Jag Panzer - Casting The Stones

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: CD 8293
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:15:00

You'll find some excellent lead guitar solos on Casting The Stones. Harry Conklin's tyrannical vocals are particularly strong - never breaking into falsetto, always ballsy. The rhythm section yields a rock-solid backbone to the entire album - often by way of delicately played yet powerfully dense riffs. And the drumming may be the strongest component on this album. There's not much neo-classical brilliance here - this is good, solid, old-fashioned metal played very well. Think power metal meets NWOBHM, but remember to put it in the context of modern-day musicianship and with up to date production and you'll have a good idea of Jag Panzer's sound. Powerful yet upbeat, emotional when needed, plenty of chugging slow rhythms, and plenty of blazing lead guitar solos, all played over a backdrop of just enough keyboard sounds to add depth and texture.

We don't live in the 1980s anymore, and many of today's listeners have been spoiled with new and innovative developments on the classic standards. That may limit the appeal to this music since Jag Panzer stands four-square in the middle of the classic standards, practically defining the genre.

The musicianship is strong, but it is the songwriting that keeps Jag Panzer with one foot in the 1980s. Some songs like "Cold" are pretty standard metal stuff - notwithstanding the killer solo at the end. Other tracks show an almost progressive metal flair for drama - like "The Mission (1941)", which almost takes an Iced Earth like approach with a war history theme. Almost, because this song is based on the fiction rather than fact - telling the story of the guns of Navarone, originally a MacLean WW-II novel and subsequently a movie. There's a nice piano line in "Starlight's Fury" - pity they didn't make more of it, though. It's catchy. There are powerful solos on "Tempest" and "Precipice", and it is the the choral vocals on many songs that contribute to the power-metal vibe. The standout tracks are probably "The Mission (1941)" and "Tempest" - which may also be the heaviest piece on the album.

After 9 full-length albums, the Colorado quintet boasts a solid lineup going back many years - which is easy to understand considering the band was begun as a group of friends. The depth and experience of all those years of playing together are clear on this album, and Jag Panzer is one of those American bands that is probably better known in Europe than at home. Production is very good, and the album was mixed & mastered by Jim Morris (Iced Earth, Savatage).

You have 11 songs, each a radio-friendly 3 to 6 minutes, yielding 51 minutes of solid metal. You have excellent execution by a group of talented musicians. You have solid progressive-power-metal. You have both NWOBHM and a modern incarnation of hair metal.  You have nothing new - bit it's still very cool.

Feast Or Famine / The Mission (1941) / Vigilant / Achilles / Tempest / Legion Immortal / Battered And Bruised / Cold / Starlight's Fury / The Harkening / Precipice

Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin - vocals
Mark Briody - guitars
Chris Broderick - guitars
John Tetley - bass
Rikard Stjernquist - drums

Tyrants (1983)
Ample Destruction (1984)
Dissident Alliance (1994)
The Fourth Judgement (1997)
The Age Of Mastery (1998)
Thane To The Throne (2000)
Mechanized Warfare (2001)
Decade Of The Nail Spiked Bat (2003)
Casting The Stones (2004)
The Fourth Judgement (expanded reissue) (2007)
Scourge Of Light (2011)
Tyrants (expanded reissue) (2013)
Dissident Alliance (expanded reissue) (2013)
Shadow Thief (2013)
Chain Of Command (expanded reissue) (2013)
Historical Battles (LP boxset) (2013)
The Deviant Chord (2017)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: February 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website: www.jagpanzer.com
Hits: 1304
Language: english


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