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Vanquishing Potion, Volume 2 - 100%

FateMetal, February 2nd, 2011

This is the sound of classic Jag Panzer-like they'd never been away.
After the not so well received "Dissident Alliance", Harry Conklin-he of the almighty voice that graced the nailed in stone classic "Ample Destruction"-returned to the fold. Also back on board was guitarist Joey Tafolla and along with Mark Briody, bassist John Tetley and drummer Rikard Stjernquist, they worked themselves into a frenzy, out of which "The Fourth Judgement" boiled forth.

The last traditional metal album whose strength I likened to a "vanquishing potion" was Manowar's "Battle Hymns". But where that one was a roaring rampage of battle stained warriors trudging on gleefully amidst dirty riffs that pierced like unwashed swords, this one is a grim but theatrical masterpiece with stomping riffs and clean leads that cut as precisely as a cleaver. With Jag Panzer, you don't get the thrills and glory of battle, you get the bloody darkness of it. In all its suffocating might. It is a rich color with a deep, almost tangible hue and inside it is Jag Panzer wading through it and exposing it layer for layer by way of song.
Appropriately enough, the opening track is titled "Black". Harry Conklin is the fucking bringer of ill tidings vocally on this one while Tafolla and Briody's layered guitars make it the more pleasing to the ear. But even more auditorily pleasing is "Shadow Thief" whose prog sensitive solos tremble and shake masterfully with the ultra theatrical dynamics of start n' stop.

All ten tracks make for unforgettable listening. Some like "Future Shock" and "Ready To Strike" are deliberate slabs of nostalgia looking back to the "Ample Destruction" days while others like "Despair" and "Judgement Day" herald the new sound of the band. An unbalanced wall that agitates for more melody while piling on the heavy riffage. "Recompense" has one of the catchiest choruses I have EVER heard in metal and "Sonnet of Sorrow" is a slight verse of introspection that doesn't meander. Overall, an admirable collection.
"The Fourth Judgement" is Jag Panzer unbridled and at their most basic. Every worthy fan should shower it with undying love.