Perzonal War – The Last Sunset (Metalville)Sunday, 19th July 2015
If you like your thrash served up from the Bay Area kitchen, filled with crunchy guitars spitting out thick, meaty riffs with plenty of bite and strong melodic vocals, then look no further than Perzonal War. Having formed nearly 20 years ago in 1996 as a collaboration between singer and guitarist Matthias Zimmer and drummer Martin Buchwalter under the moniker Personal War, the band from Troisdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany had to undergo a slight name change to Perzonal War in 2002 due to legal reasons. For many years, the band fought its way through the German underground scene to eventually land spots on a number of festivals, as it honed its unique thrash attack.
With latest offering The Last Sunset, the band’s eighth full-length album, the riffs may be fast and heavy (see “30 Years” for some especially pummeling guitars), quickly locking into a groove and hammering away, but Zimmer’s vocal delivery is a far cry from the throaty rasps of Bay Area veterans such as Chuck Billy or Steve “Zetro” Souza. Zimmer opts for a much cleaner delivery, more in line with John Bush, and while it may not exhibit the sneer of a Dave Mustaine, his vocals are still powerful and full of confidence. Just listen to him belt out “I am a Metalizer” on “Metalizer” to see what a commanding presence he brings to the fore, or check out his performance on “Never Look Back,” which slows the pace in the verses and shifts to a mid-paced rocker when the chorus hits.
While the vocals carry more of a power metal flavor, the riffs and solos doled out by Zimmer and fellow six-string partner in crime Andreas Ballnus are full on thrash. With “Salvation” and “Speed of Time,” the album boasts a one-two punch right out of the gate that will sufficiently wreck your neck. Bassist Bjorn Kluth adds plenty of heft to the proceedings, and Buchwalter definitely puts his body through the paces bashing the skins (see his punishing intro on the title track).
For the most part, Perzonal War delivers no frills, heads-down, straight up thrash punctuated by catchy, infectious choruses and a powerful clean vocal delivery, but it throws in just enough curve balls, such as the slow and brooding, almost doom-y “When Faith Has Gone Forever,” to still keep things fresh. Clocking in at 43:13 and possessing a sharp production; The Last Sunset gets in and out, setting heads banging and horns flying with relative ease.