It is always hard to see one of your favourite bands calling it a day. After 27 years in the record business US Metal legends Jag Panzer finally said goodbye in 2011. Their sudden end came quite as a surprise to me. The new album "The Scourge of the Light" came out via SPV and was received with open arms by fans and critics alike. I was already looking forward to seeing Harry Conklin and the boys live in Germany. But things took a different turn as guitarist Mark Briody explains: "We hoped to tour also. In fact, we were working on tour dates and I was starting writing for the next next album. Then Harry said he would only continue if he was making enough money to support his family." It seems as if Mark was not the one to call it quits: "Harry was the only reason. Everyone else was ready to continue. We were all ready to support 'The Scourge of the Light', do a new album and finally a live album. But none of that is possible now." That is a sad state of affairs indeed …
However, to have a look on the bright side, the sudden demise of Jag Panzer spurred the current vinyl re-release campaign on High Roller. Mark Briody himself is a big vinyl lover, so he is looking forward to seeing Jag Panzer's back catalogue revived.
Jag Panzer's "Ample Destruction" from 1984 must surely rate as one of the Top 20 US Metal albums of all time. Such a landmark album can be a blessing or a curse. For Mark Briody it is both: "I am very proud of 'Ample Destruction', but I think this was always a problem for us. 'Ample Destruction' was released during the glory years of heavy metal, so when people think of the album they are also reminded of that timeframe. It’s hard to top nostalgia." That is true! And probably one reason for the band's first split in the late 1980's.
Eleven years after "Ample Destruction" Jag Panzer issued their comeback album "Dissident Alliance" in 1995. Was it hard for the band back then to compose new material? Mark explains: "No, it wasn’t hard at all. We wrote and recorded ‘Chain of Command’ after 'Ample Destruction' but that didn’t get released. We also did several demos after 'Ample Destruction'. We were always writing and recording new songs. 'Dissident Alliance' from 1995 was the product of all five band members involved at the time. There was no plan to try to sound modern. I don't share that criticism of the album sounding too modern!"
"The fourth Judgement" was Jag Panzer's next album in 1997. The title was referring to the fact that that it was their fourth record after "Tyrants", "Ample Destruction" and "Dissident Alliance". Mark Briody comments on "The fourth Judgement": "We never try to make the band sound a certain way, we just make the music sound natural for the musicians in the band. 'The fourth Judgement' had two different band members compared to 'Dissident Alliance'. The 1990’s were ok for us. We got to do some touring and see the world. I like the albums we released in the 1990’s. From 'The fourth Judgement' I like 'Black' and 'Judgement Day' most. I always like the big epic songs that we end albums with. I rate 'The fourth Judgement' about fourth or fifth best in our entire catalogue. I love the album, but I prefer 'Thane to the Throne', 'The Scourge of the Light' and 'Mechanized Warfare'. I think we’ve played most of 'The fourth Judgement' live but the one song that has always got the best crowd response is ‘Black’. The song ended up having a permanent spot in the set. The atmosphere in the band back then was good. All liked the songs and were excited to see what everyone else thought of them."