It would be particularly pleasing for this reviewer to see JAG PANZER gain international recognition for their unbending commitment to Heavy Metal music. Whilst other bands achieve unparalleled and in some cases undeserved levels of success it is the likes of JAG PANZER that fight to retain the true spirit and feel of Heavy Metal. For me JAG PANZER are a staggeringly talented lot. They really should be higher up the Metal ladder than most.
Maybe one day.
This is by no means a slick well-groomed professional DVD production. In fact as the sleeve notes say this is the first "underground Metal" DVD. The video clips for "King At A Price" and "Iron Eagle" are bootleg recordings with the studio versions dubbed over them but I can live with that. These guys are not made of money. The acclaimed "Mechanized Warfare" album from last year (2001) is represented with 3 video clips: "The Silent", "Take To The Sky" and "Cold Is The Blade". And well thought out promo clips they are too.
For me the most interesting visuals are the live bootleg tracks, which show what an excellent and formidable band JAG PANZER is live. You can't argue with great songs and even better musicianship. Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin ranks as one of the best vocalists out there. Can this boy roar! Along side the quite dazzling and exhilarating fret board runs of Chris Broderick and Mark Briody, this is pure Heavy Metal. No pretence. No gimmicks. No fucking about.
"Future Shock" and "Black" culled from the excellent "The Fourth Judgement" (1997) album, "Chain Of Command" from 1998's "The Age Of Mastery" and "Fates Triumph" from the quite majestic "Thane To The Throne" (1999) are all delivered with controlled passion and precise playing. The sound isn't the best, remember the word bootleg! But you get the message loud and clear.
The specials on the DVD include the making of "Take To The Sky", life on the road with the band, a lengthy interview and some guitar outtakes showing the skill and technical dexterity of Chris Broderick. This guy can shred. Check out the classical playing on "A Downward Spiral", the pacey run on the solo to "Take To The Sky" and the Joe Satriani inspired "Slap Song". Inspirational.
I can't fault this DVD. A lot of time, effort, heart and soul have gone into its making. It's not perfect; if it was it would lose a lot of its charisma and originality and that would be missing the point. Metal isn't about looks it's about music.
JAG PANZER wins hands down on that point. (Online January 14, 2002)