“The Deviant Chord”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Power metal royalty has returned. Jag Panzer is back and their absence has been keenly felt by many. I don’t know what triggered the return, but listening to “The Deviant Chord” makes me aware of just how little really good power/traditional metal there is these days.

This is an amazing return to form and a complete package in every sense. 10 songs of Priest/Maiden inspired metal, each with its own character and reason for being. Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin has kept his voice in shape with Satan’s Host, but Jag Panzer is his real home. His rich tones bring class to every song here. Naturally I like the faster and more aggressive tunes such as “Far Beyond All Fear”,  “Black List” and the album’s best, “Salacious Behavior”. But there’s also more measured stuff like the metalized version of the Irish folk song “Foggy Dew” (with shades of Thin Lizzy),  the moody and slow building title track and the piano-laced ballad “Long Awaited Kiss”. This album is one that is carefully put together, with light and shade helping to give the impression of a greater whole.

If your blood doesn’t race a little faster listening to inspiring metal anthems like “Fire of Our Spirit” and “Dare”, you’d best go back to your Smile Empty Soul records. This is pure metal in the great tradition and a comeback that really matters. Pick this sucker up right away.