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Panther - Panther (Reissue)

Panther
Panther
by Dave Nowels at 07 November 2018, 6:47 PM

PANTHER’s debut, self-titled release is quite an interesting album as a whole, especially from a historical perspective. “Panther” the self-titled album was recorded in 1984, and originally released as a six song EP in 1986. It would be the band’s only effort, though there were multiple other bands in the era with the same name and similar style. That style is a very Melodic Hard Rock, that tries to hint that it’s more dangerous than it really is. Basically, it’s the same sound you would have heard on Sunset Strip on any given night in the mid-eighties. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s not a single thing here that’s original or innovative.

The easiest comparison, would be to label PANTHER as a clone of DOKKEN, as guitarist Mike Barrish seems to be going for a similar guitar style and sound to George Lynch throughout much of the album.  Yet, despite this the band was gaining quite a bit of traction in the Los Angeles scene, and were destined for a huge push following the release of the EP. It wasn’t meant to be. Following the release, vocalist and front man Jeff Scott Soto was lured away by another up and coming powerhouse, this one led by a true guitar virtuoso, the one, the only, Yngwie J. Malmsteen. And so it was. Soto went on to front Malmsteen’s RISING FORCE for their first two highly influential albums.

So, with this EP release, PANTHER is trying to cover all the bases. The EP opens with “First There Was Rock” and all the signature 80’s Hard Rock/Metal tendencies in place. Power chords and flashy pull offs. Soaring vocals. Just hearing it, you can smell the Aqua-net. Again, very DOKKENish. Track two is “Desire” and it’s a very similar style, though the keyboard opening and vocals here reminded me of a Joe Lynn Turner fronted RAINBOW. Track three, brings us “Danger” and indeed, the band, and Soto in particular do their absolute best to bring a more imposing presence here. On this track and later on track four, “Deliver The Axe”, Soto sounds very similar to an early Ronnie James Dio.

Track five is “Warchild”, and for me it might be the most impressive track along with “Deliver The Axe”. Yet again, it shows a band struggling to find their identity. This track has a lot of NWOBHM influence, musically and lyrically. Track six, “Panther” and the bonus cuts on this reissue are largely forgettable, though from a historical aspect, they’re a nice addition.  No Remorse Records has really done a good job overall with the reissue, releasing it in multiple formats. For an early glimpse into what Yngwie saw as a must have vocalist in Soto for his RISING FORCE vision, this is a must have.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. First There Was Rock
2. Desire
3. Danger
4. Deliver The Axe
5. Warchild
6. Panther
7. Set Me Free
8. Sheer Hear Attack (Demo)
9. Take It To The Limit (Demo)
10. When You're In Love (Demo)
Lineup:
Jeff Scott Soto - Vocals
Mike Barrish - Guitar
Jason Giordano - Bass
Scott Taylor - Drums
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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