JAG PANZER

"The Scourge of the Light" (SPV; 2011)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Springing back with a blistering 10-track power metal assault ("Condemned to Fight"), Jag Panzer returns with their bombastic swagger intact on "The Scourge of Light."

This veteran Colorado troupe puts the pedal to the metal here, making certain that meaty riffs and histrionic vocals work together in perfect harmony while displaying a glorious array of melodic splendor ("Overlord") with a flurry of dizzying fretwork gymnastics that shred heads will undoubtedly fawn over.

Prevailing with a pervasive classic metal vibe ("Let it Out") while adding in piano and strings for added dramatic appeal ("Burn"), Jag Panzer has made a triumphant return to the frontline of the power metal realm with the release of this stellar offering.

For more information, check out http://www.jagpanzer.com

"Casting the Stones" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Casting the Stones" is yet another solid slab of pure power metal from Jag Panzer. And, although that's not surprising considering the band's incredibly successful history, what is surprising is how solid "Casting the Stones" is.

From the first track to the last, "Casting the Stones" never stops delivering a devastating wall of sharp and crushing metal. The Godzilla-like riffs, the razor sharp leads, the pounding drums and bass and, of course, the soaring epic voice of Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin once again combine to create an album that will shake the walls and rattle the windows. 

Most of the songs on "Casting the Stones" are medium-paced rockers, although occasionally the heat gets turned up a bit and things move a little faster. The only times things really slow down are on the Dio-like "Precipice" and the radio friendly "Cold." Still, even those songs rock heavily, with "Cold" being the kind of aimed-at-radio-airplay single you wouldn't be embarrassed to hear.

Jag Panzer fans are going to be thrilled with "Casting the Stones" as will most metal fans in general. Those unfamiliar with the band can actually start here as well as anywhere else, and that says a lot about a band that's been around as long as Jag Panzer has.

Jag Panzer: Harry Conklin - vocals; Chris Broderick - guitar; Mark Briody - guitars; John Tetley - bass; Rikard Stjernquist - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.jagpanzer.com

"Decade of the Nail-Spiked Bat" (Century Media; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Jag Panzer are a veteran band who have hung in there through the years and who have developed a strong fan base that continues to scoop up their CDs and fill their shows today. The band has quite some history, having survived despite a stream of line-up changes and an ever-changing music industry. So it makes sense that they would re-visit some of their earlier and rarer material by entering the studio and re-recording it with the band's current line-up.

"Decade of the Nail-Spiked Bat" is two full CDs, each containing ten tracks, of pure Jag Panzer power metal. The band's sound is probably best compared to that of Iced Earth, another metal band who only recently finally got the recognition they deserved. "Decade" doesn't have the slick-as-steel production that Iced Earth's most recent CD, "The Glorious Burden," boasted but, in this case, that's a good thing. The raw, raging metal of Jag Panzer would lose some of its rough-edged power if over-produced and power is what Jag Panzer is all about.

Yeah, sometimes things get a little silly. Although it's one of my favorite songs in the collection, "Metal Melts the Ice" is undeniably a bit cheesy, and some of the earlier songs are laden with heavy metal clichés. But, again, it's all part of the package and it's a package that's worked for many, many years.

The insert includes notes from the band on each and every track which are interesting and enlightening (for example, did you know that "Tower of Darkness" was the first song they ever recorded?) and even the CD artwork is from a painting done in 1985 originally created for the follow-up to the band's "Ample Destruction." 

Overall, "Decade of the Nail-Spiked Bat" is a must have for longtime Jag Panzer fans and a great place to start for those who don't know the band. My hunch is that anyone who likes what they hear on this terrific two-disc set will seek out the band's incredible catalog of great heavy metal.

Jag Panzer: Harry Conklin - vocals; Chris Broderick - guitar; Mark Briody - guitars; John Tetley - bass; Rikard Stjernquist - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.jagpanzer.com

"Thane to the Throne" (Century Media; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Power metal with a Shakespearean twist! Shakespeare's plays performed on the stage is as near perfection as anything in the creative arts. "Thane To The Throne" proves that Shakespeare's genius is effective in the power metal framework as well.

Jag Panzer has always seemed to be relegated to the sidelines of the metal elite - somehow surviving, but never really breaking through to commercial success. That should all change with "Thane To The Throne." Jag Panzer uses Shakespeare's "Macbeth" as a background story for their CD and power metal proves to be an apt medium to tell this classic tale of a cruel world inhabited by ambition, treachery, guilt, prophecy, revenge, lust for power, self-destruction, and nature's unforgiving fury.

"Thane To The Throne" is a power metal album worthy of great attention because as far as concept albums go it may be one of the best out there. Although, "Thane To The Throne" may not be as good as Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime," it has the same kind of cohesiveness and completeness that makes it a stunning and rewarding listen.

While the entirety of "Thane To The Throne" is a well-written, well-thought out conceptual album there are a number of tracks that can stand on their own and deserve special mention. "Fall Of Dunsinane" is a great track, "Hell To Pay" is worthy of radio attention, and the power-prog mix of "Treachery's Stain" proves that writing a good transitional song in a complex story needn't be mindless filler. "Fate's Triumph" is one of those great songs that you'll find at or near the end of CDs that might get passed over the first few listens - "Fate's Triumph" is a song with real meat that will stick to your bones and long-term memory.

The lyrics and vocals avoid the use of iambic pentameter yet the vocal delivery finds a comforting rhythm that is very suited for power metal styled vocals.

If there is one fault with "Thane To The Throne" is that it might be a too long for the attention span-challenged.

"Thane To The Throne" was produced by Jim Morris (Iced Earth, Death, Savatage).

Jag Panzer is Harry Conklin on vocals, Chris Broderick on guitar and keyboards, Mark Briody on guitar and keyboards, John Tetley on bass and backing vocals, and Rikard Stjernquist on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.jagpanzer.com

"Dissident Alliance" (Pavement; 1994)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Dissident Alliance" sounds different from every other Jag Panzer album for one very obvious reason: You don't have Harry Conklin on vocals. "Dissident Alliance" is the only Jag Panzer CD to feature another vocalist: Daniel Conca, who sadly passed away in early 2004.

Conca does an admirable but completely different job as vocalist on "Dissident Alliance." Conca doesn't have the epic metal voice that Conklin does, instead delivering a more subtle and, hence, less dominating performance. 

It fits the CD well - "Dissident Alliance" doesn't quite have the epic sound of later Jag Panzer CDs either. Instead, it plays a little lighter and looser. It's still enjoyable but it won't leave you plastered to the wall like other Jag Panzer CDs will.

Although it came about halfway through the band's career, "Dissident Alliance" sounds like a band just beginning to explore and discover their sound. Considering the band's other available releases, this one isn't a must have, but it is an interesting chapter in a long and continuing rock'n'roll history.

Jag Panzer: Daniel Conca - Vocals; Mark Briody - Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Chris Kostka - Guitar; John Tetley - Bass; Rikard Stjernquist - Drums.

For more information, check out http://www.jagpanzer.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:14:51 -0500.