American power metal band, Jag Panzer have been around since 1981, originally they were known as Tyrant, but as there was another group in circulation with that name they switched to Jag Panzer, after a German WW11 Tank – The Jagdpanzer.
The band are due to release their 11th album in June, The Hallowed, and as their short documentary, Tales from The Hallowed, shows, they went for a different approach to normal.
This is a real concept album that is explained in the documentary as a post-apocalyptic tale of a group of survivors and their animals.
“The journey is frightening, dangerous and menacing and includes encounters with monstrous creatures known as The Jag and The Swarm.” Very early 200s style animation accompanies the description of the concept, and we are then drawn into the real world of the studio and interviews with the various band members.
Things become a little Spinal Tap when drummer Rikard Stjernquist reveals his epiphany following a dream, “What if we told this story from the perspective of a dog, or a wolf or an animal.”
I do find this fantasy side of Metal a little hard to take seriously, to be fair, and this is made even trickier by the fact that despite the snarly publicity shots of the band, gurning into the camera, all dark shades and double denim, they come across as a genuinely kind and gentle bunch. A common factor across many heavier bands.
What is refreshing is that over the 40-plus years of their reign, they appear to be doing what they do out of sheer enjoyment and brotherhood. Guitarist Mark Briody talks about wanting to give away freebies to fans at gigs, and they still seem genuinely excited about going into the studio.
The doc also sees the production of a comic book, seen through the perspective of humans, in contrast to the animal POV of the album. The fact that they are happy to just draw even financially on this venture also shows a great appreciation for the fans and a yearning to give them what they want.
A talking gift card does push the limits of credibility a little and is reminiscent of an excellent episode of Flight of the Concords, but if it makes their fans happy, then what the hell.
This is an entertaining 15 minutes for fans of the band and a fascinating insight into how contemporary marketing is affecting the world of Metal.
Tales From The Hallowed is on YouTube now here: https://youtu.be/5XosmldPE_U.
Producer: Jag Panzer
Starring: Jag Panzer
Production Company: Atomic Fire Records
Distributed by: Atomic Fire Records
Release Date: March 31, 2023
Run Time: 14:26