Given the presence of twin Celtic Frost covers, the seemingly unofficial “Into The Panzermonium” subtitle of this new EP from Boston punk-thrash outfit Panzerbastard is both amusing and apropos. (That addendum came along in my press info, but nowhere else that I looked did I find it as a part of the EP’s actual title. A pity, because it’s clever. I do enjoy a good pun.) Beyond those two covers, this EP is short and sweet—there are two other original tunes, plus a bonus repeat of “Fatherless Son Of A War Machine,” now making its third appearance on record. (It was originally released on the band’s 2009 EP Hell Gate and then compiled on the 2006-2009 set earlier this year.) That particular compilation was my introduction to this ‘Bastard, a record I reviewed elsewhere on this site, and to save you time by summarizing my thoughts: it was, and still is, damn good.
Panzerbastard’s thrash-charged d-beat style is prominent and dominant, as expected, although their proto-black metal / crusty tendencies are also in full effect, largely in accordance with the dirtier takes on the Frost-y source material. In an out-of-character mid-tempo moment, the title track pounds along at a lumbering pace, monolithic and mountainous. That tune’s a definite keeper, unlike most anything I’ve heard from the ‘Bastards thusfar (the “Intro” and “Outro” from Bastards Die Hard comes closest)—“Centurion” is more crusty doom than hardcore fury, less chaotic speed and more controlled stomp. Second new tune “Lifewaster” is more in line with what I’ve come to expect from these guys, straight-ahead thrash/punk/rock that hits that sweet spot of grimy asskickery.
But of course, of all this, these twin Frost-ed flakes are the true selling point, both given a thicker and dirtier production that renders “The Usurper” less cold and a bit less dark, crustier and punkier than it was in its original form. The ‘Bastard’s scuzzed-up take on “I Won’t Dance” is the EP’s highlight, although I’m a bit biased, since that track has long been among my favorite Frost offerings. In both instances, Panzerbastard’s version is structurally faithful to the original (although “Dance” features a slight variation, with the counterpoints in the chorus not performed by a female)—no surprises, no real twists, just full-out rock’n’roll mayhem. Following suit from their more recent tendency towards less-violent (and yet still pummeling) work, the ‘Bastard has pared back the speed and intensity here in favor of a more methodical approach—the near-grind blasting and the frenzied attack of the Bastards Die Hard days are absent, although they’re not missed, as not a one of these tunes warrant such extremity.
Panzerbastard’s no-bullshit approach is a grand one and a fun one—they rip through these five tunes with fire in the belly and middle fingers raised, and that’s good enough for me. If Motorhead-meets-Discharge (covering Celtic Frost) sounds like a good time, then here are a few tracks of exactly that.
And trust me, it sounds like a good time.