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(47:21, Gentle Art of Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Some Skunk Funk 5:57 2. Mustafari Likes di Carnival 7:12 3. Giant Steps 5:05 4. Zehrfunk 6:37 5. The Time of My Life 6:07 6. Vulgar Display of Sauerkraut 5:24 7. The Ikea Trauma 4:12 8. Take Five 7:07 LINEUP: Jan Zehrfeld Ц guitars Josef Doblhofer Ц guitars Sebastian Lanser Ц drums Alexander von Hagke Ц sax Heiko Jung Ц bass With: Randy Brecker Ц trumpet Mattias Eklundh Ц vocals; guitars Conny Kreitmeier Ц vocals Ron van Lankeren Ц vocals
Prolusion. The German band PANZERBALLETT was first assembled in 2004. From 2006 and onwards the various incarnations of the band have released a steady stream of albums. "Tank Goodness" is their fourth full length production, and was released through the German label Gentle Art of Music in September 2012.
Analysis. When you're dealing with an album that features a cover of a chart-topping Billboard hit song as well as a jazz standard, with a jazz icon and a well known innovative metal guitarist on the guest list, then you know you'll be in for a ride. Or at least you suspect that this will be the case. That the attached press release describes the band as purveyors of jazz-metal kind of emphasizes that impression just a tiny little bit. Opening with a cover version of Brecker's Some Skunk Funk, featuring Brecker himself, this CD transports you into an alternate world from the onset: slick fusion and funk combined with massive pounding metal riffs of a technical nature, and a variety of the latter is called Djent these days as a recurring feature here and elsewhere on this disc, with Brecker's trumpet adding something of a brass rock atmosphere to the proceedings. A rather distinct expression, with plenty of room for the musicians to showcase their individual and combined skill-sets. Later on Zehrfunk is a composition of a similar nature, and Panzerballet's take on jazz standard Take Five is another creation that sports a comparable style. Highly demanding music that calls for listeners with a broad and liberal taste in music. Mustafari Likes di Carnival is a variation of this approach that replaces the funk from the previously mentioned pieces with reggae, while Coltrane's Giant Steps sees this composition liberally flavored with massive, chugging riff constructions amidst the gentler, purebred jazz themes in alternating sequences. Covering a massive hit song like The Time of My Life is probably a good idea, as it will give the band plenty of additional attention from the curious I guess. But the blend of smooth jazz-oriented pop and intense metal with extreme orientations is one that I suspect will be found just a tad too experimental for many. Personally I found the instrumental bits of this one entertaining enough, but dual male and female pop style vocals in this particular setting aren't what I'd personally would describe as pleasant or intriguing. Vulgar Display of Sauerkraut is probably the most likable creation on this album, for me personally. Revolving around massive riff construction with gentler jazz-oriented interludes, this is what I'd imagine the end result would be if Rammstein ever decided to explore the jazz-metal approach. At last The Ikea Trauma blends the technical metal excursions and jazz interludes of Panzerballett with powerful heavy metal 80's style, with lyrics of a neat little story about the nightmare of being lost in a giant-sized Ikea store. A tale anyone familiar with this giant superstore will find easy to comprehend.
Conclusion. Panzerballett is a band that smoothly and with some elegance manages to combine jazz, fusion and metal of a technical and somewhat extreme variety. Mostly instrumental, which is to my mind a good thing, and with plenty of maneuvering space for the instrumentalists to showcase their skills. A very well made specimen of its kind, and a fairly demanding one too, to be enjoyed by those with a taste for music that defies genre conventions and covers multiple and contrasting stylistic expressions.
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