"Thane to the Throne" followed "Age of Mastery" in 2000. It was a departure for Jag Panzer as it was the first (and last) concept album in the band's recording history, an adaption of William Shakespeares “MacBeth“. Surprisingly, Jag Panzer's epic US Metal style worked extremely well in combination with Shakespeare's poetry. All in all the album was anything but a failed experiment.
Guitarist Mark Briody does not hesitate to point out the differences between "Thane to the Throne" and its predeccessor "Age of Mastery": “I think that ‘Thane to the Throne’ was very different from ‘Age of Mastery’ because it’s a concept album. The story of MacBeth is filled with dark elements and lots of drama. Perfect for a heavy metal album! We approached ‘Thane to the Throne’ like we were scoring a soundtrack, that’s a very different approach then writing individual songs like on ‘Age of Mastery’.“ As the album was well-recived by fans and media alike Jag Panzer did include some songs from "Thane to the Throne" in their live set: “‘King at a Price’ and ‘Fate's Triumph’ have been favorites in our set for a few years. I would say that ‘King at a Price’ is the most popular live song from ‘Thane of the Throne’.“
The general problem of concept albums (think “Nostradamus“!) is the fact that they tend to work rather as a complete unit and not so much as a selection of individual songs. Maybe “Another Brick in the Wall“ by Pink Floyd is the biggest exception to the rule. However, Mark thinks that “Thane to the Throne“ is different in that respect and that there are songs which stand out on their own without the concept behind them: “I actually think they all do. Harry did a good job on the lyrics so that each song could stand alone. I think it’s a great album, so it works for me. 'Thane to the Throne’ is actually my favorite Jag Panzer album, so I think it beats everything we have ever done, including 'Ample Destruction'.“ Talking of Harry, it seems as if his vocals were a bit more varied than on earlier albums, a lot more mid-range. Mark loses no time in confirming my theory: “Harry changed up his voice a lot to portray the different characters in the play. Of course he didn’t want to try to sing like a woman for Lady MacBeth, but he wanted different voices for the songs.“
Again, if you think of Judas Priest, a lot of bands strive to perform a concept album live in its enirety but more often than not the aspect of financing a full-blown stageshow does not work in their favour. Jag Panzer never was an act wirth deep pockets, so “Thane to the Throne“ was never performed live in its full glory: “We would have loved to do that. We talked about it a few times. But we lacked the budget to do something like that.“
Mark Briody was inspired by at least three different Metal concept albums, which all have a special place in his heart: “I think ‘Nightfall in Middle Earth’ is brilliant. There are a lot of albums I’d put right after that one, albums such as 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' and 'Seventh Son'.“