Panzer – Send Them All to Hell (Nuclear Blast)Tuesday, 2nd December 2014
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.