Don't know who Perzonal War is? That's okay; they seem to be a rather unknown band. Operating out of Germany since 1996, the thrash metal outfit has released 5 albums since then, including three in four years. Unfortunately for them, their releases have gone under the radar. Fortunately for the rest of the metal world, their releases have gone under the radar. Okay, maybe that is a pretty harsh statement, but considering the level of playing on Perzonal War's third album Different but the Same, it is well warranted. Though early listens should impress, the record gets fairly stale fairly quickly. The band's playing hardly, if ever, manages to break past the average marker. A rather forgettable record, I must say.
Remember the Bay Area Thrash Scene from the 80's. Yeah that was pretty cool. But that was 20 years ago, and Perzonal War was founded ten years ago. So they're definitely different from the likes of Exodus and Metallica. Yet throughout the 55 minute album Different but the Same, it's quite obvious that the Germans are attempting to re-create the sound of the days gone by. In this mindset, Different but the Same is a very fitting title for this release, as it actually is different, but still the same. Much like the band's major influences, Perzonal creates a very riffy piece of work, the expectations of any thrash band. But unlike their influences, Perzonal War's version is listless and uninspired. Though at times their music has some frantic moments, as it is in Born, for the most part Different but the Same seems to lack the emotion that many of their contemporaries captured through their music. Songs which especially suffer are longer offerings. Both Bleeding which has a running time of 6:01 and What is God, which finishes at the 7:31 are major snooze-fests, fail to maintain any sort of momentum. Really, the only two songs on the album which manage to catch the imagination of the listener are Our Century and The Urge For More. Both tracks go against the norm of the album and actually feature memorable sections. For Our Century, it is the chorus which stands out the most, where as the later contains several nice guitar based riffs. The riffs of the Urge For More exhibit an adequate amount of energy and catchiness, something the chugging riffs of other songs like Dragon's Mouth or Time of Lies just cannot replicate. Musically, Perzonal War's Different but the Same definitely disappoint, and do not surpass any competition in the thrash field.
Judging by the heat that Trivium's Matt Heafy is receiving for imitating Metallica's James Hetfield on vocal duties, I very much doubt very many will accept Perzonal War's Matthias Zimmer. He pretty much does the same thing. However, unlike Matt, Zimmer's rough Hetfield-esque singing style is more developed. Though it is quite easy to pick out the Metallica influence in Matthias' voice, the singer sounds somewhat different at the same time. His voice is definitely influenced by the European accent and as a result, sounds ever slightly more original. But like many Hetfield clones, Zimmer lacks the power and the emotion that James displayed on the likes of Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. As four of five Dethklok members would put it, Matthias just doesn't have that zazz that makes metal's leading vocalists so much fun to listen to. My favourite moment from Zimmer would be, again, during the chorus of Our Century, where his shouts lead the band. Perzonal War's singer has a cool name, but unfortunately his efforts are rather plain and bellow average.
Perzonal War definitely isn't one of the better known thrash acts, but they're still plugging away. Their third album, Different but the Same, is an album that is very likeable short term, but fails to hold interest in the long run. As I listened to it, I found myself getting more and more irritated, as with the exception of a few tracks there are no recognizable hooks. I find the thrash metal style that the German's play is very plain and uninteresting, and very uninspired. In a way it eerily reminds me of Trivium's latest album, The Crusade, and even has similar traits and qualities. I recommend skipping this, unless you are a fan of painfully average thrash metal. Or The Crusade. If you enjoyed that, there is a chance that you'll like this.
The Urge For More