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Review: Jag Panzer - Decade of the Nail-spiked Bat
Jag Panzer
Decade of the Nail-spiked Bat

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 83:50
Tracks: 20
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: November 26, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.43/5 (88.7%) (23 Votes)

Somehow I never really got into Jag Panzer, although I only have two of their most recent albums, "Thane To The Throne" and "Mechanized Warfare". They were good albums, they just didn't click with me. So when I saw a review of this double album, with a nearly perfect rating, I was a bit skeptical, but I decided to order it anyway. It only took me a couple of listens to realize that the album did in fact merit a high rating.

What we have here are two CDs filled with 20 Jag Panzer songs that were never released before. Before you think "this has got to suck", be aware that this has nothing to do with some of the re-issues with often see with shitty bonus tracks that would have been better left unreleased. Here the band has assembled a bunch of songs that shine by their variety and quality, showcasing Jag Panzer's diversified repertoire, with songs ranging from pretty commercial to very heavy and dark, definitely-not-commercial material. Moreover, there isn't one song here that "sucks": Some are better than the others, of course, some are catchier (as in "I can't get the damn thing out of my head"), some will please those who like their metal very heavy and dark. Coming up with 85 minutes of non-crap is a rare thing nowadays. :) What connects all these songs left over from various periods is that they're all (or closely derived from) classic heavy metal: Powerful, well played and with some great solos as icing on the cake. My only beef is that sometimes the vocals sound slightly out of place or just too high-pitched, but overall the vocalist does a great job. To top it all, this album couldn't have ended on a better note than with the excellent "Death Row" and "The Crucifix" - everytime I hear these songs, I almost start singing along in my office (that wouldn't be good now, would it? :))

Rather than the lyrics, the booklet contains comments by guitarist Mark Briody about each song - comments such as why the song was put aside before, etc... Even the cover art is taken from the band's archives, having been drawn back in 1985. I usually don't like when the lyrics are not included, but in this case I found that including Mark's comments is very appropriate.

I had the feeling that this would be one of those "for fans only" albums, but it's not the case at all. This is about 85 minutes of excellent heavy metal that should please any fan of the genre. The net effect after listening to this is that I'll definitely be digging into their earlier releases, I get the feeling I'll find something more to my liking than their more recent material, based on what I heard on this album. Now if that stuff can just get the hell out of my CD player, after all I have other albums to listen to. :) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

More about Jag Panzer...
Review: Ample Destruction (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Casting The Stones (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Mechanized Warfare (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Mechanized Warfare (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Thane to the Throne (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Thane to the Throne (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Age of Mastery (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Deviant Chord (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: The Deviant Chord (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Era Of Kings And Conflict (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Fourth Judgement (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: The Hallowed (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Hallowed (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Scourge of the Light (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Interview with Mark Briody (Guitar) on September 11, 2004 (Interviewed by 4th Horseman)
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)
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