I saw Tyranitar for the first time at an event called “Metal Fights Cancer” at Rockin’ Buffalo Saloon in March 2015. A lot of people like to use the phrase “love at first sight”, but in this case, it really was exactly that. I had no idea what they sounded like; I just knew that I loved their war paint and fur coverings. Beyond that, the frontman had a battleaxe for a guitar. How was anyone supposed to compete with this? The rumors of Rochester, NY having their own Amon Amarth were obviously true and I knew I was about to be neck deep in it for the long haul.
Needless to say, after four years of songs, shows, beers and laughs, I’m still proudly at the head of Tyranitar’s charge. All the while I’ve supported them, I’ve only ever had one major complaint: “Guys, when are you going to get back in the studio and release more than a demo?” Well, thankfully that four year wait has come to an end. On March 23rd, Tyranitar will release their debut full length, Tales of a Brutal World, and after giving it the thorough initial listen this album deserves, I have to say it’s worth all the hype I personally put on it and then some. WNY’s sole reigning metal Vikings have released a true banger of a record, and while it’s true that they’ve been known to cover an Amon Amarth song live here and there, don’t let their obvious AA influence cause you to write Tyranitar off as a cookie cutter band. Tyranitar truly have a unique melodic death metal sound, but you won’t know that until you give Tales of a Brutal World a try.
An album such as this carries with it all the guitar harmonies, harsh higher registered screams, war-like drumming and Viking lore based lyrics you’d come to expect, but what makes Tyranitar really stand out is the attention to detail in their songwriting. Vocalist/guitarist Patrick Boswell spearheads this band with his personal brand of Viking storytelling and musical prowess. Someone unfamiliar with Tyranitar might hear a song online and dub them either melodic death or folk metal, or perhaps a combination of the two. Even so, the important thing to remember is that every Tyranitar song tells a story both musically and lyrically. Every riff, every transition and every musical mood on Tales of a Brutal World is perfectly balanced with the mood and vocal patterns behind the lyrics. That being said, the pop song structure of intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, end, hardly serves as a crutch on this album. Many modern MDM bands yield to this formula to keep things simple and catchy, but Tyranitar have found a way to keep their hooks alive, while at the same time, their music seems to be written for the sake of the story being told and not the other way around. A perfect example of this is in the album closer, “Mad Monk”. Towards the middle of this track, Tyranitar gets a little dissonant and diminished for the first time in the guitars, giving the bulk of the tune a very unique and ominous black metal feel; not at all common in this genre. But then again, this is a band that writes their music around their story, and in doing so, creates a perfect balance between their lyrical content and music. So many bands strive to obtain this and fail.
Fans of Tyranitar who have seen a show or two will recognize most of the tracks on Tales of a Brutal World. This is an album the band has been dancing around for years and now that it’s finally out, Tyranitar now have a chance to press on with their writing and put together an all new chapter in their Nordic born story. There is an unmistakable feeling of closure upon the final note of the final song, “Mad Monk”. I often tell readers to listen to albums all the way through for the first time and this album is no different. Tyranitar have built a very strong foundation for themselves with this piece and I can only be optimistic about their future.
A few years ago, I ventured to Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, where I saw Amon Amarth pack the room wall to wall. I’m pretty sure the promoters oversold the show, but it was worth the chaos. More importantly though, that show reminded me of Tyranitar’s potential. Metalheads love Viking metal; that much is clear. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Rochester’s resident Vikings take up a similar stature among Europe’s metal Viking elite. Time will tell.
Patches O’Brayer – Bass/Vocals
Casey Gilbert – Guitar