I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers, and say I’ve been some JAG PANZER die-hard since back in the day. However, they were always one of those bands who many feel never got enough credit. And I can totally understand that. So, with the release of the band’s tenth studio album The Deviant Chord (out now, Steamhammer/SPV), and on the heels of a really fun interview I recently did with guitarist Mark Briody (look for that soon!), I figure now’s as good a time as any to finally have this Colorado band featured here in the pages of A&GS. So, have the years been kind to the group? Let’s dig in and see…
Opener “Born of the Flame” is all Power Metal glory from the very first note, vocalist Harry Conklin sounding in fine form, while axemen Briody and Joey Tafolla have at it with big riffs and dual harmonized lead breaks. Drummer Rikard Stjernquist is in full double kick-drum glory and bassist John Tetley is thick as a brick. “Far Beyond All Fear” is next and is one of the album’s finer tracks for sure. The group vocal on the hook is what really makes the song, even though the music is a friggin’ galloping beast. The whole thing just grabs you.
And speaking of favorites, “Foggy Dew” definitely falls into that category. Being a proud Irishman I’ve heard this tale of the 1916 Easter Uprising many a time and in many different renditions, but never quite like this. Kudos to the band for a very unique spin on a timeless classic. “Black List” is a track that shows off everyone’s chops, combining power with melody, and the guitar solo is pretty sick. The title track starts off slow and takes nearly two minutes to get going, which I didn’t love at first; still it’s not a bad tune.
“Divine Intervention” features some more dynamic guitar interplay between Briody and Tafolla, along with a sing-along chorus made for raising a pint of beer or six, while “Salacious Behavior” is one of the disc’s heaviest and fastest cuts. My runaway favorite though, has to be “Fire of Our Spirit.” Everything about this track screams “METAL!!” and I found myself playing it over and over again. The disc ends with “Dare” which is another one I really enjoyed as soon as I heard it. JAG PANZER surely have a good one on their hands with this album, and I think fans old and new will be very pleased with The Deviant Chord. This is a record that needs to be played LOUDLY.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Fire of Our Spirit”, “Foggy Dew”, “Far Beyond All Fear”, “Black List”