Sunday, May 22, 2011

PANZERCHRIST - Regiment Ragnarok CD review

PANZERCHRIST - Regiment Ragnarok CD
Listenable Records
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Rating: 3/5

It's kinda hard not to think of MARDUK when a band names themselves after one of their best releases. But that's as far as the Swedish black metal greats get when listening to this Danish band's sixth full length. It's been around a decade since the term "war metal" was first coined to describe certain metal bands into blackened or death throes who had a fetish for writing about war exclusively. Nowadays with the popularity of GOD DETHRONED and HAIL OF BULLETS both releasing some war themed CDs of late, all of which I consider excellent, it's not surprising to see one of the originators making a comeback try. I say that since PANZERCHRIST hasn't really done anything significant since they unleashed Battalion Beast on Neurotic Records back in 2006. Great release and they even had a Panzer tank on the cover, go figure?

PANZERCHRIST, the 2011 model, features band founder Michael Enevoldsen as the sole remaining member from the past. Enevoldsen's major problem was always keeping a solid line-up in PANZERCHRIST. I have to say that on Regiment Ragnarok he's recruited a decent bunch of soldiers for the latest mission. Enevoldsen, on bass now, is joined by his former ILLDISPOSED bandmate Lasse Bak on guitar and keyboards plus guitarist Rasmus Henriksen formerly of the band DIE. Also along for the ride is drummer Mads Lauridsen from another long time Danish death metal legacy band KONKHRA. Last but certainly not least is vocalist Magnus Jørgensen who might or might not still be in CROCELL. It's Jørgensen's mix of death grunting and harsh vocals which really captures your interest on here.

Musically it's decent sounding blackened death with the guitars doing their part admirably but definitely having Lauridsen behind the kit providing percussion destruction pushes the envelope. Listening to this I keep thinking VADER or maybe even BELPHEGOR since it's all very harsh, fast death metal being produced here. Of course there's some obvious clicheness going on. The opener "Prevail" starts with the sound of a tank rolling to a stop and firing a round to blast forth the salvo of guitar destruction which commences. "The Armour of Armageddon" and "Ode to a Cluster Bomb" are just over the top enjoyable cuts filled with armor piercing riffs and assaulting percussion blasting. "For the Iron Cross" is probably a standout cut since it does introduce some melody early on then switches into pure unadulterated combat. I wouldn't say this ranks up there on my list of more modern war metal themed greats like HAIL OF BULLETS' Of Frost and War or GOD DETHRONED's Passiondale nor will it replace your copy of Battalion Beast (shame on you if you don't have it). But I will say Regiment Ragnarok definitely sits well aiming for the kill zone.



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