Jaguar - This Time (Roadrunner/Metal Mind) 1984
1. This Time (4:36)
2. Last Flight (4:57)
3. A Taste of Freedom (3:58)
4. Another Lost Weekend (3:23)
5. Stand Up (Tumble Down) (3:49)
6. Sleepwalker (3:20)
7. Tear the Shackles Down (4:26)
8. Stranger (4:34)
9. Driftwood (3:48)
10. (Night of) Long Shadows (6:45)
11. (Nights Of) Long Shadows [Demo] (5:34)
12. Last Flight [Demo] (4:20)
13. Sleepwalker [Live] (3:11)
14. This Time [Remix] (4:11)
Jaguar were one of the many, many British bands that broke on the scene during the height of the NWOBHM days. Formed in 1979, the band first appeared on the Heavy Metal Heroes compilation before signing to Neat Records for their first full-length album in 1983. "Power Games" was a well-received traditional NWOBHM album and gave hope that Jaguar would be one of the bands to "make it". The band wasn't of the heavier ilk, like Venom or Raven, but rather had more in common with bands like Heavy Pettin' and Praying Mantis. However, their debut album had some heavier moments and even some Iron Maiden-esque qualities. With their follow-up album in 1984 the band changed their sound radically. The band went in a more melodic AOR direction, not unlike fellow British rockers Def Leppard and Heavy Pettin', which resulted in heavy metal fans turning their backs on the band. It's really no surprise that the album tanked and the band broke up soon after.
Despite the radical change in style, "This Time" isn't a 'bad' album, it's just different from their debut. The emphasis went from 'heavy' to catchy choruses, melodic songwriting and sing-songy vocals. The production is also smooth and glossy as well, emphasizing the vocals over the guitars and drums. The title track is an incredibly catchy melodic rock number. The song could have been recorded by any number of more well known AOR bands (Survivor/Toto) and it might have been a hit. "Last Flight" has one of those galloping NWOBHM riffs that is understated due to the slick production. There are a couple of more upbeat, slightly heavier tracks, "Tear Down the Shackles" and "Night of Long Shadows". On the Metal Mind re-issue, there are four bonus tracks, including a demo version of "Night of Long Shadows". The demo version is slightly more raw and gives the song a slightly heavier feel. Actually the same can be said of the demo version of "Last Flight". The beefier guitar tone and dropping the mellow opening gives the song a heavier feel. Overall, though it's not a heavy metal album, "This Time" is still a good, melodic, hard rock album.
As usual, Metal Mind has done an excellent job with the re-issue. The CD is wrapped in a digi packaged with a four page insert with a short biography. The Metal Mind pressing was limited to 2000 numbered copies. Mine is 0810/2000.
Jaguar - Run Ragged (Angel Air) 2003
1. Run Ragged (3:46)
2. Feng Shui (2:37)
4. As The Crow Flies (4:06)
5. No Change Given (3:10)
6. Living Hell (3:11)
7. Gulf War Syndrome (2:15)
8. Nailed (4:03)
9. Stray (5:18)
10. This Is Your Life (3:40)
11. Eighties (3:50)
12. My Weakness (3:35)
Jaguar were a NWOBHM band that started off a a fairly heavy band but soon moved into more melodic pop territories. The band broke up sometime in the mid-1980 but reformed in 1998 and released a full length album in 2000. The reunited band featured only one original member, guitarist Garry Peppard. In 2002 the band recorded their second reunion record titled "Run Ragged".
"Run Ragged" sees the re-formed Jaguar returning to their NWOBHM sound. This isn't the melodic AOR that the band attempted to do after their first album. Rather, "Run Ragged" is mostly traditional heavy metal, not unlike more recent releases from Saxon. The CD opens with the Iron Maiden-esque "Run Ragged". The bass guitar is prominent on this album and helps give the album an early Iron Maiden vibe. Bassist Darren Furze must be a Steve Harris fan as that influence is spread throughout this CD and is especially apparent on this opening track. "Feng Shui" brings up the tempo and enters a realm of speed metal. "Living Hell" is another up-tempo song that pushes the band close to speed metal territory. "Stray" is driven by a fast double-bass beat and is yet another up-tempo song. This song features a great breakdown that starts with a solo bass run and builds to a melodic guitar solo. Though there are no ballads, there are a few more melodic moments such as "As the Crow Flies", "Nailed", and "No Changes Given". Vocalist Jaime Manton has a charismatic singing voice with just enough grit. He sings forcefully, and adds in a few high screams. He fits this release like a glove.
"Run Ragged" is a raw, crunchy, energetic, traditional NWOBHM album. The band aren't doing anything new musically, but that's not really the point. Rather, "Run Ragged" is an album that could have been recorded in 1983, but was recorded in 2002. (Thanks Vexer6)