JAGUAR – Archive Alive Volume 1

JAGUAR - Archive Alive Volume 1
  • 6.5/10
    JAGUAR - Archive Alive Volume 1 - 6.5/10


Majestic Rock
Release date: June 14, 2007

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The career of NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) cult heroes Jaguar has, in many ways, been following a path almost “custom made” in its typical-ness of many other bands that came passing through in the eighties. After a promising start and the release of an album that has since been made considered a cult classic (Power Games), they opted for a more melodic approach in hopes of attracting the airwaves. This was quite a common route for Metal bands in the eighties as chances of mainstream radio play were considerably higher back then for this music. Often though, neither radio nor fans approved of the plan at hand and bands fell into oblivion. Sadly for Jaguar, their fate would prove no exception and the band fell apart not long after. In further typical mode, Jaguar was restored in the new century and is back not only in the live department, but also where recordings are concerned.

With the release of Archive Alive Volume 1 it’s most definitely a case of “back to the start” for the band, though. As the title suggests, it’s only a first part in what is being planned for further releases (three in total) of a similar nature. As for the audio at hand, the sources presented here carry an uneven quality, ranging from fairly good down to poor. The booklet comes with sleeve notes by guitarist Garry Pepperd where he reveals the recordings sources (at least where he remembers!) along with the kind of pictures that are to be expected (mostly taken live and of partying) as well as an introduction from a faithful follower. The running order mostly follows chronological order in terms of when the songs were recorded, starting with the bands first demo in March 1980 through to March 1983, just as the band were finally to release their full-length debut.

Musically, Jaguar was really straightforward and simple, even more so than most of the scene at the time, which is saying a lot. They could be likened to Holocaust in that respect, and perhaps Diamond Head in their simpler moments. Tracks like “Feel The Heat,” “Piledriver,” and “Stormchild” typify NWOBHM: raw, up-tempo and strikingly primal in comparison to today’s more sophisticated world, both where songs and production values are concerned, even if these recordings were obviously not meant for proper album releases in the first place. Images of musicians in faded denim, carrying their instruments to rehearsals or recording studios, rather than recording their parts at home in front of the computer, inevitably pops up. That’s what’s in retrospect striking about many bands of the time; the energetic and joyful feel they displayed in their very early inceptions, only to become crushed and spit out victims of the hard business that was the recording industry by the mid to latter eighties.

Musically, this release will probably not disappoint Jaguar fans; “Wastin’ Time,” “Scrap Metal,” and especially “Crack In The Wall,” an absolute rocking’ nutty of a song, among others deliver full on. General poor audio (especially where the live recordings that make up half the CD are concerned) and the nature of the release make it first and foremost a release for Jaguar and NWOBHM collectors, though. First time listeners interested in Jaguar are better advised to start off with the Power Games debut instead.


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