(9/10) One of the most exciting news this year was the one of Jag Panzer working on a new longplayer. The power metal legend, that released ground breaking records like “Ample Destruction”, had a second peak period in the beginning of this century before radio-silence took over after their latest record entitled “The Scourge of Light”. With the exception of a boxed set in 2013 nothing new has seen the light of day. This period finally finds an end on September 29th, the release date of “The Deviant Chord”.
Things didn’t look too positive between 2011 and 2013 with band members leaving the band which almost led to a breakup. Due to an extremely strong fan base and a still big request for the longplayers things reached a turning point, leading to a comeback album which is the first one in a six years period.
The first good news with this album is the fact that the ‘old’ folks are back in the line-up since 2013 and “The Deviant Chord” is the first longplayer after many years that includes next to Mark Briody, John Tetley, Rikard Stjernquist and Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin also guitar wizard Joe Tafolla.
“The Deviant Chord” gets out of the blocks very well. “Born on the Flame” is an uptempo track with ‘The Tyrant’ at his best, surrounded by sharp guitars and a powerful rhythm section. The galloping “Far Beyond All Fear” follows and adds a more multi-layered approach to this longplayer.
It’s the sound of a musical clock that starts the title track. Some acoustic guitars take over, together with Conklin’s soulful vocals. After almost two minutes a mighty riff breaks the harmony, introducing the heavy pounding part of this excellent tune. Another highlight, amongst all the other good stuff on this album, is the spot-on “Blacklist”, merging power and melody into great total.
A number that stands out from the rest is “Foggy Dew” in which Jag Panzer adds a Celtic folk vibe to their metal sound which actually works very well. This song has the potential to become a part of a Jag Panzer live set and will create more than a good mood. After this little excursion “Divine Intervention” brings back the ambitious power metal we know from the band, before the band adds with “Long Awaited Kiss” a cinematic anthem to this longplayer. Calmer sections alternate with bombastic parts, all in a way that it fits together, leading to one of the best tracks on the album. To show the full width of sounds also in the second half of the album, Jag Panzer added with “Salacious Behavior” a straight-forward number to the tracklist. The songs is heavy and melodic and reminds, with the melodic leads, of Iron Maiden. Also ‘Fire of Our Spirit” and the moderate paced “Dare” fits perfect into the context, rounding off an exquisite metal record.
“The Deviant Chord” is the band’s tenth longplayer and, as with the others, it's again a milestone in power metal. The quintet is back in old strength and power. Passion and dedication, that’s what can be heard on the new longplayer and I have the feeling that this album gives the band a similar boost as it was with Metal Church when Mike Howe rejoined. It’s good to have one of the spearheads of US metal back in business, releasing new valuable songs that create a demand for seeing the band live on stage again.
- Born of the Flame
- Far Beyond All Fear
- The Deviant Chord
- Foggy Dew
- Divine Intervention
- Long Awaited Kiss
- Salacious Behaviors
- Fire of Our Spirit
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date EU: September 29th, 2017