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JAUGERNAUT (A.D.)

Crossover Prog • United States


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Jaugernaut (a.d.) biography
20 years ago JAUGERNAUT recorded their 2nd album "'Take Em There". At the time, JAUGERNAUT was rapidly becoming a top west coast band. But record companies shunned them, because they were not writing songs that were considered "hip". Bands like A flock of...' and Men without hatpins were topping the charts with their one-hit-wonder-songs. JAUGERNAUT music, in comparison was labeled by the corporate music world as "undanceworthy" (whatever that means).

But in contrast to the corporate "suits", the people who came to see JAUGERNAUT were being blown away - not by big hair and a shopworn disco beat, here was a band that could rock! And they played music that lacked the plasticity that dominated the charts in the early 1980's. Here were songs that harkened back to the progressive ''FM' sound of the 1970's. "Dinosaur Rock" it was called.

Over the last two decades, "Take Em There" has become a Classic AOR Rock Album - along the lines of bands like STYX, Boston, Kansas, Journey, or Rush, where keyboards and soaring harmonies are prominently featured. It is a timeless tribute to the more intelligent music of the 1970's and 80's. While as an independent release "Take Em There" is considered somewhat obscure, still, to the informed consumer and collector of POMP/AOR, it has earned a place of great respect in this genre of music.

How different things are today compared to 1983! There is a resurgence of interest and demand for AOR POMP music, particularly in Europe, where a used JAUGERNAUT LP (that's on vinyl!) is fetching from $25 to $150 on the market. On the other hand, any current hit song is downloaded or pirated by a generation who has been led to believe that music is not a real commodity, but rather something less deserving of their financial support than say, shoes.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Great Progressive POMP/AOR music!


Discography:
Self Titled, studio album (1979) Vinyl
Take Em There, studio album (1984) Vynil
Take Em There 20th Anniversary edition, studio album (2004) CD
Contra Mantra, studio album (2005) CD

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JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) discography


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JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jaugernaut
1980
1.14 | 3 ratings
Take Em There
1983
3.02 | 7 ratings
Contra-Mantra
2005

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JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Contra-Mantra  by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Contra-Mantra
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The least that I can say is that their prior album (released in ?1983) was not exactly the type of album you would like to review / listen to. Prog was totally alien from this album which I could only rate with the minimum of one star.

It was then a major and pleasant surprise to discover the opening number from this work: the long "Anthem" is a very good song that mixes good hard-rock, solid keyboards parts, theme changes, and fine vocal harmonies. An excellent start which quite surprised me! But when it is good, one also needs to mention it.

Not all songs are on the same level: the musical style of the band reverts to its AOR oriented music; but even so a track like "The Damage Is Done" is not too bad. This album should also be considered as the work of one person (Jim Johnston) more than a band actually.

He is in charge of almost all departments and his vocals are quite good. Song writing is basic for most of the songs but the whole is acceptable; even if prog music is not too much present ("Better Living Thru Anarchy").

The longest song of this album ("Doing It The Hard Way") also features a more sophisticated treat just as during the opening song. The structure is similar: an instrumental intro, theme changes etc. Still, this one is less achieved but pleasant. The beat is oppressive and the vocal parts are very well crafted.

All in all, this album is not bad at all, but the majority of the tracks leans too much on the AOR side to rate it with three stars.

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 Take Em There by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 1983
1.14 | 3 ratings

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Take Em There
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars It was a major mistake of mine to consider this band as progressive. I should have read their bio with more care before starting the review of their works.

Because of prog music, there is nothing to say here. It is pure FM and American music from the eighties. I guess that you can imagine how "great" this album can be. There are no great solo, just average background music. There are no great vocal harmonies, just weak exercises to sound like it. Song writing is just middle of the road and you really should not bother for any of these songs.

So, what's left? Well: not a big deal I have to say. The experience is even longer while you listen to the CD version which was released some twenty years after the initial release. Four more tracks. Gosh!

Is there any stand out tracks? No. Are there any useless tracks? Yes. Quite a bunch I am afraid (actually all of them). No wonder that no one has ever reviewed this "work" on PA.

The rating of such an album is pretty easy: less than one star. Nothing more. To avoid by all means.

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 Contra-Mantra  by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Contra-Mantra
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It is hard to define progressive rock, and even after listening to it for two years you would be hard pressed to get an answer from me that properly encompasses all music that is considered progressive. For each person, their definition will vary, as will what they consider progressive or not. But for each person, there is some point where they can say, "That does not fit into my definition of progressive". The majority of this album, which is full of big keyboard sounds, roaring lead guitars, and choruses you almost have to belt along with, I cannot consider prog by my definition.

The Damage is Done, Better Living Through Anarchy, Vanity, and A Different World are all straight up rockers, with Better Living Through Anarchy being the catchiest of them all. All I See Is Gray could be described best as a ballad.

So the progressiveness exists almost solely in the two longer tracks (The Hard Way and Anthem). Each are alright tracks, with The Hard Way diverging the furthest from the sound of the rest of the album. It ably moves between different ideas, and has quite a few good sections. I'm especially a fan of the parts where the acoustic guitars are used - I must admit to liking Marty Prue's guitar playing better than Jim Branner's on this album, it has more characteristic to my ears.

If you're looking big stadium sounding music with a bit of a prog edge, this album is for you. It's good, but I have a hard time considering it prog.

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 Contra-Mantra  by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Contra-Mantra
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars As the history of this band goes back to the 70's, it's no wonder that their 2005 release has a certain vintage sound to it; with 70's AOR/hard rock as the foundation.

However, Jim Johnston - who mostly made this album on his own due to former members not interested in participating - has seen to it to add quite a few elements to these compositions resulting in a somewhat eclectic collection of tunes.

Opening tune Anthem and fourth track Doing It the Hard Way are both epic tunes stretching beyond the 10 minute mark, the first of these vintage progressive rock US style and the second a pomp-rock tinged tune with ambient-tinged electronic passages inserted; and in fact dominating this creation.

The rest of these song all have additional elements to them too - from keyboard layers in true pomp rock style to ambient-tinged electronic segments - and there's even a ballad finishing this release off, evolving from a mellow acoustic guitar piece to a purebred 70's majestic pomp rock creation.

Overall an enjoyable and fascinating album, especially for fans of vintage US-based AOR/pomp rock.

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 Contra-Mantra  by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Contra-Mantra
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by feedback2

4 stars I always find it frustrating when I come across a band today who were making the kind of music that I wanted to listen to when I was first going out and buying albums, but whose name totally passed me by at the time. Jaugernaut prove to be just such a band!

Their origins are in the Pacific Northwest and Western states of the USA, where they evolved from an earlier band named Joint Effort. In a career that lasted from 1978 to 1985 they toured quite extensively and recorded two albums.

Their debut release, "Jaugernaut" came in 1981, and this was followed in 1983 by "Take 'em There", recorded after substantial line-up changes which saw the band through to their eventual demise, brought about largely due to the lack of interest in the progressive genre that was prevalent at the time.

Now however there is a chance to redress the balance for Jim Johnston, bass player/vocalist with the 1982-86 line up is back with Jaugernaut (A.D.). Although it was originally intended to make this album with other former band members, it proved problematic to get people committed to the project, so in the end it became pretty mush a solo affair. Even so the end result is true to the spirit of the original Jaugernaut and this brand new album turns out to be a perfect fusion of the AOR and Progressive genres with a fresh and modern sounding edge.

In Jim's own words "'Contra Mantra' tells an interpretive and speculative story of the origins of evil". Sadly the album is issued without a lyric sheet so I am not sure how well it succeeds in this respect, but what I am certain of is that it sounds superb from start to finish.

The album begins with the aptly named 'Anthem' which gets underway with an eerie fairground music sound. This is followed by a hard edge beat that cuts in over the top before the pace really picks up as keyboards and guitar pick things up revealing a definite prog mood. The music is very upbeat and full of flourishes which are particularly in evidence from the keyboards, and which add a nice sense of depth. The transition into the mid section of the song is perhaps a little on the abrupt side as we move from the upbeat opening to a more subdued and dreamy passage. However any criticsm here is more than made up for by the smooth vocals which and are perfectly contrasted by some great backing harmonies which add a 'Yes' feel to the proceedings. Also of note are some triumphant sweeping lead guitar runs which adds a nice pomp rock edge that works really well. The final section of the track is heralded by a short keyboard run as we return to a the more upbeat mood that sees the track out where once more the lead guitar work is very much in evidence.

'The Damage Is Done' has a deceptive opening, quiet and subdued, but then without warning the rhythm section cuts in and cranks up the pace. The vocals here are fairly reminiscent of Rush, but musically the track seems to lean more in the direction of Styx, and it is this fusion of styles which makes for an extremely effective track. The use of the keyboards and the additional backing harmonies provide an additional feel good factor making this track a firm favourite of mine.

'Better Living Thru Anarchy' carries things on in very much the same vein, with rock guitar runs, keyboard sweeps and some uplifting vocal harmonies that would not be out of place on a Heart album. This is AOR as it should be played - really awesome.

At just under 15 minutes 'The Hard Way' is easily the longest track on the album, and sadly is the track that provides the only real bone of contention I have with the whole album. The first three minutes of the track are a mix of rock rhythms and ambient sounds followed by a superb acoustic guitar passage that runs for around two minutes and is a little like Rush or Triumph in their quieter moments. This in turn is followed by a short section with the full band before a nice little keyboard interlude. And so it goes on. Lots if nice touches, lots of great ideas, nice singing, nice playing - in fact there's nothing actually bad here, it's just a little overwhelming and ultimately I felt that what we have here is a mammoth track that is perhaps just a little too disjointed for my personal taste.

The next two tracks 'Vanity' and 'A Different World' both have a very upbeat rocky edge to them, and again band's like Styx come very much to mind. The former piece is perhaps a little quirky at times, while the latter track is a full blown pomp rock stomp along number that never fails to please.

'All I See Is Grey' brings the album to a suitable close. The track is full of contrasts and makes good use of acoustic guitar work, intermingled with soft vocal sections and some nice piano touches. As the track progresses the sound becomes more layered and the repeat to fade at the end, which had me thinking of IQ's 'Last Human Gateway', is particularly evocative.

Despite the odd criticism in the final reckoning I have to say that this album really struck me as a breath of fresh air with its positive moods and upbeat music. Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it while writing this review, but I am confident that it is an album that I will continue to come back to in the future.

Anyone who enjoys rocking AOR with a progressive edge should find a lot to enjoy with this album - highly recommended!!

(If you decide to take the plunge you can obtain a copy of Contra-Mantra by visiting www.cdbaby.com/jaugernautad)

Simon 26th September 2005

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 Contra-Mantra  by JAUGERNAUT (A.D.) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Contra-Mantra
Jaugernaut (a.d.) Crossover Prog

Review by jjohnston

4 stars There is so much here that I have to look at it as a whole piece instead of a bunch of seperate songs. There are times on the CD where I am reminded of Queensryche, Dream Theater, and Yes. Not in a derivative sort of way, but as in a peer sort of way!

The compositions are fantastic! Speaking as someone who is disgusted with the current music scene this CD is going to get a lot of play. It's top quality and not cookie cutter. Progressive without being self-indulgent.

The tones... ah, the tones!! Wonderful use of the full specrum of tones! It was just two weeks ago when I was on vacation talking to a friend (old bandmate) about the guitar tones being used on Elton John's Captain Fantastic CD. I was telling him how the current music scene doesn't even consider choosing from any of the tones that the legends of music chose from, and BAM you've got them on your CD. Standing ovations! While I'm talking about tones let me talk specifically about guitars - as I said above, great stuff. The fact that you're using more overdrive than buzzy distortion...

Ah, never mind. I guess I don't really have a point to any of this other than I LOVE this new CD! Really, if they don't get rich from this it's because the word never got out, not because of the quality of the product.

Congratulations!

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