Jag Panzer: Chain Of Command (Century Media, 2004) reviewed by: Vinaya
1. Prelude/ Chain Of Command 2. Shadow Thief 3. She Waits 4. Ride Through The Storm 5. In A Gadda Da Vida 6. Never Surrender 7. Burning Heart 8. Sworn To Silence 9. Dream Theme 10. Gavotte In D 11. When The Walls Come Down
It’s been a long time coming for this one; really long. Seventeen years, to be exact. Yes, it was way back in 1987 that Colorado’s Jag Panzer entered Avalanche Studios in Denver to lay down the Chain Of Command album, which only now has escaped the pressing plant. And now, after years of scouring various underground sources for bootleg copies, metal fans can finally lay their gritty paws on the official release of this long-awaited follow-up to the 1984 cult classic Ample Destruction.
The really uncanny thing about Chain Of Command is that it hardly sounds a day older than its official release date this year. Heck, those unfamiliar with the band could be forgiven for thinking this is a new recording (although that would beg the question: where are Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin and Chris Broderick?). Delayed by lineup changes and, allegedly, uncertainty over musical direction, Chain Of Command finds the former (and future) seats of Conklin and Joey Tafolla being warmed by vocalist Bob Parduba and lead guitarist Christian Lasegue. Both do a commendable job here, with Laseque pulling off leads that proudly carry on the Tafolla tradition, but with a little more discipline. Bob Parduba, on the other hand, may surprise some fans with his clean, flawless, semi-operatic vocals, which show a restraint that contrasts sharply with Conklin’s overpowering, often maniacal vocal style.
The slight but noticeable restraint with regards to playing and production means that Chain Of Command doesn’t quite burn itself into one’s memory with the ferocious determination of Ample Destruction. However, song quality is medium to high throughout, with the tricky riff rocker “Sworn To Silence,” the epic “Ride Through The Storm” and the title track in particular emerging as standout cuts. Also included is a nifty, metalized cover of Iron Butterfly’s hippie-era classic “In A Gada Da Vida.” Savvy Panzer fans will also be well aware that several tracks from this album have since made it, re-recorded, onto other albums, most notably 1997’s The Age Of Mastery, which lifted three tunes from Chain Of Command. Topping it off are the spiffy new artwork, liner notes from guitarist Mark Briody, and a previously unreleased bonus track in “When The Walls Fall Down,” all of which serve to make this a highly worthwhile, if long overdue, traditional metal offering.
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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