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Jaguar - 1984 This Time



ARTIST: Jaguar
ALBUM: This Time
LABEL: Roadrunner
SERIAL: RR-9851
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2009, Metal Mind, MASSCD 1254 DG

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Paul Merrel - vocals, guitars * Gary Peppard - guitars * Jeff Cox - bass * Chris Lovell - drums (album only) * Larry Dawson - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 This Time * 02 Last Flight * 03 A Taste Of Freedom * 04 Another Lost Weekend * 05 Stand Up (Tumble Down) * 06 Sleepwalker * 07 Tear The Shackles Down * 08 Stranger * 09 Driftwood * 10 (Nights Of) Long Shadows

WEBLINKS: www.jaguarnwobhm.com


Background
Formed in Bristol in 1979, Jaguar were another up and coming NWOBHM act who seemed to have survived the initial frenzy surrounding the scene. Their staunch traditional metal belief was best exemplified by 1982's 'Axe Crazy' single, an early example of thrash. This was followed by 1983's debut 'Power Games', another sizable effort with some great moments in 'Dutch Connection' and 'Raw Deal'. As their standing increased at home and in Europe, Jaguar committed a massive blunder and inexplicably transformed into a bland AOR act for 'This Time'. Quite how the band decided on such a transition within a year is unknown, but the reversal was disastrous. The switch was uninspired, clearly they were not advanced enough to master a complex genre, the songs meandering. For the album original drummer Chris Lovell supplied drums, but was replaced immediately after by Gary Davies.


The Songs
Many bands have taken the plunge from metal to AOR, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. In a way Jaguar were before their time as Saxon were only easing into their AOR phase in 1984. But with only one full-length metal album to their name, the jump was hasty. The title track is the blueprint for the entire album. Mid paced with lukewarm melody, it drags out, with none of the ingredients needed for quality AOR, which are heavy dramatics and chord changes that thrill. 'Last Flight' is close to what Black Rose sounded like on their 1987 'Walk It Like You Talk It', trying hard to sound American. But where Black Rose succeeded, Jaguar fall victim to a new wave approach, hardly tempting. The best chorus belongs to 'Another Lost Weekend', taking the good time hard rock dynamic completed by a brazenly shouted hook. A host of faceless cuts ensue, among them, 'Sleepwalker' and 'Tear The Shackles Down', with little variety in the music to distinguish them from each other. 'Stranger' is moderately heavy, but with such weak riffing, it never falls into place. Other tracks are pointless singling out, just a blur of repetition. Rarely has such incompetent, unmelodic AOR been heard.


In Summary
'We're not slow and doomy, we just crank it up, press down the gas pedal and lay on speed and more speed'. So said Lovell in Sounds magazine during 1982. Perhaps this is why he left, opposing the shift in direction. Such a statement seemed true then, but Jaguar severely alienated their fan base, totally dumbfounded by 'This Time'. The reaction was so underwhelming that Jaguar split in late 1985, the victim of undermining their metal fan-base. Years later the band themselves admitted it was a bad decision. Jaguar reformed in 1998 and released 'Wake Me' in 2000, an effort widely panned I recall. A new album titled 'Run Ragged' has been recorded, while the revamped lineup with only Peppard remaining from the 1984 version, shop for a new record deal. To understand 'This Time' you must hear Jaguar's prior work. Only then will you understand what a dismal recording this is.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Jaguar 
 
Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on July 04 2008 14:26:29
Excellent band of the NWOBHM era. Even today we're trying to dig out some of that period's jewels..
#2 | dangerzone on July 20 2008 13:11:55
Sadly this is dire beyond compare.
 
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