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Jackal - IV (CD)

by Grigoris Chronis at 03 June 2009, 12:41 PM

JACKAL? You mean Denmark's JACKAL? You mean the NARITA-related ones? You mean the Vague Visions creators? Hell yeah…
Denmark's contribution has always been underrated - apart from the MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND, ARTILLERY or PRETTY MAIDS household names, I guess. Copenhagen's NARITA released a string of impressive albums in the 90s, with their self-titled 1992 album praised by the vast majority of fans and Media as an inspiring transition from the classic 80s to the more cultural/polished 90s. Prior and after this release, singer Brian Rich already had assembled the JACKAL team, with some equally striking Heavy/Power/melodic releases such as 1990's Strike and Vague Visions (1993 - a personal favorite as regards Denmark's landmark Metal albums), while 1994's A Safe Look In Mirrors proved to be as well-worked as promised. If you are thinking such a band would also be appreciated in countries like Japan, let's confirm JACKAL CDs sold quite well (or even better?) over there, too.
A band reunion is a blessing and a curse at the same time, many may say. And the reasons are obvious. Let's just add the risky fact of a new album, raising some proper questions: will the style be the same as in the past? If not, is it a sellout? If yes, is it the safe path? And many other stories to be told, while no one can confirm if bands like JACKAL can do it for the money (as if they ever - I assume - got paid back grand by their albums sales…)
IV is - of course - the band's fourth album and in the lineup there are not more than a couple of names mentioned: Brian Rich and multi-instrumentalist Carsten Falkenlind. So, is this a reunion, in any way? I doubt it…Anyway, IV does draw inspiration from the 90s heyday while also adding a little bit of today's standards (e.g. some parts of EDGUY's music). The songlist does include many thinking/mild parts in between the more powerful stuff; maybe more than really expected. Still, the instrumentation is really clever, non-naive and in-your-face at the same time, building up a wall of melodies and good-looking riffs that shall make you smile if you have ever been a NARITA/JACKAL fan. The production is fuzzy at times, but does not create such a problem if you can dive in the songs' vibe.
Brian's voice is not to be missed, if you ever been into Narita's or Vague Visions's majesty. In more speedy songs I think he could do a little bit better, but in tunes like When The Heart Is Strong the man confirms he always had heart to give to his singing.
Fans of today's typical Euro Power Metal will not have a lot in common with JACKAL (neither their old works nor this one) but they can see how songs were written when Metal bands in Europe were starting playing 'melodic'. If IV had a little bit more speed-and-power equilibrium would (maybe? Who knows…) score more appreciation among post-80s European Heavy/Power Metal fans; still, even with this recipe I think Brian Rich takes hold of the JACKAL flame and let's hope this new album will not be a shot in the dark, since it demonstrates some proper/right appetite for good music.

3 Star Rating

In To The Core
Disciple Of The Night
No Lifeguard On Duty
When The Heart Is Strong
No One   
Brian Rich - Vocals
Carsten Falkenlind - All Instruments
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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