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Alpha Tiger: Beneath The Surface

Euro power metal, powered primarily by Ribena

Although there are licks and widdles flying around here that might casually warrant the accolade ‘awesome’, youthful gurning Germans Alpha Tiger frequently push their ultra-slick harmonies, chirpy melodies and frantic squeaky vocals into a diabetic coma of ridiculous, saccharine cheese.

So far so 90s Euro power metal, but these guys have either the iron balls or the crippling lack of taste to throw in the odd emo pop-punk refrain and metalcore boyband chorus alongside the shredding Gamma Ray/Helloween worship. It’s disorientating, and sometimes ghastly, but it had to happen sooner or later, and weirdly the odd-numbered tracks here are dead good: raging headbanger From Outer Space, galloping epic Eden Lies In Ruins and the emotive prog-thrash of the title track.

But 56 minutes is fatally over-stretching this sort of thing; the rest flits between nu-trad average and madly irritating, and with their gleeful enthusiasm and primary-coloured chops, even Alpha Tiger’s good bits (and indeed their name) come over like a Fisher Price My First Metal Band.