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Jaguar - Metal X Award winner

Metal X
by Matt Coe at 13 September 2014, 1:06 PM

The NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) remains one of my favorite eras of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Beyond the bands that became breakouts: SAXON, IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD – you have a number of acts who created some killer albums that many musicians and fans hold in high regard: ANGEL WITCH, SATAN, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, and an album released in 1983, called “Power Games” by the act I’m currently reviewing, JAGUAR.

In 2014, only guitarist Garry Pepperd remains from the old days, but since reactivating the band in 1998, vocalist Jamie Manton has been a mainstay for 16 years, with the latest addition being drummer Nathan Cox in 2011. Using the digital music medium to release new music, the latest studio album, “Metal X”, contains 11 songs that prove that, even as the quartet gets older, they still know how to put a little pep in their step and perform in that tradition of blazing, heads down Heavy Metal.

The first song, “Warts & All”, storms out of the gates, Nathan laying down some serious fill work and energetic double bass, as Garry’s accelerated riffing and Jamie’s upper register vocal action brings to mind their younger years, along with the skilled power of RIOT. An ironically titled “3 Minute Song” is actually 5 minutes, containing a smoldering lead break and another engaging hook that reminded me of older TWISTED SISTER, during their “Under the Blade” days; some impactful harmonies during the bridge and chorus bring this down as one of JAGUAR’s highlights.

The band also can lay down some mid-tempo muscle beyond their revved up classic Heavy Metal – check “Out of Time” in this department. Overall I was very surprised that most of this material is up tempo, guitar hero based, and will bring back a lot of memories for people who can remember when RAVEN and ACCEPT were seen as leaders of their day. Even the production values are primitive, giving the musicians an in your face snare snap, guitar crunch, and as natural a bass as you could hope for.

Anyone who says Heavy Metal is dead – give them “Metal X”.  JAGUAR is doing just fine creating relevant material today and not content on living purely on past adulation and accomplishments.

5 Star Rating

1. Warts & All
2. New Tricks
3. 3 Minute Song
4. X-Wing
5. Out of Time
6. Fair Wind of Fire
7. Day of the Triffids
8. Moral Decline
9. Horse
10. Painted in a Corner
11. Stormchild 2014
Jamie Manton - Vocals
Garry Pepperd - Guitars
Simon Patel - Bass
Nathan Cox - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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