Formed from the remnants of several ill-fated acts originating from the Boston area, Panzerbastard are essentially the token metalheads from each of their various hardcore acts. So, Panzerbastard . With a name like that you’d do well to expect some kind of stripped-to-the-bone black metal or half-brick-to-the-head grind. Moreover, with the hardcore associations of their origins coupled with the pure Boston hardcore rhetoric of this EP’s title, it would be natural to presume that this release would be something of a mixed bag. So, what variety of sonic goodies have Panzerbastard got on show for us? The answer is just about fucking everything!
The titular track initiates this outing, immediately contradicting any expectations I had in terms of the production. Far from being lo-fi DIY recorded-in-a-dilapidated-squat sort of fare, it’s actually produced very cleanly and ‘professionally’, aurally akin to the likes of Sick of it All or Biohazard. The track itself is textbook Boston hardcore with the obligatory gang vocal chorus, and then it’s on to track 2 – and suddenly, there’s a huge injection of pace, with blasting aplenty in stark contrast to its immediate predecessor. At this point my expectations were set and I just knew that Panzerbastard had made a grindcore EP here with some heavy hardcore influences. That is, until ’10 Years’ rolls around; steering things in a more Celtic Frost-oriented vein with lumbering guitars and mid paced drums. Towards the closing passages Panzerbastard also include some blackened, tremolo picked riffs, and the now familiar gang vocals have a haunting monastic vibe. It’s then back to business as usual, with some fairly run of the mill hardcore with occasional blasting for the final two tracks.
So, Panzerbastard therefore are a band with a heavy hardcore backbone, fleshed out with grind tropes and with a healthy penchant for Celtic Frost. The problem with this description is that it portrays them as dread-hawk sporting crusties with battle jackets sporting Amebix patches and more spikes than a graph of Kerry Katona’s income, which simply isn’t the case. For one thing the production is way too clean and major label sounding, depriving this release of much of its potential edge. Furthermore, the songs simply don’t flow. It’s as if only one aspect of their pool of influence is represented in each track much of the time, rather than cultivating an evenly blended conglomerate of these influences. To sum up, Gods, Thugs & Madmen sounds like Panzerbastard doing a covers album. It chops and changes far too much and too wildly for the first three of the five tracks on offer here for it to stand up as a solid body of work. Although each track is at least reasonable in isolation, as a package it’s pretty dubious.