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Jaguar - Power Games (Reissue)

Jaguar
Power Games (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 May 2017, 7:45 PM

Over the years there has seems to be a blind eye towards albums that even if not being an impact on their era, those were still essential to a development that slowly became a number on the charts. In 1983, NWOBHM was already reigning, some might argue that it was on its declining year, dating back to 1978-1979. The British JAGUAR weren't exactly a rising Metal source in comparison to IRON MAIDEN or SAXON or VENOM or MOTORHEAD for instance, however, every band has its special traits and a contribution to the fight for recognition that should be celebrated, or at least mentioned. Dissonance Productions brought back to life “Power Games”, a reissue of JAGUAR’s debut, originally released by the legendary Neat Records. When it comes to being underrated, JAGUAR may as well fit the description.

Even within a simple riff based Metal album that gave an impression of the English blue collar or street music, I could find varied influences that made it interesting. At first, JAGUAR’s sawing rawness and attitude had me thinking of the first two IRON MAIDEN albums, more likely “Killers”, minus the guitar harmonies that were nonexistent on “Power Games”. The crunchy sound and moderately oriented Punk driven riffs didn’t leave a shadow of a doubt that I was listening to a wild loosen bunch of strong willed Metalheads that were in a straight line with bands that became legends. Moreover, JAGUAR massively tasted the proto Speed Metal drug that attributed attention to bands such as SATAN. Echoes of MOTORHEAD immersed the songs, as the double bass drum action ceased the day with its might. I assume that such uncontrolled energies back in the day weren't overly common in British Metal. On the other hand, JAGUAR also showed great Hard Rock implementations that fit their image. Various examples of UFO’s straight Rock of the mid to late 70s can be traced through some of the material, mid-tempo chopping killers that became a true foundation on this album. Since there is no such thing as the perfect album, there are always a few weak posts. Probably the main weakness is the lead guitar position, there is actually only a sole guitarist. I expected a much madly driven soloing, not the MAIDEN kind yet something that would entice the spirit, too bad but not that a thing to cry home to.

For starters there are the speedsters. “The Fox” is a pure proto-Speed Metal crusher, deadly as steel, a cutting edge catchy tune, staggering Metal meets Punk riffing and soaring vocals that made it a hit. “No Lies” took on the sort of shape of a speedy 70s Punk Rock song, gang vocals celebrating the honesty behind the track with. Lowering the throttle for just a bit, “Dutch Connection” is a hard opener, blasting its way in the sea of Metal, taking its rightful place as a dirty street Metal imagery. “Coldheart” and “Out Of Luck” turn back to the late 70s gems of Hard Rock splattered with Metal, main riffs really stick, showing only a few indications of melodies, yet going strong as they can be. Also recommended: “Rawdeal”, “Axe Crazy”, “Run for Your Life” and “Dirty Tricks”.

JAGUAR didn’t turn out to be one of the titans of their Metal scene, or even considered as such worldwide, but they remained true to their style and kept on going. “Power Games” officially started their madness and to commemorate it is a must.

  

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dutch Connection
2. Out of Luck
3. The Fox
4. Master Game
5. No Lies
6. Run for Your Life
7. Prisoner
8. Ain't No Fantasy
9. Rawdeal
10. Coldheart
11. Axe Crazy
12. War Machine
13. Dirty Tricks 
Lineup:
Paul Merrell – Lead Vocals
Garry Pepperd – Guitars
Jeff Cox - Bass
Chris Lovell - Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions
     


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