Around the world, today is a day of firsts, because a new year has begun to bloom. And so it is the first day when everything you do is the first thing you will do in 2024. Here at NCS, we have our first post of the new year, our first premiere, our first review, our first effort to help an extreme metal band begin tearing apart 2024 like the hated thing it will probably become.
And not just any extreme metal band, but one whose storied history began 30 years ago, took a decade-long pause, and then came roaring back in 2023. And yes, it was just last summer when the Danish death/black metal band Panzerchrist released their comeback album Last Of A Kind, which we proudly premiered here.
To prove that they have no intention of returning to hibernation, Panzerchrist are quickly following that album with a new EP named All Witches Shall Burn. Emanzipation Productions, the same label that brought forth the band’s auspicious comeback record, will be releasing the new EP on January 5th, and we’re again in the fortunate position of hosting a full stream today.
The new EP proves to be an excellent way of beginning 2024, because it will clear out the morning-after New Year’s Eve gunk from your head right damned fast.
All Witches Shall Burn was recorded during the same sessions with Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studios that brought forth Last Of A Kind, and thus Panzerchrist‘s lineup remains the same on the EP as it was on the album:
It includes founder and original member Michael Enevoldsen (bass and keyboards), in addition to returning guitarist Frederik O’Carroll (who was in the band between 2002 and 2006) and new members Sonja Rosenlund Ahl (vocals) and Danny Bo Pedersen (guitars), both of them from Arsenic Addict, and Danni Jelsgaard (drums) from Detest and Vansind.
What they’ve got for us this time are four tracks, beginning with a reprise of “Sabbath Of the Rat“, one of the strongest and scariest songs on Last Of A Kind. To borrow from what we’ve written about that one before, it’s a black/death terror — absolutely vicious, unmistakably evil, and relentlessly frightening in its conjoining of madness, cruelty, and agony.
It includes hellishly writhing and swarming riffage that sears the senses, obliterating percussive assaults, rumbling and thundering bass-lines, a weird and warping solo, and Sonja Rosenlund Ahl’s rabid, blood-freezing roars and screams. It also includes a less-maniacal and more mesmerizing melodic interlude whose ringing and wailing witchiness makes the track stand out even more.
If you haven’t already seen the video for that one, now’s your chance:
Panzerchrist follow that thoroughly blood-pumping and mind-altering song on the EP with three new ones, beginning with the contrast of “A Stone For The Graveless”. In this one the band switch gears, lurching and stomping forward instead of rampaging, bringing in some industrial elements, and interweaving riffs that create feelings of creeping illness and morbid gloom.
But the band also segue into tremolo’d chords that build dismal fevers as Sonja‘s voice burns flesh and cauterizes wounds. The music also rings and wails again, creating an atmosphere of chilling seduction and splendor, proving once again how adept Panzerchrist are at crafting mood-changing melodies — in addition to being raging destroyers.
They follow that one with “Satan Is Among Us”, and the music will make you think that’s indeed true. It begins with an intro that spawns visions of gothic horror and then boils over like a vat of sulphur. Of course, the buzzing and slithering riffage sticks in the head, but it’s also supremely evil, somehow ice-cold as well as deranged.
Big booming drums and whirring guitars and keys create images of infernal rituals, calling forth the Fallen One with stinking incense and fresh blood. The music seems to levitate in hellish glory.
“She’s A Witch” brings the EP to an end with another sudden change, introducing shimmering, abrading, and crashing ambient tones and a woman operatically singing, creating an aura of mystery and fear. Voices rise in dreadful cacophonies, the low end heaves, drums pound like timpani, and Panzerchrist summon horror without needing to convulse in paroxysms of violence. They have instead made a frightening sonic dream.
And so, the new EP proves to be a dynamic and varied affair, a good reminder of why Panzerchrist‘s return from the crypt is a very good thing.
Happy New Year!
Emanzipation Productions will release All Witches Shall Burn on January 5th on all digital platforms. For more info, check the links below. The music of Panzerchrist comes recommended for fans of God Dethroned, Vader, and Belphegor.