Clocking up two uncompromising decades, Danish death Metal mercenaries Panzerchrist have appropriately named their seventh album 'The 7th Offensive'. For me this is a good choice, given that it is also the title of one of my favourite Bolt Thrower songs, causing my levels of anticipation to run very high indeed.
Their sound has always been consistently at the extreme end of death Metal yet there is always great variety between albums, largely to do with the ever changing line-up from album to album but with the ever constant figure of Michael 'Panzergeneral' Enevoldsen, keeping the ranks of this army tight.
This album sees not only a new vocalist, Søren Tintin Lønholdt, but a new guitarist, Nils Petersen, and a new drummer, Simon Schilling, bravely following after the formidably fast footed Reno Killerich.
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This time around 'The 7th Offensive' reveals a slightly more melodic yet evil approach to the guitars; grey, bleak and sinister and also ultra-guttural, pure death Metal vocals. The album was also recorded at three different studios, the guitars and bass were recorded in the Igloo by HR Swan, drums at AMP studio by Jens Förster and Markus Ziemer and vocals and the final mix were done in Death Island Studio with engineer Marco Angioni.
My first impression was of the stark contrast between the beautiful melodic guitar segments and mega deep and harsh, brutal vocals, both work to enhance the effect of the other, adding huge depth to the overall result. This added melodic aspect, I think will give a broader appeal to more listeners, always a good thing.
It is also hugely exciting for the sheer speed and intensity and for that frantic style that is so uniquely Danish and the brutality of their style of blasting death Metal is still maintained also as the title suggests the inspiration for lyrical themes are once again war.
The album consists of ten excellent, in your face offerings, opening with title track 'The 7th Offensive', intense from the offset and this is relentlessly maintained throughout the album.
Across all the tracks the vocals are good, deep and harsh even if the range is a little bit limited. The guitar work across all the tracks is stunning with some excellent segments and solos.
Touching on some of the albums highlights, 'Dogger Dead' brought a smile to my face because of the witty sound bite in the beginning involving an obviously small dog, for more details, go listen and find out, it proves death Metal bands have a sense of humour.
The first thought that came into my mind when I heard 'Mass Attack Of The Lychantrope Legion' was that the guitars made me think Amon Amarth; a good track nonetheless.
My favourite track has to be 'Kill For Revenge'. I liked the plodding yet crunchy pace and the repeat riff had a hypnotic quality, there were also some very interesting guitar elements. 'Napalm Alarm' stood out for me also because of the injection of varied vocals only found on this deep and intense track. The album squeals to a close with the marching outro 'Pig Parade'.
If you like warmongering death Metal this is an album for you. Finally in the words of the band, "THE WAR IS OVER. LET'S START A NEW ONE. DEATH FOREVER, PANZER!"