HomeReviewReview: “Murder Ballads” by Jack 13’s Panzercrow
7th September 2022
Review: “Murder Ballads” by Jack 13’s Panzercrow
You only need look either of the two alternative pieces of cover art and the track listing to know where Jack 13’s Panzercrow are going with “Muder Ballads” because for them everyday is Halloween as they follow in the footsteps of Ramones, Misfits and Dead Kennedys leaving them sounding like they’ve taken a page from the Wednesday 13 playbook. In truth, Jack 13 has been doing this since the year 2000 in Hyvinkää Finland and when you dive into it while they both have the same influences, that’s pretty much as far as it goes, as Jack 13 does have the comedy edge, this instead sounding like it took the left hand path with less budget and no scare factor, the PG -13 version to Wednesday’s R-Rated Horror B-Movie. That’s not a criticism but a statement of fact as both musicians clearly have a very different vision of the music they want to make. The story goes that following the completion of the last Scarecrow album “Splatterpunk“, Jack13 returned to the studio to write new material for his other Horror Punk Metal outfit Panzercrow, picking up demos and leftover tracks as a starting point…
“Murder Ballads” begins with the Ramones inspired “Wanna See My Head Come Off?” and while it sounds like it’s been done before it still manages to capture a nostalgic quality while lacking any real bite. That is then followed by the Celtic Punk injected Folk Punk vibes of “Howling – Part I“, a cut which finds guests Timo Ohramaa on mandolin and acoustic guitar, a more interesting and perhaps braver choice. It works well as a kind of drunken sing-a-long cut you might expect to hear late a night in a bar and it becomes obvious the longer it runs that “Howling – Part II” is going to go off like a shotgun blast of pure Punk energy, by the end you’re waiting for that moment. It does as predicted, the mid cut riffage feeling like it belongs to a car chase scene in low budget horror film. They’re a conjoined twin that simply wouldn’t work if separated. “Live Love Stab” sounds like an “Ignition” era Offspring cut, with some glorious leads but the lack of tongue in cheek humour weighs it down before “Still Dead To Me” which features the hilariously executed “You’re still dead to me, so f*** you very much” makes for a sing-a-long that will crack a smile. The previously released “Haunted Ghost Girl” sounds like a classic American 1950’s dance hall cut, only the accenting giving it away, the band turning down a couple of opportunities to turn up the guitars and instead sticking to their guns to the bitter end. It’s actually the final three cuts here that are the finest, the riffs of “Darkland” lifting things with an up-tempo drive, giving the corpse a much needed injection of energy that also finds some jackhammer footwork pushing things home. The darker “Left Alone To Die In The Pumpkin Field” has even more of an edge, the atmospherics working very well before the moody “Dying In The Night” brings an extended spoken word introduction before the instruments come crashing down and makes for a haunting conclusion. It has to said that this record doesn’t feel like the leftovers from a Scarecrow album and certainly not “Splatterpunk“, it feels like it needs a jumpstart to get it going… [6/10]
1. Wanna See My Head Come Off?
2. Howling – Part I
3. Howling – Part II
4. Forever Is This Night
5. Live Love Stab
6. Still Dead To Me
7. Haunted Ghost Girl
9. Left Alone To Die In The Pumpkin Field
10. Dying In The Night
“Murder Ballads” by Jack 13’s Panzercrow is out 9th September 2022 via 82 Records and is available over at bandcamp.