We Will All Be Gone
9th February 2018 – Metal Blade Records
01. The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking
02. Float On
03. Such a Kind Stranger
05. Salt of the Earth
06. Grip Shoes
07. Just Shy
08. Nineteen Grams
09. Cherry Lemon
10. I’ll Finish This Book Later
Supergroups have so rarely lived up to their promise. While there have been a handful recently that have exceeded expectations (Killer Be Killed, Serpentine Dominion), more often than not the results are less than the sum of their parts. Good Tiger are an anomaly in that respect; their debut album A Head Full of Moonlight was not only the best composition that any one of its band members had been a part of up to that point, but also was one of the finest albums of 2015.
The most arresting component of Good Tiger’s sound was the seeming incongruity between the soulful crooning of lead vocalist Elliot Coleman and the often dissonant and highly technical playing of lead guitarist Derya Nagle (formerly of The Safety Fire) and drummer Alex Rüdinger (who has been a touring drummer for demanding projects including Revocation, The Faceless and Monuments). The peppered in screams on their more aggressive songs such as “Snake Oil“, “Enjoy the Rain“, and “’67 Pontiac Firebird” were a welcome contrast to Coleman’s soothing tenor and aided in giving the band more bite and distinctiveness.
An element of aggression that was frequently present throughout A Head Full of Moonlight is all but absent on follow-up We Will All Be Gone. Good Tiger have invested in their progressive and pop elements at the expense of their metal and hardcore roots and they are now (aside from some aging comedians) one of the most curious members of the Metal Blade roster. All of this is not to say that We Will All Be Gone is a bad album, or at its core a disappointing follow-up to a stellar debut – far from it, in fact. What we have here is an album that may require some adjustment from those who were hoping for more of the same from Good Tiger; something that simultaneously has wider mainstream appeal and is likelier to bring new fans into the fold. It is a less exhilarating effort than the first album, but not less impressive nor in any way less valid artistically.
Opening track “The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking” starts off inconspicuously enough before positively bursting with energy a minute in that demonstrates how adept Good Tiger are at executing big hooks alongside the aforementioned proggy atmosphere. While the songs that follow lack the urgent tone set by the opening song, they still manage to be intricately written and memorable. “Blueshift” effortlessly recaptures the passionate, cathartic tone that is reminiscent of Deftones and Circa Survive at their most affecting and is likely going to be considered a defining track for Good Tiger. It is so easy to imagine it blowing the roof of a venue in a live setting with its powerful chorus which erupts from the twinkly, understated verses. Similarly, “Salt of the Earth” has top 40 potential with its catchy “I’ve never been a religious man” hook. This slight shift in tone shows Good Tiger leaning more towards their Zelliack side since the debut than towards their The Safety Fire side.
The latter half of We Will All Be Gone has some notable and surprising tricks up its sleeve such as the song “Nineteen Grams” which really lets Alex Rüdinger get out of the pocket and drive the song forward percussively; punctuating the chorus by riding the toms fiercely while the guitars back it with a deep groove that would not be out of place on a Monuments track. While some songs do make a larger impact than others, there are no bad songs to be found from front to back—merely some that do not soar as high as others. The album closes out with a heavy post-rock riff that sounds a lot like Vheissu-era Thrice, which is always to be taken as a compliment.
We Will All Be Gone, much like A Head Full of Moonlight, does not even come close to overstaying its welcome as it clocks in under 40 minutes with 9 full tracks and a brief instrumental to get it to a nice round 10. It is a strange beast in that it does not deviate so much from Good Tiger’s established sound to mark a major change, yet at the same time it is not difficult to imagine that the softened edges will disappoint a significant portion of those who flocked to the project’s Indiegogo back in 2015. Newcomers and those who can adjust their expectations accordingly will find a satisfying album that is an early standout in 2018 with great hooks and high replayability. While not as intense or surprising as its forebear, We Will All Be Gone is a powerful, unique album; a good tiger defanged is still a good tiger.