Review Summary: Cause you 're under the knife...6 of 6 thought this review was well written
I' m a bit surprised actually, that nobody, so far, reviewed this classic release. A release so monumental for power metal, as "Restless and wild" is, for euro power/speed. Well, i 'll make an effort, though i can't be so objective with albums i grew up with.
This is their first full length lp and unfortunately, their last for the 80's. Still it was good enough to keep their legend alive, until they returned in glory in the 90's. The line-up here is the classic one:
Harry Conklin – vocals
Mark Briody – guitar
Joey Tafolla – guitar
John Tetley – bass guitar
Rick Hilyard – drums
Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin needs no introduction, his voice and career speak for themselves. His haunting singing ability is unmatched. Briody and Tafolla, both very strong assets on guitars, also Tetley and Hilyard on the rhythm section.
So, what is so special about this? The answer comes easily. This is one of the first, US power metal releases. Jag Panzer defined the power metal sound, that so many bands adopted after them (see among others, Sanctuary, early Fates Warning, Titan Force). This mix of Iron Maiden and Metallica (or bay area thrash in general) is exactly what power metal is. The pure headbanging strength of thrash, blended with the melodies and vocal lines of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. This might seem easy nowadays, now that everyone copied everyone. Rest assured that in the time of its release, Jag Panzer was an inspiration.
All we need, from a power metal release, is present. This is an epitomy of the whole sound. Thrashing riffs, fast paced tempos, manly vocals with terrifying screams and distinct melodies. I can't find a single song that is of lesser quality. This punches you straight in the face and it's both melodic and powerful. If i have to choose some stand-out tracks, i would say "Licenced to kill", "Symphony of terror", "Generally hostile", "Reign of the tyrants", "The crucifix", are maybe the most played on metal clubs throughout the years. I have to make an extra note for "The crucifix". The Tyrant sets the bar for the heavy metal vocalists very high indeed. It's not only his vocal range, it's how he delivers his lines. He is also a bit operetic, only one who can go face to face with him is maybe "Messiah", in this type of singing.
The production is not great, but still it delivers. The only bad thing is, that this became so rare to find in the original form, that the band had to re-release it in a best-of format. Also, that its length is kinda short and we could use a bit more!
I know that, by today's standards this is not a 5/5, but i feel it deserves this, for all the influence it brought upon the scene. For some ppl, it might feel a bit rough, but this is how power metal should be played and not like a "we are all so happy" approach. Must-have 100% for (us) power metal audience and for collectors of rare metal material.