One of the biggest issues heavy music faces from fans of other genres is the stigma that it “all sounds alike.” Good Tiger‘s A Head Full of Moonlight aims to disprove that and does so quite effectively. In fact, Good Tiger toes the line between mathy indie rock and metal so effectively they could be equally at home on tour with Copeland and Circa Survive as with August Burns Red and Between The Buried And Me, like they are now. With members coming from bands as diverse as The Faceless, Tesseract, and The Safety Fire, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the band gels better than many acts who’ve been together for a decade. [columns] [column size=”1/3″]
Album Title: A Head Full of Moonlight
Release Date: 22 April 2016
Playing Time: 00:35:00
Label: Metal Blade Records
Good Tiger are certainly not the standard definition of metal. Right away, opening track “Where Are the Birds” comes out with an indie-rock influenced guitar lead and soaring clean vocals from ex-Tesseract frontman Elliot Coleman that share much more in common with Saosin or The Mars Volta than Slayer or Disturbed, although just a touch of rasp gives them an interesting and unique flavor. Musically, the song downright twinkles compared to metal, but the propulsive drumbeat, very reminiscent of bands like Mutemath or Paper Route, keeps things from ever feeling soft, either. “Snake Oil” comes out of the gate with an angry riff and snarling screams, and it’s easily the most immediately catchy tune here, even featuring a classic-metal inspired guitar solo. “Enjoy The Rain” is next and definitely cements the Saosin comparisons. The riff is fast and complex but still very melodic, and the vocals border on operatic, hitting some impressive highs punctuated by an occasional raspy scream.
“I Paint What I See” relies on the bass to carry the verse hook, and delves into prog territory among some of the highest vocals on the album (think The Darkness). “Aspirations” dives into the math-rock with abandon and doesn’t really have a song structure so much as just a continuous evolution of sound. Alex Rudinger’s drums here are absolutely phenomenal, managing to pound without overwhelming. “Latchkey Kids” is one of the most adventurous tunes here, with an almost Sunny Day Real Estate style riff and gorgeous vocals that could be lifted straight off an Anberlin track, before morphing halfway through into a spacey, distorted epic that borders on Deftones territory.
“All Her Own Teeth” has a bit of a darker tone and finds Coleman exploring his lower vocal range. It’s not deep growls by any means, but the somber note contrasts nicely with the previous songs, and the song doesn’t sacrifice any intensity for the understated vocals. “Understanding Silence” is almost the reverse: the music is minimalist, and the song is carried almost entirely by ethereal vocals. Closing track “’67 Pontiac Firebird” pulls all the elements together for one last burst of aggression, with a sludgy main riff and mathy leads, pretty vocals interrupted by metalcore roars, and an outro that switches from hardcore breakdown to jazz, just because they can.
Good Tiger are a challenging band to listen to. There is so much going on at once it can overwhelm the songs at times, but the band’s musicianship is impeccable, the hooks are phenomenal, and the attitude is contagious. Anyone willing to branch out into non-traditional “heavy” music will be rewarded by this excellent debut album.
Elliot Coleman – vocals
Derya “Dez” Nagle – guitar
Joaquin Ardiles – guitar
Morgan Sinclair – bass
Alex Rüdinger – drums