JAG PANZER - The Age of Mastery  LP
JAG PANZER - The Age of Mastery  LP
JAG PANZER - The Age of Mastery  LP
JAG PANZER - The Age of Mastery  LP
JAG PANZER - The Age of Mastery LP

HRR 196, limited to 500 copies, 425gsm heavy gatefold cover, 150 x gold vinyl + 350 x black vinyl

Harry Conklin - vocals
Mark Briody - guitars
Chris Broderick - guitars
John Tetley - bass
Rikard Stjernquist - drums

- Iron Eagle
- Lustful and Free
- Twilight Years
- Sworn to Silence
- False Messiah (Jack Starr cover)
- The Age of Mastery
- Viper
- Displacement
- Chain of Command
- Take This Pain Away
- Burning Heart
- The Moors


"The Age of Mastery" by Jag Panzer, one of the greatest US Metal bands of all time, was originally released in 1998, following the success of their comeback album "The Fourth Judgement". The mood in the band at the time was great, as guitarist Mark Briody explains: “We had just finished our first tour with Chris Broderick and we were excited to record with him. The previous album, 'The Fourth Judgement', was well received so we were ready for the follow up.“ And the fans were, too. In some ways "The Age of Mastery" was different musically from its predecessor "The Fourth Judgement". Mark Briody sees the main difference in the guitar department: “The lead playing is very different, Chris and Joey have very different styles. But other than the lead playing, I don’t hear much difference. They both sound like Jag Panzer to me. During the tour for ‘The Age of Mastery’ we did most of the songs from the album. But the songs that remained in our live set later were ‘Iron Eagle’, ‘Chain of Command’ and ‘The Moors’.“
The album was originally released by Century Media in Europe and in retrospect Mark is still quite satsified with the way the record company was handling Jag Panzer: “Century Media was very good about support, so I think they did enough. We finished a tour with Gamma Ray and Hammerfall for ‘The Fourth Judgement’ and we did a headlining tour for ‘The Age of Mastery’. We also did a few shows here in the U.S.“
There were some reviews of "The Age of Mastery" which described the album as a "transitional record" to a slightly different style for Jag Panzer. A very strange comment. Mark Briody does not agree at all: “No. I’ve read the same thing and I have no idea what people are talking about.“ According to him “The Age of Mastery“ was a 100% consistent record: “Yes. We never would have released it if we didn’t feel it was consistent.“
Any way you look at it, "The Age of Mastery" contains some high quality songwriting, like "Iron Eagle" for example, which has been described by some as "the greatest Jag Panzer song ever“! Mark agrees: “That is one of my favorite songs from the album. It’s got a very strong anthem chorus to it. It’s very easy to sing along with and it goes over well live.“
"Lustful and free" is a re-recording of a song from post-"Ample Destruction" sessions, also a really strong number. And "False Messiah" is a Jack Starr cover. Jack Starr as an artist was always totally underrated. Is there a special relationship between Mark and him? That does not seem to be the case: “I’m a big fan of Jack’s and I’ve spoken to him a few times. We have no relationship other than me being a fan (which he has many).“
"Viper" does feature violins but for Mark that's not a revolutionary thing for Jag Panzer: “There are violins on ‘Viper’ but this is not the first at all. We had violins on 'Ample Destruction' and even on the demos before. ‘The Fourth Judgement’ has violins all over it, the album even starts with a violin part.“
The classic "Chain of Command" did have its first official release on "The Age of Mastery". Mark: “Yes, that was the first official release of that song. I didn’t really want to put that song on the album but I got a lot of fan mail asking for it.“
"Burning Heart" was also originally released on the legendary "Chain of Command" demo but the version on "The Age of Mastery" sounds quite different. Mark Briody does not see such a big difference though: “It’s a little different, but you can expect that with different band members. The basic riff and melody are the same.“
For some, me included, the closing track "The Moor" rates as the most experimental Jag Panzer track up until 1998. However, again, the band leader begs to differ: “I wouldn’t call it experimental. It has a lot of elements that have been part of the Jag Panzer sound since the beginning.“
Matthias Mader