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Review: Jag Panzer - The Deviant Chord
Jag Panzer
www.jagpanzer.com
The Deviant Chord

Label: Steamhammer
Year released: 2017
Duration: 44:52
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: September 29, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating
for:
The Deviant Chord

Rated 3.71/5 (74.29%) (7 Votes)
Review


The problem with following a band and knowing their albums by heart is that you always expect them to be better and better, especially when you know that these guys can kick serious ass. As a fan and reviewer, I was somewhat disappointed by The Deviant Chord, maybe because I hold Jag Panzer in such a high regard. The main problem with the album is that it rarely reaches a climax regarding potent, crunchy riffs, massive hooks or memorable choruses, all necessary when talking about US Power Metal. Instead, the experience plays almost entirely in a mid-tempo speed, especially in the middle portion of the album when songs like "Black List", "Foggy Dew", "Divine Intervention" and "Long Awaited Kiss" are displayed. All of those have the Jag Panzer characteristic elements, but each of them lacks punch or a better direction, songwriting-wise.

There are, however, some glimpses of raw power and high levels of inspiration we would expect from Mark Briody as a songwriter, like the first two and last two tracks. "Born of the Flame" and "Far Beyond All Fear" shine by being simple, yet sophisticated. The intricate sounds provided by the drum-bass duo and some killer guitar solos make the songs feel light and powerful, even though never bombastic. "Fire of Our Spirit", best tune on here, is the best example of why these dudes are so respected in the US power scene. Conklin's vocals soar high and dictate the rhythm while classic Jag Panzer-esque background choirs and a beautiful pedal work by Stjernquist fill the song with a much-needed dose of energy.

With the exception of some setbacks regarding the middle of the album (which I blame partially on the mixing and production), you can expect half the songs here to give you what you want when listening to these American legends. Conklin's enviable vocal range is as reliable as ever, the kitchen provides a good amount of support and the duo Briody/Tafolla obliterates through the songs with virtuous and prolific solos and leads.

For a band that excels on being powerful and reliable, Jag Panzer seems to have lost a bit of steam in the past six years. The Deviant Chord is more than enough proof that metal gods such as Mark Briody and Harry Conklin can still cause damage even when not in their best form, but some factors keep it from being a great album, or besting more relevant, memorable works by the band like Casting the Stones or The Age of Mastery (I won't even mention Ample Destruction here because it would be completely unfair). All in all, this is a good album, but nothing more than that.

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Interview with guitarist Mark Briody, vocalist Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin, drummer Rikard Stjernquist and guitarist Joey Tafolla on March 19, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with Mark Briody (Guitar) on September 11, 2004 (Interviewed by 4th Horseman)
Video: Iron Eagle (Live at Bang Your Head)
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