concert where I couldn’t hear stuff good until the next morning.

The point is, this album surprised me. It’s really not terribly screamo, by the way. It calls itself “experimental,” which is might be but probably isn’t. It’s a weird brand of art metal in a way. And it manages to be very intelligent along the way. Well, at least it’s interesting.

The “Overture” of the album is really just a minute or so of murky sound effects. Stabbing for atmosphere. The real fun starts with “Chasing Suns,” which opens up with blistering riffage, blustering sound effects, and...well, screaming. But the riffage is excellent, the screaming quickly dissolves into unintelligible lyrics, and the song takes plenty of twists and turns to become a very interesting, almost epic, headbanger. Best song on the album really.

“Interlude” is the first of many (three?) Brian Eno-esuqe soundscapes that divide the songs. Not terribly memorable, but rhythmic, so I have no complaints. “All is Ash or the Light Shining Through It” crashes through the haze with Latin leaning riffs, almost laid back, before picking up speed and turning into a pleasant hard rocker.

There’s another “Interlude,” this one more electronic, but tasty, and then “Modulate Back to the Tonic.” This one’s a little schizo, alternating between spoken words with an alt rock backing to shouted chorus framed by a heavier backing. It shifts back and forth for a bit, before unexpectedly bleeding into a final “Interlude,” this one all bleeps and bloops...but it’s short, and really just a set up for the closer, “You Don’t Need a Witness,” which magically manages to take the weirdo elements of the other songs and cram them into a single number, just with more psychedelic flourish and theatrics than before. Even if the ending is a touch anticlimactic...

The only crime I can call down upon this piece of work with great certainty is the “Postlude.” Five minutes of pointless, boring noise. It’s meant to be another Eno soundscape, but unlike all those cute lil’ interludes and overtures, it’s first long, second it doesn’t evolve that much, third it’s LONG, it’s not that rhythmic either, and finally, it’s LOOOOOOONG. I usually skip it.

In fact, I should probably lower the rating just a taddy bit because of that wretched “Postlude,” but I shan’t. Why? Because this album really, really surprised me. It’s GOOD damn it. I mean, it shoves together a bunch of elements I didn’t think could fit (ambient electronics, sceamy metal, experimental stuff...hell, “All is Ash” turned into a waltz at some point, and “Modulate” had a blues guitar solo for cryin’ out loud).

To sum up Tiger and the Duke in one word would be “pleasantly surprising.”Or, in two words, “eclectic.” And that’s good! Half an hour of pure screamy art metal would end up tracking low on the attention span chart, no matter how fun it was. But this has diversity outside, and inside, the songs. Pretty much, whatever you come in expecting, you might get it, but you’ll probably get something else out of it too.

No. The rating is a four. It’s a bit of a cheat, since this isn’t like a group of unprofessional or anything. Sound of Animals Fighting is a superground after all. Hell, Sound isn’t a group, it’s a machine. And, luckily, the machine happens to be very well oiled right now. But if you don’t mind a pinch of screaming with your art metal (and definitely some alternative rock connections, so maybe I mean alt metal...whatever the hell that would mean), then this is easily worth a listen.

The Whistler | 4/5 |


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