This is a re-release of this Dutch bands one and only album from 1989. Unfortunately originally released during traditional metal’s decline in favour of thrash in the late 80’s, this band were doing the rounds with other notable countrymen of the same style like Picture and in some respect Danish band Pretty Maids along with the many US metal bands of that time period.
The first 6 tracks are from the original release with the remaining 5 tracks sourced from their second demo recorded in 1987 and their 1991 demo ‘The Secret Inside’. From the original release, the title track ‘Cry of the Jackal’ and ‘Pain in the Ass’ stand out above the rest. Such songs are driving traditional metal scores that have genuine melody driven arrangements matched with a momentous drum beat. The drums by todays standards are quite weak in the recording I have to say, but for its time, it worked as drum recordings were never a major feature in the 80’s, not like today. ‘Dinosaur Invasion’ and its main riff gallops into action and delivers fresh slabs of melodic traditional metal including many artificial harmonics. Critically or arguably, I find some of the vocals tones similar to Wrathchild UK! Jackal were not a glam band (there was that “other” Jackal who sang about someone loving their cock!), but you can hear some of the standard notation akin to this period, a great time for metal music for melody driven anthems in fact.
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ is much meatier, it has much more straight metal about it and I recognise a few NWOBHM riff influences here and there too. Then going onto tracks like ‘Dream Review’ and ‘Solution’ the band engaged more depth here with the use of acoustic guitars. Remember this was recorded before the advent of keyboard driven atmospherics (if you did use keyboards then you were criminally considered an AOR band!) and this adds a nice touch if critically sounding dated. Completing this package is ‘The Enchantress’ that sits somewhere between Leatherwolf and Savatage for style and this track highlights stronger vocals although rather “warbled” in places like late 90’s European Power Metal. This still means something positive to me as a listener and Jackal did have some pretty good material, but timing and market conditions were always set against them.
Jackal played really catchy traditional metal and were very typical of their time in music history and their geographical location. If you are in the market for hunting down such forgotten low distribution releases, as it appears everyone is doing these days, then this will fit your thirst and desire. The inclusion of the bonus material really makes this a complete discography (minus 2 original ’87 demo tracks) and much better value than overpriced original issues. Jackal should be added to your discography and thoroughly deserve a level of acknowledgement for their contribution to the Dutch metal scene.
(7/10 Paul Maddison)