If you didn’t grab Panzer’s debut album “Send Them All To Hell” then have a quiet word with yourself over a stiff drink. It was one of the best heavy metal releases of 2014. A classic Teutonic power trio, Schmier (bass / vocals) Herman Frank (ex- Accept on guitars) and Stefan Schwarzmann (ex – Accept, UDO & Running Wild) the line up alone positively reeked of metal cred and the album was a total stormer, sounding exactly how you hoped it would.
I anticipated that album being a one off but no, here we are with their second LP “The Fatal Command” but there have been some tank crew changes for this next offensive.
Schmier is still commanding this great big metal juggernaut but is now joined by Swiss guitarist V.O. Pulver (who, interestingly produced their debut and played live at a few gigs too). Herman Frank has sadly been given indefinite leave to concentrate on his own solo work so Schmier recruited a second guitarist, none other than Swede Pontus Norgren, who you’ll know from his amazing lead work in Hammerfall. Schwarzmann is still strapped in behind the kit and doing as solid a job here as he did on the debut. Obviously Schmier is still nailing down the bottom end and his unmistakeable vocals are as good here as they are on any Destruction release. I actually think he sounds better as he gets older too.
What Panzer are firing at us here are eleven howitzer sized metal songs riddled with squealing leads, awesome drumming and lyrics about the devil, war, revenge and all manner of other metal stuff. From track one “Satan’s Hollow” to album closer “Promised Land” these songs are lovingly crafted weapons of metallic destruction. One part melody, one part aggression and 666 parts metal. Probably a touch more melodic overall than their debut but that’s not a bad thing. If you’re a fan of proper heavy metal and German metal in particular – there are liberal splashes of Accept & Scorpions all over this record – then you will not go far wrong by throwing yourselves under the tracks of this metal tank.
(8.5/10 Mark Eve)