Year 1985, 2017
Tzar has always been a family affair. The band was made up from 3 brothers, Frank Tahan (the eldest/founder), John, Peter (the youngest) and a high school friend Guy Morin, being the first drummer of the band. Their location was on Ontario Canada, in a French speaking suburb and after some lineup changes the 3 brothers recorded their first attempt in late 1981. But these were just the baby steps for the band as Tzar were actually active (and in a pro state) in the brief period from 1983 to 1986. Their one and only LP entitled ‘Players Of The Game’ with the ultra cult front cover was one of the most an expensive and highly collectable item for all the 80’s collectors. The album was originally printed in 1985 when poser/glam was at its best and thrash metal was dominating everything on the underground and was becoming the next big thing. Musically speaking we can hear a lot of primal Motley Crue (‘Don’t Try to Love’, ‘Heavy Metal Queen’) here and there and the passion that ‘Too Fast for Love’ had. It’s not only the vocal’s approaching. The guitar tuning, the production, the backing vocals, the lyrics… everything remind me of the Crue’s debut. And I don’t say that in a bad way. You can hear also some Scorpions elements (‘Born to Rock’) or L.A. Guns (‘Missing You’), as Tzar were seeking for a hit in order to make the breakthrough. The potential of the band’s members are obviously audible, while the compositions are fair enough (I personally liked ‘We’ve got the Right’ and ‘One Ticket to Paradise’) with catchy choruses and aggressive yet melodic sound. The guitar soloing reminds me of Randy Rhoads in a way but with more hard rock than metal feeling of course. Are we dealing with a masterpiece or a forgotten gem ? I wouldn’t say so (unless you are a 100% hard rock poser fanatic), but it is a really nice effort that may cost a lot in past years -as many were selling its few copies for a small fortune- but now Lost Realms is offering the album in a logical price in a limited edition of 500 copies, with the complete ‘Players Of The Game’ album, remastered from the best analog sources available, plus a 16-page booklet with song lyrics, rare photos and official biography written by Peter ‘Le Grand’ Tahan.