Decade Of The Nail-Spiked Bat (Century Media)
By: Vinnie Apicella
Of all the Metal bands to survive the decade-long ice age since the glory days faded in the late '80s, who'd have thought something like Jag Panzer would not only continue releasing new records, let alone land world tours with modern day influentials like an In Flames or Iced Earth, but be given enough greenback to go back in the studio and revisit cuts of the classic, cryptic and not quite yet variety to round out a two-disc twenty song monster of generally dark proportions.
"Decade Of The Nail-Spiked Bat" covers the earlier years from the ground up, or underground as it were and for the most part, still is, for the veteran Power metallers currently enjoying a resurrected career through the CM family, not usually thought as providing shelter to long, lost reclamation projects, but nonetheless, the band stuck it out and earned a new found respect in so doing that's afforded them the opportunity to reproduce some of their past work in the unearthing and partial revitalizing of these long missed cellar-dwellers.
Featuring a predominance of their earliest years, covering "Dissident Alliance" and beyond, the focus is to re-introduce, in some cases, reproduce the likes of "Forsaken," "Fallen Angel," "Warfare," "Generally Hostile," "Edge Of Blindness" and on down the line. "Reign Of Tyrants" is the first track of many, which appears in rare, previously unreleased form, having originally appeared as "Under The Knife," self-evident upon hearing the chorus, and subsequently saved for a rainy day; or full-length, two-disc set of retreads and rarities; "Eyes Of The Night" saw its initial pressing on Hit Parader's "Wild Bunch" compilation cassette, while "The Church" was an original "Dissident Alliance" disappointment harmonically redressed here; "Tower Of Darkness" is the first song they ever recorded; "Spirit Suicide" was another make over candidate specifically redone here.
As the song says, "Metal Melts The Ice" and in no truer sense than here, Jag Panzer's back catalog gets a major thaw and in the process, the shroud is lifted on some high caliber music that suffered early stage production deficiency and fiscal restraint, given their just due here. And Jag Panzer's, let's call it a comeback that's still going strong, grew in the age where Power Metal primates caught the tail wind of bands like Megadeth, Overkill, and Mercyful Fate, not to mention the lauded if short-lived NWOBHM movement before, and met their own maybe an album or two in, like the Helstar's and Omen's and any and all late '80s contenders unlucky enough to land their big deal in the dying U.S. scene, however lucky enough to later capitalize over the mountain and across the sea-- or something like that. Fact is, Jag Panzer's deserving of this CD set and deserving of the current upsurge in popularity they and the genre they helped to define has continued to enjoy. "Decade Of The Nail-Spiked Bat" is a two-disc documentary to the true Metal spirit, walking through and retracing the darker days of Jag Panzer, the embodiment of the struggle for acceptance, graduates of the Maiden/Priest school of metal-edged mastery and maximum intent.