Album Reviews Panzerballett - X-mas Death Jazz

Published on 12th December 2017

Panzerballett – X-Mas Death Jazz


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Greetings, fellow misanthropes! Like me, do you loathe the way Christmas has become a “season” that seems to start the second after the autumn equinox, and goes on until January 7th or thereabouts? And do you detest the ever-growing tacky commerciality of it all, enticing the gullible to drain the National Grid by lighting up their houses with blindingly horrendous and tasteless displays, as well as buying tat for people that don’t want or need it, who do the same in return? It’s all a zillion miles from the original intent of the season of goodwill, ain’t it? Not to mention the self-inflicted colonic nightmares of the day itself, with the much-anticipated and delightful subsequent constipation and/or hangovers, all in the name of “fun”? Well, here’s the Xmas album all of us glowering dyspeptic bastards have been waiting for!

As the PR blurb rightly puts it, “How beautiful Christmas could be – if it weren’t for Christmas, what may seem like a Utopian idea of cultural romanticism is actually the premise of Germany’s major avant garde outfit Panzerballett’s new record X-Mas Death Jazz.”

Listen with glee as the lads brutalise White Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and others to within an inch of their fake plastic lives. The drummer has at least eight arms on the splendid deconstruction of White Christmas, a marvellously “Wtf?” moment with which to open the album. Further down the chimney, Santa is held hostage by Teutonic Orks, who while they may sound like they’re barking out torture instructions, are in actuality merely reading out a shopping list of Xmas fare in their native tongue, for German is a lovely poetic language, eh? Meanwhile the rhythm section, as hard as nails, dole out the rabbit punches to the solar plexus of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer until the poor bugger is reeling off the ropes like George Foreman in round 8 of the Rumble In The Jungle. The song takes on a Zappa-esque black humour, and like many other tunes on this punishing record, it makes me smile.

Jingle Bells carouses with a winning splenetic fury, and Let It Snow has a moment that is so incongruous, if it doesn’t make you laugh, you’re probably an over-earnest prog fan… and no, I’m not giving it away here! Apart from that, it sounds like Zappa fronting King Crimson, put through an abattoir. Luvvly! That puts me in mind of a ‘joke’ – “What would you call Dancing Queen if it was butchered by the Meat Puppets?” Abbatoir-pop! I’ll get me coat… goodnight, sweet dreams!

TRACK LISTING
01. White Christmas (5:33)
02. Kling, Glöckchen (6:46)
03. Little Drummer Boy (5:58)
04. Es kommt bald (5:45)
05. Last Christmas (7:00)
06. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (5:17)
07. For Whom The Jingle Bells Toll (5:48)
08. Let It Snow (5:21)
~ Bonus Instrumental Versions:
09. White Christmas (5:32)
10. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (5:15)
11. Es kommt bald (5:45)
12. Let It Snow (5:19)

Total Time – (69:24)

MUSICIANS
Jan Zehrfeld – Guitar
Joe Doblhofer – Guitar
Alexander von Hagke – Saxophone
Heiko Jung – Bass Guitar
Sebastien Lanser – Drums
~ With:
Mattias IA Eklundh – Vocals & Guitar (tracks 1 & 6)
Mike Keneally – Vocals (track 8)
Jen Majura – Vocals (tracks 1 & 4)
Steffen Kummerer – Vocals (track 8)
Martin Strasser – Vocals (track 4)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Gentle Art Of Music
Catalogue#: GAOM 052
Date of Release: 24th November 2017

LINKS
Panzerballett – Website | Facebook

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