Review Summary: Raw and gritty heavy metal
Jaguar was quite an excellent band from an overlooked era on metal history. They delivered satisfactory speed metal that somehow went unnoticed by people back in the day. It could have been the rarity or the music itself that caused this crime. Being as underground as they were though, they sometimes outmatched their contemporaries. Let's take a look at Power Games.
The lineup was:
Gerry Peppard on guitar
Jeff Cox on bass
Chris Lovell on drums
Paul Merrell on vocals
Power Games is a NWOBHM album that offers some variety to it's formula. It at least tries to be different and not straightforward like some other albums of it's time. When you listen to the music, you can hear influences from bands like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Saxon. The band members were very talented and could really play their instruments well. This album has lots of great solos.
The album's production is really gritty and kind of hollow, but this gives it a great street feel. The vocalist also adds to this vibe a little, as he sounds like Paul Di'anno. The bass is actually audible on this album and is as important to the music as the guitars are. The bassist shreds like a madman and can sometimes outplay everyone else. The bass hear is like Steve Harris's, but more raw and aggressive.
The album sounds like speed metal with a punk tinge here and there. There is a ballad called Master Games that is about war and it's a really good, hearty ballad, but it's not wimpy. The album starts off with Dutch Connection which is a lot heavier and faster than most NWOBHM. It's a real asskicker and provides the listener with a great experience. The lyrical content on this album is about war a lot, but can also be about fox hunting, girls, lack of money, and life in general.
Most of the songs flow well and consistently with Master Game being a ballad and somewhat changing the course of consistency but too much. The rest of the songs sound a lot like Dutch Connection except for Run For Your Life, Raw Deal, and Ain't No Fantasy. These songs are more mid tempo and progressive. The riffing is somewhat reminiscent of Judas Priest somewhat. These songs are catchy and have the right elements to make you come back and listen again.
Overall, Power Games was an interesting chapter in NWOBHM history. It may not be the most popular album of it's type, but it is great. If you are a fan of NWOBHM or speed metal, then give this a a listen.