» Schmier - The German Panzer
« back

Interview conducted December 17 2014
Interview published December 26 2014

Sound the death knell! Prepare for the freakshow, the ultimate Schmier campaign is here! Let it crush you like a Panzer, a plague to send you straight to Hell! For those not in the know, bellicose bassist Schmier has partnered with two of the blind ragin' members from Accept: exceptional lead guitarist - Herman Frank and demolition drummer - Stefan Schwarzmann. They have manifested a Power Trio of total destruction.

This virtual collision of raw talent just released their debut effort - 'Send Them All To Hell' for Nuclear Blast Records. Once again, I had the distinct honor to speak with Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer all about his collaboration with this new band; something he has been wanting to accomplish for quite some time. Join us as we bleed for your sincere approval. Kill the posers! Hail to the Metal!

MettleAngel: Hey Brother, I was very excited to speak with you after hearing all about Panzer. What a superb idea to combine one of my favorite Teutonic Traditional acts with one of my most esteemed German Thrash acts! Please tell me how this all came about, and how it happened so expediently?

Schmier: It did come together very quickly. The whole thing was very spontaneous. Given Destruction's schedule, and Accept promoting their new album, we knew that we only had a short time window, so we acted upon it right away. We began writing together in March and April of this year.

MettleAngel: Damn, it did happen very rapidly. How did this collaboration even formulate?

Schmier: When we got together, we decided we wanted to do something combining both our backgrounds. We accepted the fact that it would not be innovative. After all, we are already creators of the individual genres, anyhow, as we have been doing this for so long now. We honor our backgrounds, but we also wanted to try something a bit different. Basically, we just wanted to create music which paid homage to acts we love like Motörhead and Judas Priest.

MettleAngel: That is precisely what you accomplished. How did you decide on the name Panzer, or as it is also called "The German Panzer"?

Schmier: We wanted something that is truly German. We had the album concept in mind, and we knew that a tank is representative of war and Metal. Panzer is so befitting of the sound, style, and attitude we embrace. We acknowledged that there are other bands called Panzer, some of whom have been around for quite awhile. All the really good names are already taken, and we wanted something simple for which fans can identitfy. We decided to call ourselves "The German Panzer" to avoid any lawsuits, and placate all parties involved.

MettleAngel: I cannot believe that there would be legal issues. Everytime I go Online, I discover another band called Slayer, Overkill, Sacrifice, etc. I am amazed these bands have the audacity to call themselves that, then I realize that they had the name for decades. Panzer is the perfect name for this band. Actually, I also thought it was an homage to the UK act Tank.

Schmier: Oh, I love Tank too, but what aggravates me is that immediately when we called ourselves Panzer, just because we are German, people began to make Nazi associations.

MettleAngel: You have got to be kidding me! What is up with these idiots. They are exactly what your song "Mr. Nobrain" is all about, how can they be so daft!

Schmier: Yeah, and then the fans who see our videos on YouTube seriously criticize us as being boring, bland, and unispired.

MettleAngel: You cannot let them get to to you. The band for which I write lyrics called The Porridgeface has a song which addresses this very topic. It is called "Box Of Issues". It is all about how these people just bitch and nag about everything. It is just like what South Park spoke about on a recent episode where they referred to how we live in a world filled with commentary. Everyone is blasting their Bull$hit opinions on the Internet. This is why I refuse to engage in social media. Fuck Twitter!

Schmier: Well, it does seem that the "likes" on YouTube far outweigh the "dislikes". We thought it would be a good idea to release some "Lyric Videos" for the album, to promote the music.

MettleAngel: I am a big supporter of those. I am very familiar with your lyric style, and the first video I watched was for "Mr. Nobrain". I am amazed how anyone can criticize those efforts. Afterall, the song "Panzer" itsefl is about the Ebola Virus, right?

Schmier: Yes, you get it! People were so confused by this, wondering what the video had to do with a tank.

MettleAngel: There never appears a tank, only helicopters. I am surprised because the news announcement which follows is self explanatory, as well as the lyrics, referencing a river in Zaire, and comparing the virus itself to a cancer. Although the word plague, I think, is mispelled.

Schmier: Really!

MettleAngel: Yeah, but I get the idea that you are aligning the idea of a juggernaut attack by a panzer battalion to the epidemic of a virus like Ebola which wipes out the entire populace.I respect how you write, which is why before this interview I went to Metal-Archives to read some of your lyrics, as I only have a digital promo, and already I could tell that whomever posted your lyrics on line was inaccurate.

Schmier: Oh really, how so?

MettleAngel: Take for example a song like "Why?" The words "incarmet coal" are listed. I assume the person who posted these illegally downloaded the album, then did his best to guess what the lyrics are. I would assume you are saying, "incarnate goal". There are other egedious errors too.

Schmier: Your interpretation is correct. It is such a shame this is how the Internet rules our lives. It does not help when everyone is cutting and pasting everything too. It is so sad, when one incorrect fact is assumed to be authentic, it suddenly becomes the "Truth". Our drummer Tommy from Destruction was misnamed in a book years ago, and they used that book for information on the "Net", such that to this day, his information is still incorrect Online. This is how the lies become the truth, such a shame!

MettleAngel: I totally agree. I got the new Tankard digitally this summer, so I did not have the lyrics. However, I know how Gerre writes. When I saw the lyrics posted on line I laughed, because I knew they were dead wrong. When my friend bought the CD and I compared the words in the booklet with what appears Online and at the Archives, I realized just how off they were; so my assumption was correct. I have always admired how you write your lyrics. With Panzer, I feel perhaps you are leaning more toward the Headhunter style.

Schmier: Yeah, the music is heavy and punishing, but not as destructive. I am just commenting on all the stuff which bothers me, or inspires me.

MettleAngel: I accept that, and there are some dark themes coming out of Germany, as of late. I just watched the new U.D.O. video for "Decadent" and it was really shocking, showing just how corrupt society has become. Did you also assist with writing the music, or was it all Herman?

Schmier: We all worked on the music together. It was quite different for me, as Herman is such an excellent Classical guitarist. I was not used to writing in this fashion. He is so good. With Accept, he has to take a backseat to Wolf, and even with Victory, or his solo efforts, he writes quite differently. This is by far his heavist playing to date, We all felt challenged writing outside our comfort zone, but wholeheartedly embraced it.

MettleAngel: This is why Panzer is such a killer collaboration. I noticed that you sing a bit more straightforward than with either Destruction or HeadHunter. Your enunciations are a bit different.

Schmier: I had such fun writing with Herman. Yeah, the music is more heavy, but not necessarily aggressive, so my vocal style is adjusted. I just wanted to put my final stamp on the lyrics, and vocal melodies.

MettleAngel: Herman's solos are just amazing. Those licks and leads combined with Stefan's drumming really make for a wicked remedy.

Schmier: Yeah, we worked so well together, writing and coming up with such ideas. Yes, Herman does play a mean guitar. So, do you have the whole album, including the bonus track?

MettleAngel: You mean the Gary Moore cover of "Murder In The Skies"? Yes, my digital version includes that track. I have to admit I am not too familiar with the original though. Did you decide to do the cover to honor him, as he passed away in 2011?

Schmier: This was one reason, but not the main purpose. This song has a very special meaning to me. It was a real struggle to perform it the way we wanted. We did want to make it more Metal, but not lose its original groove. It was very challenging for us all, but I just knew that I had to do it, and do it right.

MettleAngel: I always appreciate how you handle your covers, whether they be Dio, Saxon, Motörhead, or even Skid Row.

Schmier: Thank You! I do them my way. I want to make them my own. With "Murder In The Skies", though it was different. That event of the Korean Airlines 007 being shot down in 1983 by Soviets which inspired the song really shook me in my youth. I thought it meant World War III. Now with all the craziness going on in the World, and planes being shot down again, I felt the need to revisit this song to honor all those who died in vain.

MettleAngel: Wow! I did not realize this. Yeah, with North Korea, and all the madness in the world right now things are definitely coming to a boil. It seems like now, more than ever, we definitely need a Panzer to crush them and send them all to Hell!

Schmier: Well spoken!

MettleAngel: As usual, it has been such a great conversation. I realize that you are inundatd with interviews this close to the Holidays. Thank You for taking the time to share with me.

Schmier: Michael, I always enjoying speaking with you, thank you for all the support. Hopefully, we can chat in person when Destruction tours America next year with Sepultura.

MettleAngel: That would be great! My son had a blast seeing Destruction last time. He was singing, "Nailed to the fucking cross!" the whole next day, much to the teacher's dismay.

Schmier: Ha, this is what I love to hear!

MettleAngel: Yeah, I even have the set list from that show for which I did a live review on the door of my bathroom, with your signature. My wife had fun too, and is proud of her Destruction shirt. We always enjoy seeing you. I remember how courteous you were to allow me to interview you impromptu all those years ago. I really enjoyed our time spent together on the premiere "70,000 Tons" voyage.

Schmier: Yes, I remember those times. Playing with Destruction is my life. We sound better now than ever before, and we all really love what we are doing. I am just grateful that I have been successful enough to pursue something like Panzer.

MettleAngel: All your ace hard work has paid off, in spades. I would not worry about your detractors. I agree that Panzer is nothing new, but after several listens, the album sinks in, and it really registers. I for one am grateful for this project, and I look forward to hearing more.

Schmier: Great, because we want to continue with it too.

MettleAngel: Have a good Holiday, and I will catch up to you soon.

Schmier: Same to you, Brother!

Related links: