Some of you may recall the interview I did with the legend that is Schmier from Destruction when they played here in Glasgow in October (check it out if you haven’t already!). We spent a little time discussing his new project featuring Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann from Accept – Panzer. I believe I said to him that I would review the album when it came out as well as review them (and potentially interview them) live at a gig should Panzer come to Scotland. So I’m keeping to my word like I said to Schmier – so here it is:
Send Them All to Hell!
As far as I’m aware the album is only available as a CD and a digital download, though it is possible that there could be a vinyl release since vinyl is becoming popular again. It would be awesome if there was a vinyl release so you could hold up the album and stare at the monster that is the album artwork. Naturally being the band’s name, there wouldn’t be any better way to introduce themselves than presenting a giant Panzer tank heading at full speed in your direction leaving nothing but death and destruction in its wake. The artwork could be viewed as a statement of intent, with the band promising to flatten your face and explode your ears with so good old-fashioned heavy effin metal.
They certainly deliver on that promise, that’s for sure.
- The Songs
- Death Knell
- Hail and Kill
- Temple of Doom
- Mr Nobrain
- Virtual Collision
- Roll the Dice
- Bleed For Your Sins
The album certainly opens with a stormer that’s for sure. “Death Knell” contains a lot of riffs showcasing the variety of old-skool influences that Panzer have which is further demonstrated throughout the remainder of the album. There’s more modern mid-paced thrash ideas such as the main verse riff (which reminds me of modern Destruction or Megadeth) combined with some melodic ideas straight from the NWOBHM days. This is also shown through the tasteful bluesy soloing. Panzer deliver straight-up, no BS metal straight from the 80s but with a more modern approach. Much like what Frank and Schwarzmann are doing in Accept these days. “Death Knell” is definitely a great opener setting up the listener for what’s to come – it’s certainly a highlight of the album.
Next up, “Hail and Kill” is a little slower but still charges on at a driving pace. The riffs are a little moodier and remind me of some of the slower modern Sodom songs from the M-16 days. The more melodic ideas come a little more to the forefront in “Hail and Kill”, expressed in the vocal ideas over the pre-chorus arpeggios. Track 3, “Temple of Doom”, picks up the pace and brings the thrashier ideas to prominence. The riffs are pure NWOBHM and are reminiscent of Motorhead and AngelWitch, the latter reflected in the catchy and melodic chorus riff.
Following “Temple of Doom” is the band’s title song – “Panzer”. This is certainly the most original sounding song to me. It charges on at more driving walking pace, like that of the album cover’s monstrous tank on the warpath. The song beings with the guitars repeating a high note as if to signal danger via a warning alarm before thundering into more moodier territory, more so than “Hail and Kill”. There are more arpeggios adding to the darker feel presented by the song, in addition to the heightened use of more chromatic and discordant ideas. The tempo changes into more slower doomier territory like that of the pre-chorus riff also work well to enhance this effect before going back into the straight up steamrolling pace of the Panzer on the warpath.
At the halfway point through Send Them All to Hell, the band speeds up again with “Freakshow”. The guitars are more punky and straight to the point. There is definite Motorhead worship showcased in “Freakshow” with the punk riffing and bluesy soloing. This song wouldn’t at all sound out of place on classic albums like Overkill or Ace of Spades if it wasn’t for the modern production. It’s certainly a headbanger and will definitely go down well live. “Mr Nobrain” again returns to more thrashy territory and the verse riff sounds like it easily could have been from a modern Destruction album. This is then juxtaposed, very well in my opinion and to great effect, with a catchy chorus riff and a great singalong refrain with “I don’t believe in what you say!”. The vocal melody is also used to great effect in the middle of the more shredding solo which definitely showcases Herman Frank’s ability as a great lead guitarist.
Following “Mr Nobrain” comes “Why?”. This track could be considered the most experimental on the album through it’s use of synth strings in the back ground behind the main riff, as well as the use of slightly more exotic percussion in the mid section, more varied vocal techniques in places, and the variety of tempo changes. The tempo in general is back in slower moody territory which works well with the more thoughtful lyrics. However there is just something I can’t quite put my finger on that’s not sitting right with me about this song. Maybe it drags on a bit and feels rather overlong (even though it’s a pretty average song length to me) due to the slow tempo. It could be one of the best songs on the album but maybe it’s just me and my taste. It’s not a bad song (and is in no way at all detrimental to the album), it’s maybe just not my cup of tea.
Next up we’re back in faster territory with “Virtual Collision” which again has some cool modern thrash ideas which, like “Mr Nobrain”, wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Destruction’s modern albums. It keeps up the pace and has some nice catchy riffs some nice harmonised ideas throughout the song. It’s definitely a headbanger and will definitely go down well live with it’s speed and shout-along chorus. “Roll the Dice” is the penultimate cut on Send Them All to Hell and returns to a more mid-paced vibe with moodier melodic ideas like in “Hail and Kill” and “Why?”. The riffs are a lot simpler and there’s some nice tasteful melodies in places, however in my opinion it seems to suffer the same problem as “Why?” for me. It’s a cool song but I suppose again for me it just drags on a little and feels a bit long (again like, “Why?” its a pretty average song length). I just don’t really get the feeling from it that I get from “Death Knell”, “Panzer” or “Mr Nobrain”. Again I guess it’s just not my cup of tea, but as I said with “Why?”, “Roll the Dice” is in no way detrimental to the album – it’s a good song, just not my preference.
The album ends with “Bleed for Your Sins”. This is definitely more up my street, picking up the pace with more thrashy ideas. A lot of the riffs are very reminiscent of early 90s Megadeth to me, which isn’t a bad thing. The song is definitely a good rager for live shows and has some catchy refrains and shout-along lyrics. It ends the album perfectly with a good energy.
There’s not much I can say about the production to be honest. I’ve not had my production head on for a while since I left uni but I can give a general overview. Overall, Send Them All to Hell benefits from a very modern production. I can’t really fault it to be honest. All of the instruments can be heard and cut through the mix nicely. The guitars are nice and crunchy and are prominent in the mix, the bass rumbles beneath them bringing the heaviness to the old-skool sound. All of the elements of the drumkit can be heard nicely in terms of localisation and there is nothing overly dominant which can often be problems with drum production. There’s also a nice reverb on the toms which is always a nice touch in my opinion – it gives a sense of roominess which I always like. The kick features the common practice of blending trigger techniques and the natural sound of the kick in the studio. During slower passages this works well in achieving the desired effect of being punchy yet defined, however in faster double-kick passages (like in the vast majority of heavy metal productions for the past 20 years) the boominess of the natural kick sound disappears in favour of the clicky triggered sound. It’s the norm as far as drum productions go and I suppose it’d be difficult to get the perfect effect however it’s just my taste and I’ll always find this problem with kick drums. Best I get my recording and mixing head back on and try and find a way to get my ideal kick sound myself instead of judging others who are better than me!
As with the vocals, they also sit quite nicely in the mix with Schmier’s lead sitting well with the guitars and the backup vocals behind his lead complimenting it.
Everything about the production seems to work and each element is complimentary to each other. Pounding yet clear drums, rumbling bass and crunchy guitars with the vocals and lead guitars sitting right in the centre of the mix. Just what you would want in a production.
Send Them All to Hell by Panzer is just what you would want from a modern heavy metal album. Its straightforward, no-nonsense, in your face metal. Modern and crunchy with plenty of old-skool influence but maintaining a sense of originality. It’s catchy with plenty of sing/shout-along lyrics and has a good mix of energetic headbanging mosh-pit starters and more moody material in places. It’s a good solid album with no bad songs or filler. Yes there’s a few songs that aren’t really to my taste but that doesn’t mean they’re not good and hell, they’ll probably grow on me. Send Them All to Hell is definitely worth picking up (I believe it’s available in the UK and Europe at the moment, I’m not sure if it’s available worldwide yet) and giving plenty of spins. If you like classic metal in a more modern style with plenty of thrashy ideas such as albums from the past 15 years from bands like Destruction and Accept (naturally due to their members being in Panzer), Helloween, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, AngelWitch, Hell, Overkill, Saxon and Motorhead, I’m confident you’ll love Send Them All to Hell.
I very much look forward to hopefully seeing Panzer on tour and hopefully The Moshville Times can catch up with Schmier and co again in the future and see how things are getting on.
Highlights: “Death Knell”, “Temple of Doom”, “Panzer”, “Mr Nobrain” and “Bleed for Your Sins”.
Overall Score: 8/10