Jag Panzer are an institution in respect to US heavy/power metal, adored in Europe and have a strong following elsewhere. Vocalist Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin has some of the most varied range in modern metal. For this album its gone further, there’s much more controlled and less in the higher register all the time.

The title track starts with stringed synths, sounding very much like an X-Japan track actually, but then progressing into the expected JP territory. ‘Far Beyond All Fear’ starts with a cool riff and some great guitar harmonies and powers into some strong music. For an easy comparison think Riot/Thundersteel era, but with a touch more refinement. ‘Black List’ is a heavier tune, its slower so comes across as so, there’s more epic to the song structure and vocal performance. Fans of such accolades will rejoice with this tune.

The theatre of more recent JP material shines through on ‘Foggy Dew’. I like the soft lower register vocal start, then it kicks into gear with the music and then the octave range increases immensely. A very classy tune and a perfect descriptive of the bands material. That said, I am not as much of a fan of this compared to their last studio outing ‘The Scourge of Light’, that was a lot heavier. Whilst heavy in places it seems quite a competent but I must profess, it feels very safe. They are great at what they do, but it doesn’t shine as much as the said former release. But make no mistake, it is still a strong effort.

(7.5/10 Paul Maddison)