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Jag Panzer: The Scourge of the Light

Condemned to Fight

When listening to a Jag Panzer album, you know immediately what you're in for. This band has been blending the hard-hitting sound of the NWoBHM with the beauty of melodic power metal for almost 30 years now, and their long-awaited 9th full-length studio album, The Scourge of the Light, continues in this fashion. Although sticking to this sound definitely confines Jag Panzer's sound to a somewhat small scope, few bands tend to their dedicated fanbase as well as these American lads have been doing since their iconic debut album back in 1984. Jag Panzer has been consistently delivering high-quality power metal for so long that it's hard to criticize them for not revolutionizing the genre each time around. Fans of Jag Panzer will love The Scourge of the Light for sure, but don't expect any new ground to be broken in the process.

The music here shows distinct influences from the NWoBHM (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc.), European power metal (Helloween, Blind Guardian), and touches of American power metal (Iced Earth and Savatage). As such, this is nothing new for Jag Panzer, or the genre in general, but they deliver their music so professionally that it seems a bit nitpicky to criticize their somewhat derivative approach. The Scourge of the Light is filled with enough melodic hooks, captivating compositions, and breathtaking guitar solos to keep my attention for many spins. My biggest knock (aside from the lack of innovation) is that a few compositions are missing a bit of the power needed to fully immerse me, but excellent songs like "Condemned to Fight" and "The Book of Kells" make up for any dull moments in the end. Of course, the musicianship from all aspects is excellent.

One thing that really took me by surprise on The Scourge of the Light is that it was produced by Jim Morris of Morrisound Studios, but that's obviously a positive surprise. He's an excellent producer, and the sound here is unbeatable.

Conclusion:

The Scourge of the Light isn't a revolutionary album or the best thing Jag Panzer has ever done, but it further secures the band's place as one of the most consistent and ready-to-deliver bands in the power metal genre. A few more memorable compositions and a more innovative approach would've impressed me a bit more, but as the entire album is of high quality, 3.5 stars are well deserved. Now that the seven year wait is over, it's safe to say that Jag Panzer are back and still a force to be reckoned with in the power metal scene! Fans of the genre definitely won't want to miss out on yet another gem by this amazingly consistent act.


Track Listing
01. Condemned To Fight
02. The Setting Of The Sun
03. Bringing On The End
04. Call To Arms
05. Cycles
06. Overlord
07. Let It Out
08. Union
09. Burn
10. The Book Of Kells

Added: April 7th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Score:
Related Link: Official Website
Hits: 3020
Language: english

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Jag Panzer: The Scourge of the Light
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-07 05:58:51
My Score:

The Book of Kells

It seems that today's metal world is over stuffed with progressive, death, and power metal. With all this it is hard to find a band that is original, plays good, and makes you want to listen to them. After being around for 27 odd years, Jag Panzer has still found a way to do all these things, and it has accumulated into this: "The Scourge of the Light".

With traces of bands such as Savatage and Iron Maiden it is hard not to like this album. What's great about it, though, is not the sound, but the style. Jag Panzer plays power metal like the heavy metal of the 1980's, but with a few twists such as great keyboard work by Mark Briody, that brings in an Iron Maiden like feel, and some nice clean guitars by Christian Lasegue. Another thing that I like about this album is that it is not cheesy at all. Every single one of the songs on this album are well thought out and don't fall into any genre clichés that many bands seem to find themselves trapped in these days. But, I guess since Jag Panzer has been around for so long they can easily bypass these things.

One complaint I have is some of the songs, like 'Union' for example, seem a bit repetitive. They repeat the chorus a little too much and make the song just one big chorus. But, the vocals by Harry Conklin are top notch on this track, so it basically wipes out any complaints that I have. The 8 minute mini-epic 'The Book of Kells' is perhaps my favorite song on "The Scourge of the Light" mainly for the small bit of progressive leanings it has. The beginning vocals by Harry Conklin are top notch and blend nicely into the harmony section with what sounds like a chorus in the background. The guitars are also very good in this song, offering up a nice drive to it. The tempo of this song is also brought way, way down, really changing up the feeling of the album, and creating a nice creative tone.

The production is perfectly done by Jim Morris of Morrisound Studios, so there's nothing more to say there except great job.

Not only has this album given me reason to look at Jag Panzer's earlier albums, but it is also the best power metal I've heard this year. It has something for every fan of traditional heavy metal, power metal, or even progressive metal. For this great release Jag Panzer gets 4 stars.



Jag Panzer: The Scourge of the Light
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-06 06:48:55
My Score:

Hard to believe it's been 7 years since Casting the Stones, but that is indeed the case, and last time we've heard a peep out of the Jag Panzer camp. In the years between, the Colorado band lost one of their ace guitarists, Chris Broderick, who left to fill the much heralded slot in Megadeth, and brought in Chris Lasegue to work alongside Mark Briody. As we've come to expect from this veteran band, the results on this latest release The Scourge of the Light is nothing but quality heavy metal, which draws influence from the power metal and classic metal sub-genres. Harry Conklin's commanding vocals lead the charge, as the band deliver one memorable, melodic song after another, filled with plenty of catchy hooks, thunderous riffs, and tasty twin guitar harmonies. Are you a fan of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Savatage, Iced Earth, or Nevermore? Then you've come to the right place my friend.

No shortage of crunchy, memorable metal tunes here, such as "Call to Arms", "Condemned to Fight", "The Setting of the Sun", the twin guitar mastery of "Overlord", the massive guitar attack on "Union", and the majestic, Savatage influenced epic "The Book of Kells". Through it all, Conklin's powerful Ronnie James Dio meets Warrel Dane styled vocal attack just flat out impresses, giving these heavy songs that extra special touch with his passionate yet highly aggressive delivery.

Though The Scourge of the Light might not be breaking any new ground for this outfit, it's hard not to get pretty damn excited about the quality of the material here. In a time where there's so much generic sounding metal floating around the scene, it's nice to see a bunch of veterans delivering memorable, fist pumping heavy metal the way it ought to be played. Jag Panzer once again bring the goods in a big way.

Jag Panzer: The Scourge of the Light
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-01-21 08:37:01
My Score:

Decades into their career and seven years since their last album it has to be asked whether Jag Panzer are still relevant. The answer despite what the band call, "a limited recording budget," is very much in the affirmative. There's nothing on The Scourge of the Light that will change the course of recorded history but it's a solidly crafted album if that doesn't damn them with faint praise.

Clocking in at over eight minutes "Book of Kells" is epic in both scope and execution and the band touch base with both European power metal (Helloween and Blind Guardian spring to mind) and the Americanised version of the genre and this is reinforced by having Iced Earth alumni Jim Morris on board production wise.

Jag Panzer will never bestride popular culture, heck, they be niche forever but it's a pretty fine niche and I'll wager we haven't heard the last from them yet by a long chalk.



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