Wake Me

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The grassroots movement known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal experienced a strange renaissance towards the late 1990s -- one that saw many of its long-forgotten heroes reuniting in some shape or form to try and capitalize on the wasted opportunities of glories past. Among them, were Bristol-based proto-thrashers Jaguar, who, in their early-'80s heyday, unleashed a couple of important singles and a great album (1982's underground favorite Power Games) to very enthusiastic response -- only to instantly lose the plot by way of a follow-up boasting sugary-sweet AOR. Still, their modest legacy was kept alive over the ensuing decades by odd compilation appearances and scarce but loyal fans, and Jaguar eventually decided to step onto the unexpected comeback trail when Neat Records reissued the aforementioned debut. 2000s Wake Me -- the band's third official album, and first in sixteen years (!) -- was the result, and it truly saw Jaguar reborn as a modern heavy metal band. Whilst hardly landmark or even original in style (it sounded quite like a Saxon album, actually), one has to admire the old geezers for pulling anything half this good off. Naughty-sounding opener "Mouth and Trousers" sets the tone of renewed aggression, and ensuing highlights like "Junk," "Dawn Chorus," and the very Saxon-esque "Scrap Metal" keep things ever freewheeling and energetic, often hearkening back to ancient splendors, in fact. Even the odd bit of alt metal guitar textures are thrown into the mix of the title track. Ultimately, Wake Me proves that you really can go home again, if you work hard enough at it -- just don't expect that home to be in any better state of repair than when you left it.

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