"If you decide to go to only one fest this year, this should be it" 
Revolver Magazine March/April 2002

JAG PANZER

Official Artist Website: jagpanzer.com

With the legacy of being formed in the ‘80s golden age of metal, Colorado’s JAG PANZER sustains the reputation of being one of the early heroes in the American metal underground who have triumphantly endured line-up changes in order to continuously create quality traditional metal. Honoring the paths they helped construct, JAG PANZER’s Mechanized Warfare brilliantly showcases how they have maintained the power and melody of their early sound and forged it with the evolution of their musical skill and mature songwriting.

Nurtured with the bonds of childhood friendships and fueled by the music of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon, guitarist Mark Briody, bassist John Tetley, vocalist Harry Conklin and drummer Rick Hilyard were first known in the Colorado metal scene as Tyrants, then changed it to JAG PANZER after band members saw a picture of a German World War II tank that became their namesake. Signing their first record deal with Azra Records while they were still in high school, they recorded what is historically referred to as the Tyrants EP, and soon invited a talented guitarist by the name of Joey Tafolla into their ranks.

1984 witnessed the release of their milestone (and far ahead of its time) LP, Ample Destruction, which propelled JAG PANZER into the rousing fame of the metal underground. However, within one short year the bonds of unity deteriorated, ultimately denying the band the opportunity to expand the parameters of their success. Rick Hilyard was the first to leave in 1985. Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin departed for a short-lived stint in Riot before recording an album with Satan’s Host and two with Titan Force. Joey Tafolla left to pursue solo projects, and soon only founding members Mark Briody and John Tetley were left to carry on the name.

In 1986, the dynamic abilities of drummer Rikard Stjernquist began to stir up the ashes of creativity once again, and thus JAG PANZER entered the first phase of their own reincarnation. Emerging whole in 1993 with a newly found vision, the trio was recast with Chris Kostka on guitar and Daniel Conca (ex-Gothic Slam) on vocals and collected enough material for yet another full-length release. After releasing Dissident Alliance in 1994, they toured Germany with Overkill and headlined selected shows in the United States. Inspired by the vigorous support of their American and newly-found European fans, Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin and Joey Tafolla rekindled their roles as active band members and JAG PANZER eventually signed a world-wide deal with Century Media Records.

The Fourth Judgement, produced by Jim Morris (Savatage, Death, Iced Earth) and JAG PANZER at Morrisound Studios in 1997, earned praises from Metal Edge magazine as “a virtual how-to recording of metal thunder, guitar wizardry, and awe-inspiring vocals. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill metal, it shines with a luster that legends struggle for, and few can find.” While 1998 once again witnessed the departure of Joey Tafolla, a replacement was quickly found in an extremely gifted and humble classical guitarist from Denver, Colorado: Chris Broderick of Industrial Eden. The band toured for five weeks in Europe with Gamma Ray and Hammerfall, opened for Iced Earth in the United States, building up an incredible anticipation for their next release (also produced by Jim Morris), which did not disappoint. “Panzer is working at a higher creative level than almost any of their competitors,” declared Metal Maniacs, naming The Age Of Mastery as “one of the best power metal albums ever made.” Fans who saw them perform at Germany's Wacken Open Air Festival in 1999 could attest to their passionate delivery of the music which garnered such accolades.

Daring to pursue a theatrical storyline with orchestral arrangements to demonstrate the depth of their musicianship and based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the year 2000’s concept album, Thane To The Throne (Jim Morris) even featured a classical piece composed by Broderick, which was performed on the album by The Moscow String Quartet from Russia. Audiences at festivals such as Milwaukee Metalfest; Powermad in Baltimore, Maryland; Ultrasound 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada; November To Dismember in San Bernardino, California and the Prog Power Festival in Lansing, Illinois reacted excitedly to “King At A Price,” “Fate’s Triumph” and “Hell To Pay” despite having a working knowledge of the timeless piece of literature it was based upon.

Maintaining the same line-up for these last three consecutive releases, JAG PANZER demonstrates how continuity generates an amplified level of musical cohesiveness. Making yet another post-production pilgrimage to Morrisound Studios in Florida for Mechanized Warfare and once again entrusting the reigns of production to Jim Morris (who is well versed in their very unorthodox recording methods!), it is evident that JAG PANZER has managed to reach a new plateau in their abilities as versatile musicians. The rapport established between the dynamic range of vocalist Harry Conklin, the confident contributions of John Tetley, the well-executed wisdoms of Mark Briody, the rhythmic syncopations of drummer Rickard Stjernquist, and the infectiously stellar leads of guitarist Chris Broderick speak to a familiarity bordering on the familial and sets a standard for the intuitive levels of communication between band members eager to create a testimony of their in-studio and on-stage chemistry.

Old school fans say they’ve been waiting for JAG PANZER to return to the reputation of their highly acclaimed cult-classic debut Ample Destruction. Taking the challenge to heart, Mechanized Warfare proudly frees them from this expectation, and proves they have retained the integrity of conviction that launched them over fifteen years ago.

An epic statement that respectfully pays tribute to their roots and clearly prophesizes all that is still ahead of them, Mechanized Warfare continues the momentum gained from all the years of their studio and touring experiences in the metal scene. It speaks boldly to the act of embracing two decades’ worth of struggle and achievement, the art of reconstructing it, and the finesse of transforming it into a mythological creature worthy of legendary status.
 






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