Almost two decades have passed since “General” Michael Enevoldsen left Ill Disposed to form Danish blackened death metallers Panzerchrist, a band that seem hellbent on creating the bleakest and most menacing of sounds using a backdrop of war. Sure, a lot of death metal bands these days tend to dabble in the many themes of war, but musically Panzerchrist have always found new ways to get their point across. With their upcoming seventh album aptly titled “The 7th offensive”, Panzerchrist are only getting bigger and better.
“The 7th offensive” is full of complex instrumentation and bleak atmospheres, and you have to listen to the first three songs of the album to realize. The opening title track is introduced by cold voices of the military appearing to order a multitude of soldiers to their death, before exploding into a fully-fledged, maniacal death metal sound that crushes everything in its path, complete with beautifully enhanced guitar solos courtesy of Niller Pendelsen and a generally solid rhythm section. The more straightforward likes of ‘In the name of Massacration’ and the grindcore-influenced ‘Dogger dead’ both prove that the band can tone down the complexity of their song-writing when they want to and still sound solid, whereas when they do get more complex-particularly on the epic ‘Kill for revenge’ and the equally as monumental ‘Foreign fields’-the band sound as refreshing as ever.
What may surprise many of the band’s fans or fans of death metal in general is the enigmatic use of keyboards by bassist Michael “Panzergeneral” Enevoldsen, which not only make penultimate song ‘Napalm alarm’ and ‘Mass attack of the lycanthrope legion’ all the more atmospheric, but also gives just a bit more variation to the overall sound, something which the band have always succeeded at. Another thing to note is Søren Sindsyg Lønholdt’s vocals, which apparently have been worked on to bring back the more primitive death metal style of the band’s earlier albums, whilst still sounding refreshingly evil. His range is what particularly makes the vocals effective, charging ‘Foreign fields’ and ‘Stronghold of hill 666’ with menacing roars before breaking up minefields with his blood-curdling screams on ‘Kill for revenge’ and ‘Drone killing’.
The sound is very rarely inconsistent, yet ‘Stronghold of hill 666’ suffers slightly from a questionable and sudden change of pace in the rhythm section which somehow doesn’t work as well as it should, and the obviously grindcore-influenced ‘Dogger dead’ is naturally the one track on the album to be named “filler”. Even with these very minor flaws however, it can’t be ignored that Panzerchrist’s latest album seeks to attract even the most cynical of extreme metal fans to the band’s ever expanding battlefield, and musically and conceptually the band succeed well. On this note, they should certainly storm the world with a militaristic menace.
1. The 7th offensive
2. Foreign fields
3. In the name of massacration
4. Stronghold of hill 666
5. Dogger dead
6. Mass attack of the lycanthrope legion
7. Kill for revenge
8. Drone killing
9. Napalm alarm
10. Pig parade