Fusion, Instrumental, Jazzy, Technical
"Panzerballett mixes improvised jazz rock and heavy metal in "Planet Z", a dense and technical album reserved for an informed public."
CORTO1809 (01.02.2021)  
(0) opinions from our readers (2) comment(s)

To say that Panzerballett's last album did not excite the editors of Music Waves is the most audacious understatement. In 2017, the Germans gave us a very special Christmas album of carols, "X-mas Death Jazz". And yet, Panzerballett, or more exactly Jan Zehrfeld who remained alone at the helm of the band  (hence the Z of the title?), seems to have returned to a style that has been more successful in the past. We find this unlikely mix of heavy metal and free jazz that has often been compared to the music of the Swedes of Meshuggah. All tracks have a background of heavy guitar riffs, a cavernous bass and drums bursting with energy.

The plural associated with the word "drums" in the previous sentence is not innocent: the great innovation of this album lies in the place left to the six experienced drummers who officiate on the nine tracks of the album. In other words, the instrument plays a predominant role and, far from simply marking the tempo in a repetitive way, the drummers indulge in a mini-battle to crown the one that has chained together the most complex patterns.

Within this festival, the guitars are slightly set back, allowing themselves few solos. Keyboards are sometimes present (a little piano on 'No One Is Flying The Plane', a wild synth solo on 'Alle Meine Ändchen') while vocals are totally absent. It is the brass instruments, and especially the saxophones, that take the lion's share of the attention by dominating the bubbling magma installed by the trio guitar/bass/drums of their improvisations oscillating between free jazz and RIO.

You guessed it, listening to "Planet Z" is not a restful journey. The density of the music requires the listener's attention, which, over time, ends up causing a certain fatigue, especially since the album offers very few breaths. There is no structured melody to get your bearings, the lines played by the brass and guitars being totally elusive and often dissonant. Apart from Meshuggah already mentioned, other references that come to mind are King Crimson in what he did most aggressive and dissonant ('Coconut', the track nevertheless the most 'dancing') or Art Zoyd ('No One Is Flying The Plane' for its urgency and darkness).

If Panzerballett has lost none of his humor, as the ironic title 'Who The Jack Is Migger?', the iconoclastic cover of Richard Wagner's Walkyries Ride ('Walkürenritt') or the rhythm of 'S.O.S.' built on the Morse code of the same name (...---....) prove, his music is nevertheless addressed to an informed public eager for polyrhythms and improvisations.

More informations on

01. Prime Time (05:23)
02. Who the Jack Is Migger (06:37)
03. Mind Your Head (03:34)
04. No One Is Flying the Plane (07:08)
05. Walkürenritt (02:43)
06. Urchin vs. Octopus (06:20)
07. Alle meine ändchen (05:50)
08. Coconut (06:32)
09. Sos (07:05)

Jan Zehrfeld : Guitares / Basse
Andy Lind: Invité / Batterie (7)
Anton Davidyants: Invité / Basse (1,4)
Florian Fennes: Invité / Saxophone (1,3,5,7)
Georg Gratzer: Invité / Saxophone (9)
Gergo Borlai: Invité / Batterie (4,6,9)
Hannes Grossmann: Invité / Batterie (5)
Jan Eschke: Invité / Piano (4) / Synthé (7)
Joe Doblhofer: Invité / Guitare (2)
Larry Munoz: Invité / Saxophone (4)
Marco Minnemann: Invité / Batterie (2,8)
Mark Oates: Invité / Trompette (4)
Michael Lutzeier: Invité / Saxophone (4)
Morgan Ågren: Invité / Batterie (3)
Sam Greenfield: Invité / Saxophone (2,8)
Virgil Donati: Invité / Batterie (1)
Wolf Wolff: Invité / Voix (4)
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(2) COMMENT(S)    
Le rythme d'introduction du titre est une pure folie, digne de Dream Theater sur The Mirror. J'aime ce mélange en guitare puissantes et influences jazz.
Le truc inécoutable pour le commun des mortels !
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2.7/5 (3 view(s))
DURBIN: The Beast Awakens (2021)
HEAVY METAL - "The Beast Awakens" is an excellent album reviving the heavy metal of the 80s. Durbin organizes a party to the glory of Dio, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
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A.O.R. - "Our Glass House" repeats a flawless recipe but lacks too many spices to prevent Unruly Child from plunging into the second division of the genre.
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