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Jag Panzer

The Deviant Chord

Review by Mike Korn

Jag Panzer has returned, and it’s like they never went away. This classic American metal band has been plying its trade in one form or another since 1981. They were arguably one of the very first American bands to be influenced by the NWOBHM, and in 2017 they continued to adhere to that archetypal metal sound influenced by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Angelwitch and more.

The Deviant Chord is their return after a long layoff. It serves as a bit of a tour through the history of the band and features a good variety of all the types of metal they’ve dipped their toes in over the years…racing speed metal, powerful anthemic tracks, melodic semi-ballads with an epic feel. The production is excellent, allowing all the musicians to shine and the rich, unique vocals of Harry Conklin to stand out. This guy has a stellar “true” metal voice that is not a knockoff of the usual masters like Halford, Tate, Dickinson.

Folks, metal like this is in short supply. If you don’t go out and support, it may not be heard for much longer. Jag Panzer is one of the recognized masters of the art form. Grab The Deviant Chord and investigate their sizable back catalog.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Born of The Flame

This is how you kick an album off! It’s a great surging and powerfully driving track with a lot of classy, epic guitar melodies. The axe-work is phenomenal, and Conklin’s vocals are so clear and powerful, they sound like the ringing of a bell. This is traditional metal delivered with purity and passion.

Far Beyond All Fear
The galloping tempo of this cut makes you feel like you are going into battle with a mighty army. There are touches of Iron Maiden and early Queensryche, but Jag Panzer has always taken those influences and incorporated them into their own style.
The Deviant Chord
The title track cools things down a bit with a balladic, mysterious beginning, and Conklin’s singing is notably more delicate and emotional than on the earlier tracks. There’s even some sad violin playing to add to the melancholy atmosphere. Then huge sounding power chords kick in with a bulldozing mid-paced crunch. Multi-tracked vocals appear on the chorus as Conklin’s voice soars. The man can sing!
Black List
This one is a hammering, hard-driving track with great soloing and some twin harmony guitar. It's a strong meat-and-potatoes metal song.
Foggy Dew
This is a real nice change of pace, a traditional Irish folk song “metalled up” and given the Jag Panzer treatment. As you might guess, it’s very Celtic sounding and not unlike something Thin Lizzy would do. A military drumbeat and more cool twin harmony guitar push this one along.
Divine Intervention
There’s a creeping, stalking feel to this song. The multi-tracked chorus is quite involved and almost like something delivered by a church choir. The guitar solo is relatively brief but is so clear and sharp, it will bring tears to the eyes of any shred fans.
Long Awaited Kiss
A woman’s voice asks “can you hear me” and leads to a beautifully sad melody with piano and violin. When the heavy guitar comes in, it also has a powerful, melancholy tone. Harry Conklin’s vocals are almost fragile but soar on the chorus. This is one awesome metal ballad that shows Jag Panzer is just as effective in more melodic realms as they are when it comes to fast and heavy metal.
Salacious Behavior
As expected, they follow the ballad with a real ripper. This is my favorite track on the album….raging fast metal with crushingly catchy riffs and great vocal hooks. Conklin’s vocals sound subtly different here, a bit more nasal. The double bass drumming is amazing and propels the song like a rocket. This is just a great heavy metal track.
Fire Of Our Spirit
Here’s another fast and aggressive track that kicks off with a barrage of great guitar licks. This is a real shredder’s delight, bursting with high level axe-work. The vocals again have that church choir effect and are very epic and majestic sounding.
Dare
The opening chords on this one are like a bulldozer and lead to a mid-paced cruncher with more multi-tracked vocals. The chorus is a beautifully flowing and soaring construction that shows Conklin’s rich tone to great effect. The song is an ode of archaeological discovery: “The more we look, the more we find/The things that history left behind."
 
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