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By the pricking of my thumbs… - 89%

Wra1th1s, June 3rd, 2008

Something AWESOME this way comes!

No really, this is about as awesome as Ample Destruction (moreso at times, did I commit another blasphemy?).

Everyone and their mom know about Jag Panzer, especially their much lauded debut. But they rarely talk about their later works which, if we forget that Dissident Alliance exists, contains some really great US power metal! Right off the bat you know that this will be awesome because:

1) It’s Jag Panzer
2) It’s Jag Fucking Panzer
3) It’s Harry Conklin
And 4) It’s Macbeth...made metal

Yeah, that last bit would drive some of you off but trust me, this is one concept album that does not bore people to tears. How would I know, well I'm a person aren't I?

Anyways, this album has what 99% of concept albums lack and that is kick-ass songs. Concept albums are always filler-laden, ballad happy and have those damned interludes. This album is pretty much US power metal through and through. Right, there are a few interludes but they are forgiven because they are always between kick-ass songs and there is only one ballad and it's the last song at that. Clearly, Jag Panzer want to actually make heavy metal music rather than write half-assed material that go under stories that: makes absolutely no sense; are nothing special; are unbelievably boring.

Right off the bat they show you whose boss. Harry Conklin's "I AM MIGHTEEE!" in "Thane of Cawdor" is damn near priceless. The instrumentation that goes along with it also owns your souls. Sure, it's mid-paced and lacks a few outright riffage here and there but I'll be damned if I didn't headbang to that song. The chorus in that song is damn catchy too, with the band (well some sort of chorus) singing in harmony. *sniffles* Oh look at that, I get all misty eyed just recalling how damnably epic it is.

That description is apt for most of the songs, that's not to say they all sound the same. They do, however, follow the same general structure. Invariably the songs will always contain a chorus that is catchier than ebola. The tempo generally stays mid-paced but in songs like "King at a Price" and "Treachery's Stain," things get a little faster and thrashier. Between sets of songs there are little acoustic interludes that usually come at darker points of the story (murder, death, etc.) Jag Panzer manage to make interludes that actually add to the overall feel rather than having them to fill the CD/vinyl/cassette. The last song, "Tragedy of Macbeth," is the only ballad here and it fuckin' works because: It's at the end; It's not as sappy as those 80s 'power' ballads; and it ends the album very nicely.

One aspect that I've yet to mention is the solo. If Broderick plays like this on the next Megadeth album then things are definitely looking up for Mustaine and pals. Seriously Broderick is that good. Granted he's not Batio good (who is?) but his playing is damn technical and...*gasp* he plays with FEELING! He shreds when the song calls for it and backs off when it's appropriate. Thank you Chris! For making this a concept album that freakin' ROCKS!

Since most of you had some English Lit. course at some point in your life, I'm not gonna bother talking about the 'concept' part of this concept album. If you hadn't, well then, thank your educational system for doing a bang-up job.

Get it? Absolutely! This is some solid US power metal and it's definitely a concept album that's worth your time, even if the concept is unoriginal. Better than Operation: Mindcrime for sure!