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PANZERBALLETT

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany


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Panzerballett biography
Founded in Munich, Germany in 2004

Guitarist Jan Zehrfeld is the founder of this German fusion based band. In 2004 he concluded a couple of years search for skilled musicians to play his compositions. The starting point was a quartet of saxophone, guitar, bass and drums. They then rehearsed for half a year and started performing live. In 2005 they released their first s/t album. This albums features Zehrfeld on guitar, Gregor Bürger on tenor saxophone, Flo Schmidt on bass and Max Bucher on drums. In 2006 another guitarist, Andreas Dombert, was added to the lineup. A new Austrian drummer, Sebastian Lanser, has also joined in recently.

Music:
Jan says that at first his vision was a mix between Planet X and Tribal Tech, but he replaced the keyboardist with saxophones, as he did find any keyboards player. When asked for direct musical influces he mentions Meshuggah, Mats/Morgan, Dillinger Escape Plan, Screaming Headless Torsos, and Allan Holdsworth.
Their music as Jan says, while being fusion based has various facets to it, some of it derived from funk and metal. This diverse sound is in part due to the fact that each band member comes from a somewhat different background and has an affinity for different musical types. Another reason that Jan mentions is the experimentation with guitar sounds to cover up the fact that there are no keyboards and yet he wants spacey elements in his music.
His vision of their future path includes further evolving in this current direction of fusing styles, and bringing in more metal and jazz elements. To quote his words: ".combing latin-jazz with grindcore, hard-bop with death metal, or disco-funk with hardcore".

Jan is the leader of this group and this shows also in how compositions are done. Using his computer to record his ideas, he goes on composing the theme and then writes each of the individual parts and hands it to his band mates. Then all is left is to rehearse it.

The recording for the second album will begin in May 2007 and the songs are already composed.

As for the band name, Jan's message is:
"Anyone misunderstanding or drawing a possibly wrong conclusion from our band name: We are absolute pacifists!".

Source for this bio:
http://www.panzerballett.de
http://www.nucleusprog.com/ingles/r-panzerballett.htm

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

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PANZERBALLETT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PANZERBALLETT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 32 ratings
Panzerballett
2005
4.13 | 52 ratings
Starke Stücke
2008
4.23 | 37 ratings
Hart Genossen Von ABBA Bis Zappa
2009
4.10 | 22 ratings
Tank Goodness
2012
4.07 | 19 ratings
Breaking Brain
2015
4.00 | 8 ratings
X-Mas Death Jazz
2017
4.34 | 21 ratings
Planet Z
2020

PANZERBALLETT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PANZERBALLETT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Live at Backstage Munich
2007

PANZERBALLETT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PANZERBALLETT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PANZERBALLETT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Planet Z by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.34 | 21 ratings

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Planet Z
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by mental_hygiene

4 stars Planet Z is the new album by the German "jazz metal" "quintet" Panzerballett. I say "quintet" because a key part of this album's sound is the sheer amount and diversity of guest drummers. If you're in any way familiar with prog drummers, all of them are big names. I was certainly excited to hear Marco Minneman and Virgil Donati's contributions. Jazz metal, in all its relative obscurity, is a genre with a lot of big names and thusly high stakes. Where this album holds strong is in its intense arrangements. One of my struggles with jazz metal is the prevalence of aimless shredding, and I think the emphasis on arrangement over chops is very clear on this album. It borders avant-prog at some points due to the intensity and fragmented nature of the guitars.

Prime Time starts this album out with a nice chunk of chaos. This is, of course, the track with Donati joining in on drums. I find this track to be really scatterbrained and math-y, and it's a pro and a con. If you're in the mood for rhythmic intensity, this album and especially this song hits the spot. Who the Jack is Migger is one of my favorite cuts from this. At its most intense, it quite reminds me of some of the jazzier tech-death out there (such as Cynic). I love the way the arrangements allow for smooth excursions into funk, and even a Rolling Stones quote in the guitar solo. There's a lot of clear chemistry within the band, and a much clearer "form" that they're working from. Following this is Mind Your Head, one of the djentier tracks, and a short burst of intensity.

My other standout track is No One is Flying the Plane. Quite a funny title, and the humor works alongside the playfulness of the music. The horn arrangements on this track are quite nice as well, creating a lot of dissonances that I think work well in a jazz-metal context aside from the standard "atonal breakdown guitar". Someone (?) joins in on piano and spices it up before the song implodes into swing jazz. The saxophone, drums, and bass are soloed out for a while before the guitars return and bring in a lot of tension. Walkürenritt is a jazz metal Wagner quote, more evidence of the band's humor (and supposed live reputation, but I'll have to check that out later).

Urchin Vs. Octopus is another really sick track, and has one of my favorite guitar solos on this album. I think this song also speaks to the arranging skill, that the elements of the music are allowed to slow down and speed up against each other. The crossrhythms on this album are particularly apparent on this track, where two clean guitars arpeggiate slowly to harmonize a fast-paced riff. Alle Meine Ändchen incorporates more keys and synthesizer in the sound, including some mellotron-esque strings. It also, like the first track, also borders on avant-prog at times. The synth solo on this track is also pretty awesome.

By the end of the album, they throw in some more interesting tonality in the song Coconut which I feel helps with the flow. It's easy to make jazz metal a gimmic, and Panzerballett being veterans of the genre, they know how to sequence songs that are clearly distinct and enjoyable where it matters. The harmony is a lot stronger on this song, and to me it pushes this album up. SOS concludes Planet Z by quoting, in spectacular fashion, a morse code rhythmic pattern. I doubt that Panzerballett is the first to pull this off. They don't let it rule the song, but incorporate it by sprinkling it within their tight and fast-flowing arrangement plan.

In a genre full of gimmicks and big names, Planet Z stands strong with its offerings. It's diverse enough to be an interesting listen the whole way through, but also not too scatterbrained that it's hard to follow. While this is certainly a lot heavier than, for example, Thank You Scientist or the Aristocrats, I think Panzerballett is fairly accessible. Out of all the new albums on the 2020 Progarchives chart, this is one of the few that actually has a decent amount of listens already on spotify. Taking all this into account, I would consider this album 4 stars. It's thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend it to any fans of jazzier prog metal, djent, fusion, and possibly even to anyone who's interested in modern progressive music.

 Planet Z by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.34 | 21 ratings

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Planet Z
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Grumpyprogfan

4 stars Not for the mild manner prog fan - this is unique, intense, busy, jazz-metal. Seven of the nine songs on "Planet Z" are cover tunes, but you may never know what song it is because of the amazing and zany arrangements. I didn't even bother to find out who the original composer is. Seems that would take away the fun of just listening and enjoying the jams. On this release, Jan Zehrfeld plays all guitars (less one solo) and bass (except two songs). There are six drummers holding the grooves together, and not only do they excel on the song they play but the listening experience is jaw dropping. That is, if you enjoy primo drumming. Add saxophone, and that elevates Panzerballett to another level. A sonic explosion of music and talent you have to hear to believe. There are moments where the music breathes, but for the most part it chugs along. At the moment "Prime Time", "Who the Jack Is Migger", "Urchin vs. Octopus" and "Coconut" stand out, but in reality, there is not one bad song. So, for the musically adventurous, this is a must listen.
 Planet Z by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.34 | 21 ratings

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Planet Z
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars German artist PANZERBALLETT has been an ongoing venture since 2004, with founding member Jan Zehrfeld as the key figure and just about the sole consistent part of the band over the years. New Panzerballett albums have appeared at regular intervals, and their seventh album "Planet Z" was released by German label Gentle Art of Music in the summer of 2020.

Panzerballett will probably be more of a niche band, due to the highly challenging nature of the music they create. But for those who are equally fond of jazz and metal, and who tend to adore music described as challenging and avant garde in nature and spirit, for those I feel rather safe in stating that Panzerballett's latest album is a production that the greater majority will enjoy. The album also strikes me as a good introduction to this type of music for those who find such a description intriguing.

 Breaking Brain by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 19 ratings

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Breaking Brain
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German band PANZERBALLETT can trace their history back to 2004, and from 2006 and onward they have released new material on a fairly regular basis, in addition to being an active live unit. So far five studio albums have been released by the band. "Breaking Brains" is the most recent of those, and was released through the German label Gentle Art of Music in the late fall of 2015.

The music by Panzerballett I have experienced so far indicates that this is a band that is keenly aware of what they are doing, and that they hold a high quality as composers as well as performers. As such the albums I have experienced by them so far are also fairly equal in style and execution. This latest one may perhaps feature few more instances of material with a broader appeal, or at least more sequences where the different aspects of their sound are marginally more separated and less eclectic, but not to the point of deviating all that much from what can be expected in my opinion. It is a quality production, for those, who appreciate and enjoy an instrumental band that maneuvers between tight, quirky progressive metal, jazz-rock and RIO, this CD by Panzerballett is one that warrants an inspection.

 Breaking Brain by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 19 ratings

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Breaking Brain
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Heavy metal instrumental jazz djent, right?! As you listen to this highly aggressive, abrasive, and dissonant music, take into consideration the extraordinary instrumental skills on display here. Also, consider the minds that composed and collectively performed this very difficult instrumental music. Also, don't forget to hear the hidden melodies, flashes of references to past classics, and the humor. In fact, the humorous side of this music for some reason reminds a great deal of the music of the band, FARMERS MARKET--a band of Eastern European expats playing, composing, and recording in Scandinavia--for its quirky, harsh-yet-comedic use of familiar themes and sounds from Eastern European and Middle Eastern classical and folk music traditions. While I have to admit that this music is a little too heavy and abrasive for me to ever give this a lot of airplay, I do not hesitate to recognize and extoll its merit based on compositional skill and instrumental virtuosity. These guys are definitely masters in their field. The amazingly high caliber of musicianship renders this album--and this band--unto a level akin to avant jazz masters Frank ZAPPA, YUGEN, BRUFORD, JEAN LOUIS and PRESENT.

A five star album that I am, unfortunately, marking down for lack of universal appeal and accessibility. It doesn't seem right or fair, but it is my truth: this album is not for everyone. It grows on you, but it is never going to be background kitchen or bedroom music (not that it has to be; it just isn't). Kudos to the band. Amazing performances and amazing music. Just not my cup of tea.

 Tank Goodness by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.10 | 22 ratings

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Tank Goodness
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German band PANZERBALLETT was first assembled in 2004. From 2006 and onwards the various incarnations of the band have released a steady stream of albums. "Tank Goodness" is their fourth full length production, and was released through the German label Gentle Art of Music in September 2012.

Panzerballett is a band that smoothly and with some elegance manages to combine jazz, fusion and metal of a technical and somewhat extreme variety. Mostly instrumental, which is to my mind a good thing, and with plenty of maneuvering space for the instrumentalists to showcase their skills. A very well made specimen of its kind, and a fairly demanding one too, to be enjoyed by those with a taste for music that defies genre conventions and covers multiple and contrasting stylistic expressions.

 Starke Stücke by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.13 | 52 ratings

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Starke Stücke
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars My buddy Martin (Alucard) had warned me of this band a while go, but I must say that I didn't have a chance to investigate PB before, and early this year, I held off until this month of September, because I knew I would see them on the 4th RIO festival in Carmaux. Having seen the concert, I bought their second album immediately after the show. This strange mixture of jazz and metal music is the brainchild of guitarist Jan Zehrfeld, and the results are surprising enough, even though in concert, it came as completely similar to what I expected, although I had never heard a note (at least knowingly) from the band. The two guitar and sax attack is rather predictable once you've actually understood where the band is heading into, especially when the bass gets funky ala Living Colours.

This first album is definitely a first attempt, and is made almost entirely of covers adapted to the then-tentative sound of PB, if you'll except two or three tracks. Among the covers are such diverse songs, as far apart as possible, ranging from the Pink Panther theme and Birdland (the WR hit track) all the way to Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Purple and Scorpions hits. You'll have a hard time recognizing the Pink Panther theme from the original, and indeed sometimes you'll get a piece of the theme to link the Zappa-meets metal lunacy of the adaptation. While the covers are relatively unrecognizable outside the main themes, it still is rather interesting to hear their musical lunacy. They tend to soften (read jazzify) the metal tracks like Winds Of Change, and harden (read metalize) the jazz tracks such as Birdland.

As for the original compositions, they rank from RIO/Avant realm (somewhere between Zappa, 90's Crimson and some 00's Californian prog/Cuneiform groups) to more metallic moments ala Sepultura, RATM and RCHP with some light cookie-monster barfs here and there. Generally it simply sounds way too complex, as if they chose to complicate things for the sake of being difficult to permeate. At times, the music can be fun, but, ultimately, the sheer repetitions of ultra-complex movements are saturating even the experienced ears. Overall, I tend to prefer the group's original composition to the treatment of the covers they chose to metamorphose. Maybe PB's merits lies in the fact that they could lead quite a few metalheads into getting acquainted with jazz idiosyncrasies (but most likely it will be a one- way street), and that attempt alone is very laudable, despite being a tad too obvious for my liking.

While PB's music is certainly one of kind and doesn't really resemble anything you've heard elsewhere, I can't say that I'm overwhelmed by the "formula", because that's pretty well what it sounds like? A chemical formula of a recipe, one that isn't immediately digestible by this aural stomach of mine, one that seems created from apparently un- mixable ingredients, and these don't actually mesh or melt into each other very well, if at all. In concert (at least the one I saw), the group constantly changes from the metal realm to the jazz idiom, but fairly rare are the actual harmonically successful meetings between the two opposite ends of their musical spectrum. And this first attempt does only confirm what I saw in concert. While musically impressive and definitely worth the investigation, I remain unconvinced and, to be honest, a bit under-whelmed.

 Starke Stücke by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.13 | 52 ratings

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Starke Stücke
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tapfret
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams

5 stars Deconstructionist re-evolved Jazzmetal classic-rock/jazz covers

Sub-genre:Jazz/Rock Fusion (Definite fit, but the metal guitars are aggressive enough to live in Tech/Extreme)
For Fans of: Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa
Vocal Style: Varying male & female on only a few songs (German)
Guitar Style: Huge range of styles electric and acoustic.
Keyboard Style: one synth solo
Percussion Style: Heavy butt kickin' metal right down to tasty jazz & funk
Bass Style: Picked electric with huge style range
Other Instruments: Alto & Bari Saxophone
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you don't like cover tunes, particularly if you want your cover tunes to be arranged exactly like the originals... particularly if you want to recognize them at all.

Summary: The outstanding Jazz/Metal Fusion band Panzerballett presents a very skilled and humorous classic rock and jazz cover tunes from the 70's interspersed with a handful of originals to break things up. The covers are rearranged as heavy jazz tunes with profoundly interesting results. Certainly more than a few purists would scream bloody murder at the result of the key change laden version of Smoke on the Water. The song is at least recognizable, unlike their version of AC/DC's Thunderstruck, which if you don't hear the first 5 seconds would sound like an original. Birdland is presented with verve and energy true to the original, with strong modern twist. The clean electric guitar solo version of Paranoid is another filled with key changes not heard in the original. This version is very, very mellow.


The originals on the album are expectantly eclectic and tongue and cheek. Zickenterror, which is a re-arrangement from the debut album stands out as a quirky, punky, funky manic joyride. Overall the album has a very strong metal element, though not as heavy as the subsequent Hart Genossen



Final Score: Easy 5 stars. I am a sucker for skill, innovation and humor, all of which are contained here.

 Hart Genossen Von ABBA Bis Zappa by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.23 | 37 ratings

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Hart Genossen Von ABBA Bis Zappa
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tapfret
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams

5 stars Saxometal = Sexymetal

Sub-genre:Jazz/Rock Fusion (Definite fit, but the metal guitars are aggressive enough to live in Tech/Extreme)
For Fans of: 1980, Animals as Leaders, Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa
Vocal Style: Varying male & female on only a few songs (German)
Guitar Style: Huge range of styles electric and acoustic. Heavy as Fredrik Thordendahl, light and warm as Joe Pass
Keyboard Style: rare if any
Percussion Style: Heavy butt kickin' metal right down to tasty jazz & funk
Bass Style: Picked electric with huge style range
Other Instruments: Alto & Bari Saxophone
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: eclecticism and rapid contrast irritates you.



Summary: Wow! There is no half way about it?I LOVE THIS BAND! The easiest comparison I can make is to a more focused and jazzy Mr. Bungle. The styles within are wildly contrasting with seamless transitions and epic proficiency within each style. And this is not just an exhibition of "look what I/we can do". This is a strong body of compositions that hold their structures, even as varied as they are stylistically within each song. The jazz sections are very tasteful and would hold their own in any corner nightclub. The metal section are as heavy hitting and brutal as any Tech/Extreme band. Somehow it all fits. Perhaps most impressive is there choice of composition. Danny Elfman's The Simpsons theme, a challenging piece on its own, is further glorified by Jan Zehrfeld's arrangement with blasting Djent guitar and extended swing section. A rather unusual selection of Zappa tunes are chosen for 2 closing medleys. These guys do not shy away from a challenge. And they present with exceptional interest and taste.



Final Score: Right to the top of my playlist. 5 stars and more if I am allowed to give them. This is a band full of talent and taste that everyone with an appreciation for fusion and metal should have in their collection. Listen to this album!

 Starke Stücke by PANZERBALLETT album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.13 | 52 ratings

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Starke Stücke
Panzerballett Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Andy Webb
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

5 stars I am a minor jazz fan; my dad was the one who really initiated any spark within me, with his collection of over 200 jazz albums (not including his over 200 vinyl records). A friend of mine showed me the song Zickenterror, and I was determined to search them out . I got my hands on STARKE STÜCKE, perhaps one of the greatest fusion albums I have ever heard. Blasting off with Pink Panther , the band shows their great skill with saxophone and guitar mix. M.W.M.I.O.F.R. (don't ask me what that stands for) is great, with heavy guitar, raging saxophone, and in the end a great er- "vocal" part that accentuates the heaviness of the album. The band then does a great take on Smoke on the Water . Then Friede, Freude, Fußball (Peace, joy, football [soccer]) comes in with great melodies and funky elements. Wind of Change offers a soft jazz breather. My favorite track on the album is their take on the classic Birdland . A great more mainstream (ish) track is Dreamology with great fusion elements. A great take on AC/DC's Thunderstruck comes in with the telltale hammer-on/pull-off piece then with heavy guitar/sax duology. A funnier song with its ridiculous vocals is Zickenterror with an awesome funk part near the end. Paranoid ends the album on a softer note.

My favorite tracks Are:

- Pink Panther

- Friede, Freude, Fußball

- Birdland

- Dreamology

- Thunderstruck

- Zickenterror

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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