Released: 2002, A Jag Panzer Production
Jag Panzer is perhaps the first heavy metal band to release a DVD themselves. That means no record company or outside entity did this DVD, the band themselves did it!! In a recent interview online at jagpanzer.com, guitarist Mark Briody had this to say about the band doing the DVD: “Yes, the 'dumb' metalheads have figured out bitrate calculations, field rendering order, non-linear editing, green screens and all the other fun things that come with producing professional video content. It was a lot of work producing the DVD, but I had a great time doing it and it was a good learning experience.” For their effort alone I’d love to give this DVD a 5/5. But I’ll judge this on the content and not on the way in which it was produced.
When the DVD kicks in you are treated to a snow capped mountain flyover with the band members’ names coming up on the screen. If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were about to watch a fantasy/adventure movie, not a heavy metal DVD! All the menu screens have the same professional movie look to them with the Colorado Rockies (in Jag Panzer’s home state) providing the backdrops.
The DVD has three main sections: the videos, the bootleg live gig, and the interviews/special features. The videos are for “Take to the Sky”, “The Silent”, “Cold is the Blade”, “King at a Price” and “Iron Eagle.” Of all the videos my favorite was “Take To The Sky.” It was filmed on one of the highest mountains in North America located in Colorado. The only thing missing from the video is some fighter jets taking to the sky or soaring over the mountains ten miles high! That would have cost a pretty penny,though, I'm sure! Since I don’t live anywhere near where bands like Jag Panzer play, getting to see the members in video is a treat. The video for “The Silent” is similar to that of “King At A Price” because in both vocalist Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin is separated from the band while the band do the “play along with the song” deal. In “The Silent” Harry is locked away and tied up in a cellar while in “King At A Price” he’s brooding over an ancient map with a trusty axe on the table with him. . .hehe. . .he should have gone mental and chopped the table to pieces I think :-) Again, Mark from the band produced 4 of the 5 videos on here (Nate Lind did “Take To The Sky”). The last video is the only one that wasn’t as high quality as the others. It’s for the excellent song “Iron Eagle.” The live footage looks like it was filmed at Wacken Open Air or something. They take that and put it to the song.
The next big feature on the DVD is the live bootleg footage. It was filmed at Z7 in Switzerland in 2001. I know it’s a bootleg, I know I shouldn’t expect much from a bootleg. . .but man, I was really hoping for something better here. I’ve seen many bootlegs where you can at least make out who is who in the band. This is not the case here. This is one of those bootlegs filmed from way back from a tripod. There is no zooming in on members, no panning--just an unattended camera. They should have had one of their friends get up front in the photo pit and videotape them! I would have preferred that to what we have here. In terms of sound, it is above average (but not perfect) for a bootleg--that is why I was able to watch the thing and enjoy it to some degree. Next time I have this part of the DVD on, I think I won’t be paying attention to the video. It’s more something to listen to than to watch!
Lastly on the DVD is the “Special Features” section, which is mostly made up of an interview. This was done very well as we get to see the members of the band (strangely, lead guitar god Chris Broderick isn’t there!!) in a casual back yard setting chatting about the band’s early history, first gigs, etc. This could have gone on for another 30 minutes and I wouldn’t have gotten bored! There is a small “making of” feature for the “Take To The Sky” video with the highlight being the GOATS. They should of used them in the video--all hail the goat!!! The last item to mention is the studio outtakes of guitarist Chris Broderick recording his lead guitar parts (and in one case classical guitar part!!). Seeing him playing the solos without the music playing is the type of thing that makes the guitar player in me want to quit! Ha! Chris can really rip it up on the guitar and more people should be aware of the immense talent this guy possesses!!! My only complaint about this is I wanted to see MORE!!!!!!
In closing, it’s too bad they didn’t have a mini-documentary of the recording of the MECHANIZED WARFARE album showing studio recording sessions for all the band members. But hey, I’ll take what I can get here, even if it is a tease! If you are a fan of Jag Panzer then you have to own this DVD. For now, the Jag Panzer DVD is available in North America and can be ordered by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Band Website: http://www.jagpanzer.com