A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
I'm amazed how the worldwide journalism crew view this album- as most Europeans have praised this Ohio quintet to no end while the American contingent seem to side with the LETHAL/ QUEENSRYCHE clone tag for this act. Where do I stand? I guess in the middle- meaning their brand of power metal has some validity because of the darker/ carousel-like movements (particularly in opener "Kinescope", "Mad House Of Cain" and "Tale Of Fears") yet there are a couple of songs that have me scream copycat from the get go ("Funambulism" a la "The Warning" album; "Love And Sorrow" a la "Programmed"). Vocalist David Taylor will have all listeners thinking Geoff Tate plus Bruce Dickinson, but I appreciate his stage-savvy mood dynamics as that could separate him from his mentors on future albums. The guitar tandem of John Berry and Gary Holtzman fluctuates between arpeggio induced twin riffing and straight forward power runs- "Scape Goat" being the best sample of both styles meshing in one song adequately. I think the guitars ar e produced with too much of a rough edge to fully appeal to all listeners, but otherwise I'm happy enough with the recording quality. Slightly above the norm but not fully original enough to gain classic status- JACOBS DREAM can and will achieve more next album.
Thane To The Throne
Taking Shakespeare to the stage is an event undertaken countless times through the centuries. A metal concept record based on "MacBeth" only happens once in a lifetime- so welcome to JAG PANZER's 6th album. 17 songs (12 full and 5 spoken/instrumental) that encapsulates a tale of greed, lust, revenge and murder over a king's crown. The music sets a doomy story with mostly mid-tempo/ slower arrangements- allowing the charging riffs to breathe and the solo genius of Chris Broderick ample time to prove his guitar abilities never falter. I love the slower, dreary despair that hangs within a song like "Bloody Crime" and the heavier, progressive rhythms that propel a track like "Treachery's Slain"- proving that JAG PANZER have a mature, confident power metal sound that moves into many mood dynamics. The flamenco guitar instrumental "The Downward Fall" also deserves accolades as it illustrates the tremendous skill and talent that playing classical Spanish music takes. Harry Conklin steals the show- his voice full and firm, recalling the greatest works of Dio, Halford and Dickinson rolled into one. Outside of a cover that looks juvenile/ amateurish for an illustration, "Thane To The Throne" ranks as 1 of the best power metal records in 2000- maybe in the top 10 of the past 10 years. Adventurous, ambitious- align with JAG PANZER.
After their blistering performance at Powermad 2000 I couldn't wait to hear more new material from this Colorado traditional metal powerhouse. Hail "Mechanized Warfare"- an album that has been receiving hourly play in all CD stereos (car, home, personal headphones...) as it brings back the youthful feeling of early 80's when bands like SAXON, ANVIL, IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST could do no wrong for metal's integrity and longevity. "Take To The Sky" presents a brilliant harmonized chorus from Harry Conklin and a musical tour de force as the guitar riffing flies to the movements of the airborne lyrics. "Frozen In Fear" pummels from the rapid double bass intro segueing through more harmonized guitar shredding and The Tyrant once again does his best to eclipse the heydays of Halford and Dickinson. You'll hear more choral strains with the chanting within "Unworthy" and the closing epic "All Things Renewed"- plus plenty of new off beat dynamics in songs like "The Silent" and personal favorite "Power Surge" (you'll be air guitaring for sure to the triplet crunch break during the time change...). Read the lyrics to "The Scarlet Letter" and you'll see that it isn't an ode to Nathaniel Hawthorne's story but actually a nod to the IRON MAIDEN "Charlotte The Harlot" series of songs. Produced impeccably once again by the Morrisound mainman Jim Morris, I would be hard pressed to find a better album this year that represents the greatness of the metal style quite like "Mechanized Warfare". This album should be in everyone's metal collection- I would set it proudly next to "The Number Of The Beast", "Stained Class", or "Heaven And Hell". I only wonder how the band can top themselves after this masterpiece?