Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

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Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

(1984, Azra Records)

Year 1984 was a crucial period for Heavy Metal in the United States. Not long after the first sparks started growing higher with bands like RIOT, CIRITH UNGOL and WARLORD - to name a few - there were two typhoons trying to choke the traditional Metal circuit: on one side you could name the ‘hair’/sleaze Metal going on in both the New York area and Los Angeles periphery while on the other side the San Francisco Bay Area gulf was giving birth to the Thrash Metal movement in all its awe and orgy. Thankfully, there were bands that were again ready to shake the world by delivering the goods of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legacy, bands like SAVATAGE, WARLORD, TROUBLE, HELSTAR, BROCAS HELM…and JAG PANZER.

The quintet from Colorado first came into notice as a four-piece via their Azra-released same titled EP one year earlier, but it was 1984’s “Ample Destruction” masterpiece - and this is not and exaggeration - that gave the band the boost needed to have this LP ranked among the Top 10 Us Metal albums of the 80s. Needless to say, the addition of young guitar wizard Joey Tafolla to the camp offered a multi-dimensional option for further development to JAG PANZER but I think that the rest of the musicians played their own role too, even if only singer Harry Conklin is often memorized for his special contribution. Mark Briody’s riffing is immense and ruthless while the John Tetley/Rick Hilyard rhythm section performs like out of space too in a frenzy and audiophile rhythm. But, but, but…the great super star in “Ample Destruction” is the songlist itself, I’d dare say.

There are nine songs of gigantic power here, nine songs that show no sign of wear as time passes by. From the opening notes of “Licensed To Kill” to the closing march of “The Crucifix” it’s the non-repeatable and unparalleled authority of JAG PANZER that paves the way for these tunes to conquer your ears and soul. Harry screams and shrieks like there’s no tomorrow - you can’t resist his mastery if you consider yourself a Heavy Metal follower - and gives the first and final command for the sonic assault that follows. There are not ultra fast numbers listed here but somehow you feel you’re trapped by the band’s velocity; there are no slow cuts included either but in a weird way you’ll feel bewitched by the band’s tempo. The main idea behind the songs - at least from what I can imagine - probably was to build layers of mid-to-fast tempos in order to let the riffing and leads do the rest of their wizardry, let aside the vocals of Conklin. And the result can be considered as nothing less than breathtaking.

There’s no need to mention any special tracks in this presentation. All of the nine songs are classy examples of straightforward American Metal the 80s way and serve as the epitome of metallic malignance and powerdom. It’s a shame that JAG PANZER did not live up to the expectations they themselves created with this iconic release, even if they have put out some interesting material in the 90s and 00s. “Ample Destruction” has some slight epic feeling but is a US Power Metal release in all its near entirety. And what a release it is…There’s no mercy for the weak here.


Tracklist

01. Licensed To Kill
02. Warfare
03. Symphony Of Terror
04. Harder Than Steel
05. Generally Hostile
06. The Watching
07. Reign Of The Tyrants
08. Cardiac Arrest
09. The Crucifix


Lineup

Harry Conklin - Vocals
Mark Briody - Guitars
Joe Tafolla - Guitars
John Tetley - Bass
Rick Hilyard - Drums