Considering that this is a thrash metal album, I feel I should preface this review by letting you all know that I’m not a big fan of thrash metal. To me there are two types of thrash metal – raw, nasty, furious and oh so fucking vile (which I love) or well-polished, “fun” and boring party-time drivel. Fortunately – Panzer Squad generally falls in the former category, but never do they fall into the latter.
They’re the kind of band that doesn’t merely get your blood pumping, no, they’re the kind of band that’s going to induce coronary failure and they don’t give a goddamn how healthy your doctor says you are – it will happen. Have your defibrillators at the ready, it’s time to get ruined!
While Ruins does fall closer to one of my negatives of sounding a bit more “well-polished” than I generally prefer with my thrash metal, it still has a big enough pile o’ nasty riffs that make up for that fact. Don’t take this as meaning it’s a clean sounding album by any means, it’s just cleaner that I usually prefer.
The ugly buzz of the bass and absolutely spiteful vocals with a touch of early-era Mille Petrozza or Angelripper assuredly drag down any frat boy vibe that lesser thrash metal bands would use and drown it in a pile of rancid sleaze. It’s really difficult to listen to a song like “Shut In” or “Approaching The End” and not want to take an axe to your house before burning it to the ground.
Ruins isn’t a perfect album by my account, as I’m not always a fan of the mid-tempo intros that drone on, especially in the one instance where a sound clip from a news broadcast/documentary is used. Playing devil’s advocate to myself, though, the mid-tempo and slower sections are usually much more in-line with traditional punk values. While I’ve never been a huge punk fan, in the instances of genres like thrash and grindcore the blend is usually a good thing, and for the most part I can get behind it with Panzer Squad. Especially when rounding off the album is a cover of the classic Shitlickers song “Warsystem”, and it is a fine way to end the album. Quick and to the point!
The length of Ruins could have been trimmed by about 10 minutes to fit in what Panzer Squad is without feeling overly long, but I don’t feel that spending the entire 40 minutes with them is time wasted. Ruins is chock-full of cogent leads, trenchant riffs, riotous solos, baleful vocals, abrasive bass and calamitous percussion that is sure to make you want to destroy something in your vicinity. One last thing worth mentioning – the tracklist is well arranged so the album flows together beautifully. For any negative I can find, there are more than enough positives, making this album a very safe buy. You’ll be supporting a great band and a great label, so don’t be shy and go order this already!