Jag Panzer – The Scourage of the Light (SPV Records)Wednesday, 20th March 2013
It’s been an eternity in power metal years since Jag Panzer’s last studio album, 2004’s Casting the Stones, which in retrospect wasn’t the most cohesive top-to-bottom album in their career. Now functioning with a new guitarist Chris Lasegue as former lead player Chris Broderick moved forward toMegadeth, The Scourge of the Light represents a crucial stage in sustaining the legions of long-time Panzer fans while also hopefully expanding their following, as they’ve been a long time festival favorite yet remain below the theatre headlining status in North America and abroad.
First off, do not fret about the new solo dynamics from Lasegue. He certainly has the arpeggio skills and technical ability to slay his axe with the best in the business, but I feel with songs like “Bringing on the End” and “Overlord” he has that innate instinct to keep things flavorful and with a purpose. Drummer Rickard Stjernquist just has one of those hard hitting styles that improves with age, understanding how to lay back on a more vocal-oriented effort like “The Setting of the Sun” and then showcasing all of his tricks of the trade on the up tempo blitzkrieg “Let It Out.”
No review of Jag Panzer would be complete without dissecting the brilliance and one-of-a-kind vocal delivery from Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin. He has the high pitched heroics for the charging opener “Condemned To Fight” (picture “Thundersteel” meets “Painkiller” for the speed and atmosphere), the controlled, mid range and epic Dio-like melodies for “Call To Arms” and then the evil, snide personality quips a la Rob Halford during “Burn.” His harmonies also convey professionalism second to none in the metal community- take inthe bridge work within “Overlord” or my favorite track, the marching “Union” as best examples.
Overall, this album to me has a mixture of The Age of Mastery along with the epic, NWOBHM textures from their Chain of Command era, with updated production values courtesy of the band and Morrisound‘s Jim Morris. It’s power metal not in the European sense with loads of keyboards, positive choir choruses and this air of happiness- instead you’ll feel a brotherhood spirit, marching to the strains you’ve come to love with early Iron Maiden , Judas Priest and Dio-era Black Sabbath.
The Scourge of the Light is a mighty comeback and definitely the best Jag Panzer album I’ve heard in the last 15 years. Please reward creativity and talent by purchasing this album and recommending to all metalheads far and wide.
(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)