Monday 2 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Pänzer - "Fatal Command"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/10/2017
Label: Nuclear Blast

“Fatal Command” CD//DD track listing:

1. Satan's Hollow (4:04)
2. Fatal Command (4:57)
3. We Can Not Be Silenced (3:32)
4. I'll Bring You The Night (5:29)
5. Scorn And Hate (5:26)
6. Afflicted (4:42)
7. Skullbreaker (5:44)
8. Bleeding Allies (4:38)
9. The Decline (And The Downfall) (5:16)
10. Mistaken (4:54)
11. Promised Land (4:21)

The Review:

Pänzer came to prominence a couple of years back as a super group of sorts with members of Accept and Destruction combining to produce an album which sounded... mid way between those two bands. And very good it was too! The sophomore album by the band has seen Hermann Frank sadly depart, but the core of the band remain the same with Schmier and Stefan Schwarzmann still proving the thunderous underpinning to the band's sound. Pontus Norgren and V.O. Pulver fill out the line up this time around and the Swede/Swiss axis of metal works wonders.

The record is perhaps more anthemic than the debut “Send Them All To Hell” but it is just as metal; if not more so. There is huge choruses’ here- the opener “Satan's Hollow” is pure heavy metal, the following title track is more of the same. Big production and Schmier's manic vocals make this record feel energised and, in the right way, both retro and state of the art.

This is a harder proposition than Accept's latest (superb) album, but not at the level of intensity offered by Destruction. Schmier pushes and expands his vocal limits- as you can hear on “We Can Not Be Silenced”- and his willingness to turn in this type of performance says a lot about not resting on his laurels and giving his all to the record. There are mid paced chuggers like “I'll Bring You The Night” that nestle alongside more melodic and dynamic fair such as “Scorn” and “Hate” and you also get the pure heavy metal, verging on thrash, of “Afflicted” and the record is only half way at that point!

There is plenty of variety- “Skullbreaker” is a creeping and menacing track- not like the breakneck paced track I expected from the title. “Bleeding Allies” provides a stomping burst of pace and plenty of twin guitar work. The harder riffing of “The Decline (And The Downfall)” may please fans of Schmier's main band, but there is still a sense of metallic melody through the verses.

The final stretch of the album takes in the widdly “Mistaken” (great) and the fast and furious “Promised Land” (even greater!) and really closes on a strong statement for the record. This is a similar beast to their debut- powerful but with melody, hard driving but never out and out thrash. If that sounds like your bag- or for reference if you are a fan of Priest, Hammerfall, Accept and of course Destruction, there will be plenty for you to enjoy here. Classic heavy metal with a modern stainless steel sheen.

Band info: facebook