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Still lacking heaviness, but good anyway - 65%

BlackFlag, July 22nd, 2009

There weren’t many heavy metal bands in Spain by 1982. By that time you had the big two, Baron Rojo and Obus plus some other underground seminal acts (Triton, Craneo, Mazo, Banzai, etc.), some of them being luckier than others. Panzer was a band made up by the manager Javier Galvez (R.I.P.) from the ashes of a Rock band called Magerit. In 1981 they were formed, and in 1982 they recorded their debut. Weren’t they lucky? In fact, they deserved to put their music out in vinyl. They rocked!

Now, under this vintage heavy metal warrior on the cover, we had some good music to listen to, a hard rock album with some heavy metal hints here and there, that is. Mix Dio era Rainbow with some AC/DC and a bit of Judas Priest and that’s how it sound like. Carlos Pina, the singer, reminds me a bit Gary Lattice from the NWOBHM band Holocaust, with some more tendencies to the high pitched scream in the key moments; you know, just like heavy metal has to be. Usually, Pina sounds calmed, just like he didn’t gave a damn about anything, but with his young powerful rocker-like force outraging.

Al Pie del Canon have some good compositions, indeed. Perro Viejo (Old Dog) is a great heavy rocker track, a bit too cheesy to convince the actual metalhead, but outstanding for the time it was recorded. I also love Los Grilletes de la Represion and the mid placed hard rocker Gedeon (even with their Hammond keys and synth passages). Lyrics are in Spanish, that must be noted, dealing mainly with rebellion and being outlaw (rock clichés), sometimes really well written like on Ratas de Alquitran (a great intro riff there), Los Grilletes de la Represion and Perro Viejo, my personal favourite.

If something has to be said about the music, that is the guitar work is too shaded in the general mix, too much under the keyboard and synth works for my taste, which sometimes make this album sound like a rough version of Deep Purple. I’ve already said Panzer’s first is still a Hard Rock album, and that’s mainly because of this issue. Unlike their following albums, these songs were prepared to being lead by a single guitar and keyboards, by the way performing some interesting and totally audible bass lines. Percussion is the worst part of the music, though. Drums sound pretty bad to generic, at times even shamefully like in the Tu te Rebelaras interlude, where they seem like some kind of disco clapping.

Definitely a good album for its time, not as great as Iron Maiden or Baron Rojo, but not despicable anyway. The best by this band had still to come, anyway. But that’s another story.

Highlights: Perro Viejo, Los Grilletes de la Represión, Gedeon.