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Jag Panzer - The Scourge of the Light (9,5/10) - USA - 2011

Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Steamhammer
Playing time: 48:47
Band homepage: Jag Panzer

Tracklist:

  1. Condemned To Fight
  2. The Setting Of The Sun
  3. Bringing On The End
  4. Call To Arms
  5. Cycles
  6. Overlord
  7. Let It Out
  8. Union
  9. Burn
  10. The Book Of Kells
Jag Panzer - The Scourge of the Light

Nearly legendary in status, but almost the opposite of prolific, Colorado’s JAG PANZER is finally back after a seven-year absence with “The Scourge Of The Light.” A highly anticipated album, many fans also seemed to take a tentative approach, unsure of how the loss of respected guitarist Chris Broderick (who left the band for the greener pastures of MEGADETH) would effect the overall sound. Well, I’m happy to report that even with the notable loss, JAG PANZER has returned with a real burner that fires on all cylinders.

 

The modernized approach found on previous effort, “Casting The Stones,” which drew valid comparisons with NEVERMORE (a band Broderick moonlighted in – go figure), is all but completely absent this go-round. While I absolutely adored that album, and still listen to it regularly, many fans had a hard time digesting the modern elements. Luckily then, “The Scourge Of The Light” harkens back to the classic Metal sound of “The Fourth Judgement,” with the intricacies of “Mechanized Warfare,” and an ever present need to move forward.

 

JAG PANZER, much like other genre greats PHARAOH, have an uncanny ability to write music that is both immediately memorable, but also quite heady and progressive in nature. While the first listen to “The Scourge Of The Light” is rewarding enough in it’s own right, it’s only after repeated spins that you realize just how much JAG PANZER manages to cram into an album. While there are some simpler, more straight forward tracks (“Let It Out”), mini epics like “The Setting Of The Sun,” “Overlords” and “The Book Of Kells” are where the album truly shines.

 

The principle force behind the band, guitarist Mark Briody, simply has a way of taking the listener on a journey they wish would never end. And who better to narrate said journey than Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin, who with any justice would be mentioned with the Dio’s, Dickenson’s and Halford’s of the Metal world. The man’s vocals are simply world-class, and I swear he simply gets better with age. New guitarist, Christian Lasegue (who's not really 'new,' since he was actually with the band for the recording of "Chain Of Command"), also does an excellent job, making it easy to forget about Broderick’s absence. And not to leave anyone out, John Tetley and Rikard Stjernquist continue to do fantastic job of holding down the bottom end.

 

“The Scourge Of The Light” shines from start to finish, with nary a week moment in sight. It’s a pleasure to hear a band with the history and pedigree of JAG PANZER continue to show the younger generation how Heavy Metal is meant to be played. There’s no doubt that this is a strong, early candidate for album of the year.

 

This is Heavy Metal the way the Gods intended. Well done gentleman. Well done.

(Online March 21, 2011)

Eric Vieth



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