Teutonic threesome Panzer Squad began in 2012 and “Ruins” is their second full length release, following 2016’s “Coming to your Town”. Heavy Metal’s preoccupation with the machines of War is understandable. Death contraptions of steel and iron that destroy and terrorize will always be wet dream material for many young men and women. I used to read Elite magazine dreaming of going to Vietnam like Chuck Norris (in celluloid at least). Once I realised the reality of war the excitement was replaced by morbid fascination then disgust. The Panzer has long been the poster child of war machines. Fast and deadly and belonging to the “baddies” , beloved of Marduk and Lemmy and countless other folk it is no surprise that this Squad formed.
What Tobi (vox and Guitars) Sven (bass) and Henni (drums) offer is fast punked up thrash. It reminds me of Circle Your Wagons era Darkthrone. Smatterings of D- Beat drums in with the Destruction riffs and blackened vocals. Classic power trio you can imagine the bullet belts and spikes amid flailing hair.
What the chaps peddle is nothing new but they do it well. The album is high octane but even a nitro powered tank needs a destination. Things start to gel at the mid point of the album. Where they get my juices flowing is during numbers like “Singular Purpose” which injects some dayglo crossover riffage into proceedings , great thrash breakdown as well – could bulldoze it’s away onto Speeds Kill IV . Shut In has some ball busting riffs and the 59 second burst of Victim of War brings to mind Sabbat (JPN). A shot in the arm. Delusionist slows things down with some heavy groove before returning to heads down thrash attack. Zombie Shot has some great punk sections in it but it comes across as metalheads trying out crusty clothes. Hey what do I know- I don’t know the guys, not here to judge their “scene credentials” just saying what I hear. After the Bombs is the first couple of Kreator albums condensed into 3 mins.
The album ends with a cover of Shitlickers “Warsystem“ . Their take on Swedish D-Beat is great and makes me wish there was more of that injected in the sound instead of Sodom/Destruction/Kreator.
These guys are great at what they do. Lots of energy and anger. Didn’t make me want to dirty my high tops though.
(6/10 Matt Mason)