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Panzerballett - Panzerballett CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 29 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Very Enjoyable Modern Jazz Fusion

Panzerballett's self titled debut album is a mixture of funk, jazz, rock, and even a little bit of metal. The music is lively and fun, a great example of modern fusion. Hailing from Germany, the band uses sax, bass, guitar, and drums to make a nice stew of delicious instrumental music. Band leader Jan Zehrfeld plays the guitar very tastefully in a variety of styles, and his compositional skills are very good. He's not a shredder and in fact the band's biggest weakness is when he tries. (Everything is meticulously tight, but his speed runs sound forced and very basically scalar, a departure from the interesting note choice found in the composed elements).

Even though this project is really one man and the band he assembled to perform and record his material, the strength of the recording really lies in the ensemble itself. As mentioned, they are very tight and the various parts compliment very well. The combo lead voice of sax and distorted guitar is certainly not unique, but works very well here, especially given the heavy genres from which Zehrfeld draws for his guitar parts. Jan cites Meshuggah, Planet X, and a host of tech juggernauts as influences. This seems exceedingly odd, because this is only moderately technical music. There IS a great sense of syncopation which instead of giving the mathematical sensibility of the previously mentioned groups, adds (gasp!!!) GROOVE. In fact, the sense of humor, fun, and funk remind me more of Mr. Bungle (especially their lounge-y side) than Meshuggah.

I, for one, have been on an ongoing search for jazz-metal fusion where the jazz comes first and the metal second. Panzerballet is probably only the 2nd band I've found that has successfully accomplished this, the first one being the vastly superior Ohm. I would estimate that Zehrfeld's compositional skills match Ohm's, but that the individual players are light years behind Chris Poland's combo. I would also offer that Panzerballett has a much younger, light-hearted funky attitude than the veterans of Ohm, and that there are times that PB's sound is just what I'm needing.

I have no trouble recommending this disc to anyone, and there's not that many bands out there making this kind of music (jazz-metal fusion). At the same time, there is absolutely nothing here that hasn't been done before, and nothing about the individual playing that is beyond what you can find in any major city's local scene. It's a 6-7/10 album that translates to a good but non-essential work here.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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