Panzer – Send Them All to Hell (Nuclear Blast)

Tuesday, 2nd December 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

German metal musicians seem to have this mutual respect and comradery that has allowed the scene to survive trends or economic woes that turn up elsewhere; guesting on albums, performing at festival shows together, and unafraid of boosting profiles. Panzer on the surface may seem like a new power trio from Germany – which in name alone may be true – but we know the players very well if you are a student of metal history. Vocalist/bassist Schmier still holds court in the legendary thrash band Destruction; guitarist Herman Frank displays his flying V skills in Accept and Victory; and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann bashes the skins in similar duties for the ‘balls to the wall’ crew.

You never know what you’ll get when veterans decide to create another band – but after multiple playback sessions the debut record Send Them All to Hell has more of a classic/power template that puts these 10 songs in a more aggressive slant than Accept, but definitely more melodic than Destruction. The guitar salvos throw down all the speed licks, taps, twin harmonic layers and squeals in the book – Herman Frank giving consumers a clinic on Heavy Metal 101 excitement throughout “Death Knell” and militant mid-tempo oriented “Virtual Collision”. Panzer shift gears impeccably – taking a page from the Accept ‘large riff hook’ manual on “Hail and Kill”, while reaching into possibly part of their youthful punk-like roots on “Freakshow”.

Stefan is steady in his basic patterns, keeping the grooves powerful and not giving the listener incessant double bass action – which is welcome to establish distinction all up and down these tracks. He creates explosive fills and lays into a solid snare snap during “Temple of Doom”, and conversely can cut things into quarter time, almost doom measures on the exotic, epic-like “Roll the Dice” that again levels the competition because of a weighty main Frank riff and Schmier’s one of a kind acidic vocal verbage.

I’m reluctant to place any particular ‘this sounds like..’ tag on the record – it’s very heavy, should appease those who love Herman Frank’s guitar style, and possibly reminds me of early Primal Fear if given more of a classic, early US 80’s power makeover. While we wonder if this is merely a ‘one-off’ or possibly a side project that could potentially record more around their main band schedules, just know that Send Them All to Hell crushes like the skull-tank adorning this cover.

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