Y&T - Black Tiger
(A&M - 1982)
Category : underrated
Critics often compare this album to their breakthrough record 'Earthshaker' and state that it's just soms sort of bad carbon copy, that all the material is inferior and that it all sounds pretty lame. Those critics should have their ears examined. 'Black Tiger' does indeed have some filler material, but so did 'Earthshaker' (and in my opinion even more so), but overall it's superior to 'Earthshaker' in more than one way. It's got one track ('My way or the highway') that can stand next to the best songs on 'Earthshaker' and four that are even better than that. They have better vocal melodies, are better compositions and to say that the way in which they are performed is stiff or lame must have been brought on by too much substance abuse.
The fast Metal song 'Open Fire' is an energetic opener and quite simply fun to listen to. 'Hell or high Water' is a downtempo Rock song with a jumpy guitar riff, a shout-along chorus and lots of good soloing. 'Black Tiger' is uptempo classic Metal with a very memorable chorus. Together with 'Winds of Change' it's the absolute standout of the album. 'Winds of Change' is a dramatic sounding power ballad. It's often said to be a weak remake of 'I believe in you' on 'Earthshaker', but wrong again. 'Winds of Change' is by far the superior composition here. It simply takes its time to progress.
I never cared much for most of the Y&T releases following 'Black Tiger' as they seemed to have made the decision by then to become a Hair Metal band à la Ratt or Dokken and the percentage of bland filler material became too high. I never really liked the first Y&T albums either (when they were still called Yesterday & Today), but on 'Earthshaker' and even more so on 'Black Tiger', Y&T got their act together, making both these albums worthy additions to any old school metalhead's record collection.