We present a class of fast first-order finite volume solvers, called PVM (polynomial viscosity matrix), for balance laws or, more generally, for nonconservative hyperbolic systems. They are defined in terms of viscosity matrices computed by a suitable polynomial evaluation of a Roe matrix. These methods have the advantage that they only need some information about the eigenvalues of the system to be defined, and no spectral decomposition of a Roe matrix is needed