Panzerballett is a heavy jazz-fusion band from Germany who play an exciting brand of instrumental music that is sure to tickle the fancy of prog, metal, and fusion fans alike. Featuring Jan Zehrfeld on guitars, Gregor Bürger on sax, Florian Schmidt on bass, and drummer Max Bucher, this combo lays down some funky grooves littered with wild solo spots and complex, often times metallic arrangements. Imagine a cross between Brand X, Kraan, The Brecker Brothers, and Planet X, and you get somewhat of an idea of what to expect here. Zehrfeld is the mastermind behind the band, a former guitarist of Klaus Doldinger's (of Passport fame) band, and the composer of the eight tracks here.
Many of the songs steamroll ahead with mean intentions, led by Zehrfeld's intricate guitar riffs and melodies and the squonking sax of Burger. The constant battle between funk, jazz, and metal is what makes these songs so interesting and so enjoyable. Bucher's intricate drum licks propel the "heavy metal jazz funk" of "Zehrfunk!", a perfect way to kick off this exciting CD, complete with searing sax and guitar solos. Shades of Mike Stern's more aggressive material can be heard on "Reload" and "Aspirin Smoke", and the band's hybrid of heavy metal and bebop comes out full force on "Schmitz Kadtse" and the appropriately titled "Iron Maiden Voyage", a complex tune with plenty of weaving sax and guitar lines. Panzerballett also seems to be paying homage to another metal great on the song "Meshugge", a real barnburner with raging polyrhythms, heavy riffs, and jazzy sax. They really dazzle the senses though on the insane stop/start mayhem of the finale "Zichensterror", again, combining jazz and metal perfectly.
Once you grab a listen to Panzerballet, you'll no doubt agree that this band is ready to be a force on the instrumental progressive rock scene. Expect big things from this German ensemble in the very near future.
3) Aspirin Smoke
4) Schmitz Kadtse
5) Iron Maiden Voyage