Bludgeoning the senses and once again stomping them into dust with their sonic war machine, Danish death metallers Panzerchrist return with new album The 7th Offensive, a release which sets up a new frontline of violence and aural animosity whilst revitalising existing weaponry within the band’s accomplished arsenal. The Listenable Records released seventh album from the quartet is an unrelenting intensive assault on senses and thoughts, an extreme provocation with every intent and ultimate success of ripping any sense of safety from its recipients. Achieved just as potently by a sinister serpentine melodic temptation as by the expected uncompromising brutal intimidation, band and album without tearing down new boundaries is a formidable, very satisfying act of war.
Formed in 1994 by ex-Illdisposed drummer Michael “Panzergeneral” Enevoldsen, Panzerchrist took little time in drawing string responses and acclaim with their early albums but it was with the release of Soul Collector in 2000 that things took on a new might and earned an additional strength of acclaim and recognition as the band unleashed its war themed formula and matching intensive sound. Through the following likes of Room Service in 2003, Battalion Beast three years later, and Regiment Ragnarok of 2011, as the sound and attack became more brutal and intense the responses and acclaim rose in tandem which with The 7th Offensive standing before us is sure to continue, even if arguably the new album misses out on emulating the heights of its predecessor whilst equally stretching its strengths further and to different places. With new members in the shape of drummer Simon Schiling (ex-Fleshcrawl) and vocalist Søren Tintin Lønholdt (ex-Exmorten) alongside bassist Enevoldsen and guitarist Nils Petersen, Panzerchrist offers a bleak, unforgiving onslaught which leaves the breath exhausted and pleasure high.
The sonic tirade starts with Panzer the 7th Offensive, an immediate battalion of rhythms and guttural expulsions under the premise of vocals accosting the ear with deliberate intent whilst the guitar of Petersen creates a mesh of melodic antagonism. It is an instantly enthralling lure soon drenched in heavier shadows and energy which storms through the ear with incessant purpose whilst a flag of melodic colour marks the predacious tempest below.
The following Foreign Fields takes over the mission with the sonic flare of the guitar immediately into its narrative, so much so that it feels like you are dropping in on an already in motion escapade. Once in full muscular flight the track is a heavy and ravenous bestial force, drums and bass caging the ear for vocals and the continuing to impress guitar of Petersen to carve out their distinct but mutually in league toxic calls. It is a strong continuation of the start matched by both In the Name of Massacration and Stronghold of Hill 666; two more lethally constructed and delivered hostile engagements that capture the imagination with a venomous sonic and melodic web as imposing and riveting as the voracious malevolent hunger driving them on. The chaos fuelled maelstrom making up the finale of the first of the two is a standout moment of the first half of the album whilst its successor has a niggling repetitive nature to its stalking that only magnetises the senses.
Certainly to this point The 7th Offensive holds attention, thoughts, and eagerness in its sinew powered hands if without lighting the strongest fires inside the passions. It is an impressive first half to the album though but soon left in the shade of the remaining tracks, well after the primal raw Dogger Dead has savaged the ear, the track a thick slab of venom and unbridled vitriol which leaves thoughts unsure even after numerous plays on how to take and view its presence. There are no doubts about the next up Mass Attack of the Lychantrope Legion, the song a melodically honed call of triumph and glory within the battlefield, but a piece with jaws and sonic swords ready to defend and attack any encroaching incitement and shadows. It is a scintillating song with riffs and solos as bright flames across the ever intense and thrilling bass and drum incitement, a shifting and primed adventure which just steals the passions the longer it is allowed to explore.
Kill for Revenge and Drone Killing step up next to also enslave senses and emotions with inventive twists and turns to their barbed weaves of riffs, blood hued sonics, and rhythmic condemnation. The first is a rapacious steel booted dance of menace and temptation whilst the second is a ferocious unyielding devouring of ear and mind, a torrential sonic blistering which lays down a constant caustic rub of destructive nagging. Backed up by the equally corrosive rant of Napalm Alarm and the departing yet lingering march of Pig Parade, the tracks bring the album to a towering conclusion which out flanks its former part with ease.
The 7th Offensive is a great album which ticks all the boxes for an extreme metal release and more, but falls at the hurdle of originality and debatable innovation. It is still a thoroughly enjoyable and enterprising release from Panzerchrist though showing that there is still no stopping the war machine.
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