Jaugernaut was a progressive rock band from the Washington state area that originally was a full band that put out two albums in the 80's. They recorded two albums then broke up in 1986. Since then the members have moved on. The drummer is currently in the progressive rock band, Presto Ballet. Which leaves guitarist/vocalist Jim Johnston who moved to Dallas in 1999. According to the website he became a computer programmer and in 2003 was contacted by someone in Europe asking if he was the same ďJim JohnstonĒ of Jaugernaut. This event led to the formation of a Jaugernaut (A.D.) and the release of Contra-Mantra in 2005.
The music of Jaugernaut (A.D.) At the core is a blend of AOR/ Pomp & Progressive Rock but with some modern touches here and there. Upon listening to Contra-Mantra a few times I hear influences of the 80's & 90's progressive and hard rock scene with the 70's style pop/pomp. Thereís no one band that comes to mind for comparisons because Jimís style of writing keeps you guess where heís going next. but if I had to name names, Iíd have to say it reminds me of some of Pallasís recent work but with a more Pomp slant.
Contra-Mantra was original going to be a 100 minute plus concept album but Jim probably felt as a debut, it would be best to trim it down and release it in two parts. The first was released in 2005 and the concept behind it, is an "interpretive and speculative story of the origins of evil". The album was almost entirely done by Jim with some guests to help him out.
The shorter songs on the album take on a more catchy pop-rock vibe while the longer track take on the progressive element. This appeases both worlds and allows those into the pop-rock a bridge over to the progressive side. While itís not an album Iíd revisit often it does earn a recommendation on my part. I look forward to part two and beyond.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on March 7th, 2006