Years ago, there was a documentary about heavy metal, and Rob Zombie said something that made you think. He said that heavy metal was the biggest thing no one had heard of. In the last week, I have seen three heavy metal concerts: Iron Maiden twice and KK Downing’s new band. And not only have they been brilliant, they’ve been full and fists raised celebrations of the sound, the music, and the culture. It’s a fitting week, then, to be listening to Jag Panzer.

Over 40 years and 11 albums (there are still three members from that debut album left), the Colorado mob – who once counted ex-Megadeth man Chris Broderick amongst their troops – have been totally getting that denim and leather brought us all together, as it were, and here, on The Hallowed, it all comes together in wonderful fashion.

“Bound As One” – from the rumble of the drums to the rumble of the riff, this is the truest of the true. Vocalist Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin hits notes that you can only describe as… Crikey!

“Ties That Bind” is big and expansive, taking us back to when the new wave was new. “Stronger Than You Know” delivers screeching heaviness, while the spoken word says simply “the smell of death was in the air,” not as high as the fists on “Onward We Toil,” and my goodness, the solos shred.

“Edge Of A Knife” has the gallop it should, and “Dark Descent” makes a hook out of “hell’s fire is a long way down.” “Weather The Storm” possibly deals with metal itself, and “Renewed Flame” talks about “peace at last,” but one suspects they don’t mean it. “Last Rites” is big, epic, sweeping, but dying? Purrleeese! When the apocalypse comes, this song will be standing tall.

You see, I’m firmly convinced that when the nuclear attack finally happens (and it will, let’s be honest), only cockroaches and heavy metal will be left. What is less certain, but to be honest, looks like a pretty safe bet, is that Jag Panzer are America’s finest exponents of what we still call the NWOBHM sound.

Rating: 9/10

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