Sunday, September 24, 2017

Iron Shadows

Mark Briody
Guitarist, Producer and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Muthas, believe it or not, Mark Briody of the mighty Jag Panzer graciously agreed to be interviewed about one of his favorite musical genres - NWOBHM - and a bit about its influence on his band. Enjoy!

MBOM: Mark, first of all thanks for doing this interview! I'm sure things are busy for you because Jag Panzer has a new album coming out 9/29/17 entitled The Deviant Chord. What can you tell us about the new album? What else is going on in your world?

Mark: Yep, it's coming out on Sept 29, 2017 on SPV/Steamhammer. I'm very proud of it. We're looking at tour offers now, so we hope to hit the road soon.

MBOM: I know that you are big fan of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Were there any particular NWOBHM bands that influenced you and Jag Panzer in the early days?

Mark: I bought everything I could get my hands on during the NWOBHM era. The bands that made the biggest impact on me were Angel Witch and Witchfynde. The Angel Witch album was perfect and it made me love the NWOBHM movement because I found the Angel Witch to be just as good as the Iron Maiden debut despite the success difference between the two bands. Iron Maiden were getting huge press and had a major deal while Angel Witch were on a tiny label I never heard of. That showed me that the NWOBHM scene was all about great music and not really major label dollars. What I loved about Witchfynde was that their album Stagefright had an incredible amount of variety on it. They had everything from doom (title track) to pop ("Big Deal") to straight up British metal ("Trick or Treat"). That album showed me that the NWOBHM movement was open to all style of good metal.

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Mark: Wild Cat from Tygers of Pan Tang was my first NWOBHM album. I was hooked right away! After buying that I picked up a copy of Brian Slagel's magazine New Heavy Metal Review. That magazine exposed me to a lot of great bands.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single? 

Mark: For me it was the early Def Leppard single of Wasted / Hello America. It wasn't musically my favorite, but that early version of "Hello America" really inspired me. We (early incarnation of Jag Panzer) started recording as teenagers just as Def Leppard did. Demos at that age can be hit and miss. The version of "Hello America" as compared to the album version showed me how much a young band can progress in a short time. It was inspiring.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Mark: I'd have to go with Stagefright by Witchfynde. The songwriting on it is outstanding. Plus the cover lots of ground musically with that release. That album has been in my regular rotation since then.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Mark: I'll go with The Friday Rock Show because of the bonus Witchfynde track "Belfast." It's a great song, lots of emotion. Worth the price of the album just for that one song.

MBOM: What's your favorite retrospective NWOBHM compilation released in 90s to today?

Mark: I have never bought a retrospective compilation album. The track lists just never seemed to make sense to me. I suppose that everyone has their own unique experience with the NWOBHM and my experience just isn't in line with any compilation I've seen.

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Mark: They're both great, but I have to go with Angel Witch. Both have equally great songs, but I don't hear many weak spots on Angel Witch whereas there are a few spots (very few) on the Maiden debut that didn't blow me away.

Photo Credit:
MBOM: Which Brian Ross band do you like more - Satan, Blitzkrieg or Avenger?

Mark: Satan all the way.

MBOM: Was Motörhead a NWOBHM band or were they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Mark: Motörhead are not part of the NWOBHM in my opinion. Lemmy already had a foothold in the music scene via his time in Hawkwind. The NWOBHM was about fostering all the new metal talent across the UK. Lemmy was already established.

MBOM: Who's your greasiest favorite - Tank, Venom or Warfare?

Mark: I get lots of ack for this, but I'm not much of a fan of any of them. Venom were huge with a massive underground fanbase, but their music just didn't click with me.

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.

Mark: I think any NWOBHM intro should include the early efforts from Maiden and Def Leppard - so The Soundhouse Tapes and the Bludgeon Riffola songs. This would give the new listener some reference as to how the scene sounded with these mega bands. Then the entire Angel Witch debut. Then lots of individual tracks - "Stagefright" and "Trick or Treat" from Witchfynde. "Spellbound" from Tygers. Anything on DeathPenalty from Witchfinder General. Mythra Death and Destiny would be cool. Anything from Legend Death in the Nursery. And of course the Diamond Head classics that Metallica later covered.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band do you wish had been more successful/well known?

Mark: I thought Witchfynde had some of the best songwriting. Montalo (guitarist) also had a very unique approach to metal guitar playing. Listen to the title track from Stagefright, he's done some very different chord structures.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Mark: Mythra. I am not familar with the others.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Mark: Although we got a full length many many years later, I'm still going with Mythra. The e.p was brilliant.

MBOM: Are there any recent albums by old NWOBHM bands that you can recommend?

Mark: That new Tygersof Pan Tang is outstanding. I was a big Jon Deveril fan (vocalist on Spellbound) so I was a bit skeptical. My fears went aside after a few seconds of hearing the new album. It's great.

MBOM: Mark, judging by some of your Facebook posts, you've got a huge collection of Jag Panzer material. Do you have any cool NWOBHM rarities/collectibles?

Mark: I have original print vinyl of Angel Witch, Witchfynde, etc. Nothing too rare or in mint shape (they were all played to death). I've got some Maiden 12" singles too. Much of my record collection was stolen from a warehouse in '83.

MBOM: Is there a particular NWOBHM rarity that you'd like to have in your collection?

Mark: I always wanted a copy of The Soundhouse Tapes. I've seen it before and even held it in my hands. I could never afford a real copy though.

MBOM: I know you are involved with the art direction and cover art for Jag Panzer. Are there any NWOBHM releases that you think have great art, and are there any that you think have art that's "so bad it's good?"

Mark: Demon's Night of the Demon has fantastic art! Love the green and the creepy look to the whole cover. I can't think of one that's 'so bad it's good'. Now there are some American bands that followed the NWOBHM with covers like that, but overall I like all the art in the NWOBHM.

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM and Jag Panzer! Any last words or anything else to add?

Mark: All metal fans should explore the NWOBHM. You may have heard a Diamond Head song or two (which is cool) but there is so much more to the scene than that.


Muthas, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Mark Briody and it inspires you to get out there and listen to some more NWOBHM! 


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