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Panzerballett - Starke Stücke CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 58 ratings

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4 stars Metal up your... jazz! Again!

STARKE STUCKE is the second album from the German jazz/fusion-metallers. Contrary to their debut which consisted only of their own compositions, this time they have included 6 'covers' of classic tunes; and I put the word in apostrophes because most of those covers have very little to do with the originals. The main theme of each original track is apparent but, in general, PANZERBALLETT pick the tunes up and transform them into metal jazz themes of their own...

The album contains 4 completely new compositions (all done by mastermind Jan Zehrfeld like before) which resemble to the band's debut work; jazz/fusion saxophone tunes co-exist with heavy-thrash guitars to create an attractive musical outcome. This time, the tracks are relatively shorter, more concise which subsequently makes this album more 'listenable' than the debut. My favourite of their own compositions is M.w.M.i.O.f.R, consisting of crazy, speedy fusion rhythms and heavy slow guitar riffs in the vein of Machine Head, Mastodon etc while the ending reminds the best Meshuggah moments. The only vocal-based track is Zickenterror; a berserk song with abrupt breaks and vocals (male and female) sung in the most bizarre fashion - I believe this could have been a Fantomas song or something similar.

Another small deviation from the debut is that the ratio of metal:jazz here is much higher. More and more metal-influenced guitar riffs have taken over and I don't blame Dick Heath for singling out Friede, Freude, Fußball - probably the 'jazziest' track. From the cover songs the band has selected I am not familiar with Birdland but I can guess it is well transformed from its original version along with the others.

With the exception of the Scorpions and Sabbath tunes, all the other covers are performed in the most lively and energetic way that uplifts the tracks in a different dimension. The former are executed in a more 'lounge-jazz' style with no snappy intervals and major surprises but with excellent melodies. Pink Panther and Thunderstruck are in my opinion the most successful 'transformations' from the prototypes, embodying various heavy guitar riffs.

You have probably understood by now that this has been a (more than just) satisfying and enjoyable experience to me. Overall, STARKE STUCKE sounds more mature, concise and FUN (!) than the band's debut and I would not hesitate to recommend it to tech/prog metal fans and jazz lovers. The PANZERS are back with a shout!

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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