JAGUAR – AXE CRAZY (Skol Records)

2017 reissue, originally released in 1982

Review by Omni: Formed in 1979 by guitarist Gary Pepperd, vocalist Rob Reiss, bassist Jeff Cox and drummer Chris Lovell Lovell, Jaguar released a handful of demos and a single entitled “Back Street Woman” before Reiss left the band and was replaced by Paul Merrell. The band signed with Neat Records and this single was the first release by the same lineup that would later record the classic Power Games album. Skol Records has reissued this single on CD in a version designed to pay homage to the original 1982 vinyl version, complete with a miniature sleeve designed after the original packaging.

“Axe Crazy” accurately represents the state of the NWOBHM in 1982, offering more speed and power than Jaguar’s previous efforts. Mid-paced and hard-rocking songs were falling out of favor with metalheads, and most of them were looking for something with real teeth. This song is an iconic anthem of the era, with a much more metallic sound than “Back Street Woman” and it showcases Merrell’s vocals as a massive improvement over those of Reiss. “War Machine” seems slow at first, but it quickly kicks into high gear and shows that Jaguar has plenty of metal aggression to go around.

It’s not surprising that Jaguar would follow up this single with the impressive Power Games, but these songs are excellent in their own right. This single comes heavily recommended to fans of NWOBHM and classic metal. I look forward to hearing more amazing classic metal from Skol Records as this series continues.

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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