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Panzerballett: X-Mas Death Jazz

So, you thought the Grinch hated Christmas. Well, have I got another one for you. If you think death jazz sounds intriguing read on.

Panzerballett is a German jazz/prog rock outfit hailing from Munich, Germany. The band formed in 2004 by guitarist Jan Zehrfeld who is the only original member. Their last two albums; Tank Goodness (2012) and Breaking Brain (2015) were both fine eclectic jazz rock/fusion albums that are about as nonconventional as it gets. Well, that trend continues with their latest release titled X-Mas Death Jazz.

I gotta say this is a pretty skewed album, almost deranged but in a humorous way. The band throw complex and angular rhythms and all around great musicianship into their versions of classic Christmas carols. For a taste of the bizarre check out the first track “White Christmas”, a verifiable Christmas classic. The nostalgic nod to Christmas of the original version is shattered with complex vocal harmonies, wild rhythmic displays, technical metal guitar riffs and superb drumming. Add a heavy helping of jazz rock and fusion and you have a pretty cool track. The same can be said for “Kling, Glöckchen” where thick and heavy guitar is somewhat softened by jazzy saxophone and layered keys. To get into that Christmas spirit you really have to check out the psychotic version of “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” where the band play it both fast and slow adding a few familiar vocal lines amidst the chaotic avant-garde metal and fusion leanings. This is some wild stuff. Again, the vocal arrangement is very complex. The disc ends with “Let It Snow”, a near perfect rendition of the original version. Just kidding. This is as heavy and crazy as the rest of the tracks and will keep your head spinning for days.

Come next December this will certainly be in my Christmas play-list. A unique take on the holiday season that avant-garde prog and jazz rock fans should really enjoy.

Band members:
Jan Zehrfeld (guitar)
Joe Doblhofer (guitar)
Alexander von Hagke (saxophone)
Heiko Jung (bass)
Sebastian Lanser (drums)
Guest musicians:
Mattias IA Eklundh (vocals and guitar on tracks 1 and 6)
Mike Keneally (vocals on track 8)
Jen Majura (vocals on tracks 1 and 4)
Steffen Kummerer (vocals on track 8)
Martin Strasser (vocals on track 4)

Track Listing:
1. White Christmas (5:32)
2. Kling, Glöckchen (6:46)
3. Little Drummer Boy (5:57)
4. Es Kommt Bald (5:45)
5. Last Christmas (6:59)
6. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (5:16)
7. For Whom The Jingle Bells Toll (5:48)
8. Let It Snow (5:21)
Bonus: Instrumental Versions
9. White Christmas (5:32)
10. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (5:15)
11. Es Kommt Bald (5:45)
12. Let It Snow (5:18)

Added: May 18th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 799
Language: english

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