Jag Panzer - Mechanized Warfare 4/5
1. Take to the sky
2. Frozen in fear
4. The silent
5. The scarlet letter
6. Choir of tears
7. Cold is the blade (and the heart that wields it)
8. Hidden in my eyes
9. Power surge
10. All things renewed
Let's just hail these guys and be done with it, okay? This band to me has established themselves as one of the most magnificent forces in American metal, as there are only a handful of U.S. bands whose last 4 CDs are this good. Steel Prophet comes to mind especially, and Manowar and Virgin Steele have had 4 strong CDs (although it's very funny to think of Manowar, since 4 studio albums ago for them was 'Fighting the world' in 1996, instead of Steel Prophet's and Jag Panzer's about 10 years later), but very few others can compare with this kind of solid performance. What's similar about Steel Prophet is that they've managed to put out CDs that have nothing but the purest metal in their soul, are thoughtful and intelligent, but which are also original and unique.
With 'Thane to the throne', I think the band scored an absolute 5/5, a magnificence, finally bringing a concept album based on Shakespeare, choosing one of the most metallic plays, and executing it in perfect brilliance which was epic, soaring, exactly what it should have been. I was expecting, almost by necessity, for this CD to be lesser, and it certainly is different from 'Thane to the throne', but to my mind, they created just what they needed to after 'Thane to the throne', moving away from the style of that CD, but without at all compromising the glory of their sound, so that they're not competing with the prior CD, but offering up another incredible one.
This one is the promised progression from 'The fourth judgement' and 'Age of mastery', taking all the best elements of those CDs and honing them into even tighter, more magnificent steel. Oddly, the CD doesn't have a lot of speed, going for a more epic, majestic feeling but it succeeds wonderfully. "Take to the sky" fulfills the lyrical tradition of "Aces high", "On the wings of an eagle", "On wings of eagles", and Jag Panzer's own "Iron eagle", with a "soaring" (ha, I kill me!) voyage into air combat. "Frozen in fear" speeds things up with a very dark subject, but with a magnificent chorus. "Cold is the blade (and the heart that wields it)" (You've got to love a title like that, it's normally attached to some black metal that I don't like!) is one of the best songs on the CD, an anthem to a veteran soldier hardened by his trade of death! Great stuff, like the entire CD. This one is not an option.
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