The first Panzerchrist song I heard was Suicide from the Room Service Album. I clicked on it mainly because of the name Panzerchrist, which is fucking glorious and my balls were immediately blown off from the sheer heaviness of the band. A decade and two albums later, the band are now releasing their seventh studio album – 7th Offensive, via Listenable Records.
One of my favourite elements of Panzerchrist is how melodic the guitar solos are in contrast to the brutality of the background music. I wasn’t disappointed here, which you’ll soon see from the overuse of the words “atmospheric” and “melodic.” My other favourite element is how powerful the drums sound in headphones, Panzerchrist have always had an excellent mix and this time around is no different.
I’ll be honest; I didn’t understand a word of the vocals this time. He could have, for all of my knowledge, been singing about bunnies for half an hour. But this doesn’t matter one bit, when you want to hear lyrics and stories about war, you have Sabaton, when you want to hear brutality about war, you have Panzerchrist.
The overall tone of the album is slightly bleaker than previous outputs, with certain effects making for slightly uncomfortable listening. In The Name Of Massacration being a prime example, with an unsettling distorted screaming coming in the background towards the end. The use of effects opens the album as well as a radio broadcast of an unknown voice reading out phonetic letters plays before the melodic sweep fest from the guitar.
Dogger Dead – opening with a dog barking and a man demanding it to kill – again features use of outside effects to add to the music. This is perfect in that it gives the listener more perspective as to what the song is actually about. Dogger Dead itself is a slight departure from the usual death metal sound with a grind influence and a shorter time scale (it clocks in at just under one minute and fifty seconds).
This leads on to what is in my opinion the strongest moment of the album. Mass Attack Of The Lychantrope Legion. With sounds ranging from death metal to black metal, it features a keyboard in the background to add to the atmospheric feeling. The first guitar solo is stunningly melodic while the overall tone somehow manages to be depressing yet optimistic with anger and joy, all at the exact same time.
While keyboard is prevalent among melodic death metal bands, bands like Panzerchrist have often steered away from it. The use of this instrument against a traditional death metal sound is a good touch; it allows them to create a more epic feel which complements the war theme. Kill For Revenge makes stronger use of the keyboards near its conclusion. Combined with the slower guitar solo line it really adds a new flavour to the music.
The album nods its head to the bands entire career, elements of their early materials sound are fused with those from Regiment Ragnarok. This might be to acknowledge their 20th anniversary as a band, or it might be pure coincidence, but 7th Offensive has a bit of everything and something for everybody (by everybody I of course mean death metal fans, if you’re looking for a band to convert your friends, Panzerchrist may not be the band for you).