Morbe on April 17th, 2018
Trve Kvlt Raw Black Metal
Darkthrones Panzerfaust was one of the first black metal albums I listened too that had the heavy style riffing, mildly more produced guitars, and the underproduced vocals that are typical of raw black metal. This album is raw black metal at its finest. “Quintessence” drew me in with the unforgettable riff and the lyrics of pantheism, but the fast tremolos of “Hans sis vinter” and the ridiculously simple but effective riff on “Hordes of Nebula” is what kept me interested.
This album is really true black metal, Fenriz talked about how he and Nocturno wanted to keep black metal a niche and closed in “Slow and fucking heavy” style of playing, which I think is exemplified on this album, without losing out on instrumentation or creativity. The drums are simple at points but offer some of the best headbang-able rhythms I’ve heard out of the genre. As well as the long-held-note solos that ring with the riff in the back. Overall the composition of the music is simple, but effective. The vocal style fits it well, and is seemingly more tolerable (and distinguishable) than; say, Leviathan or Xasthur; or their contemporaries, like Burzum.
This album is powerful I think, it shows black metal at its roots. The heavy dissonant riffing and screamed, throaty vocals are all influencers in modern black metal. Similarly; the powerful overbearing volume and the typically simple drumming are all features on the album; which again, is reciprocated in modern black metal. Definitely a major album for the genre, perhaps part of the holy trinity of Darkthrone albums as a fourth successor to the sound of trve kvlt black metal.
There really isn’t much else to say about the album. Its raw black metal at its finest and helped leave a mark on the genre like so many others from that time period. Great album.
CrispyBaldy on April 1st, 2017
Panzerfaust is without a doubt one of Darkthrone's best works of black metal. It is somewhat of a departure from it's predecessor 'Transylvanian Hunger' although as Fenriz himself mentioned on the commentary track, there are certainly some ideas which remained from that album in tracks like 'En Vind Av Sorg'. However, it is clear that there was a much slower, more rhythmic approach taken to this record and there is a strong element of punk rock in play, especially in the drumming.
The vocals on this album are extremely raw and guttural, even more-so than on other releases. Some would perceive this as a negative but personally I loved these vocals and thought that they fitted the atmosphere of the album. I would say though that the vocals were turned up too high in the mix, drowning out the guitars at some points, but this was not a profound issue. There was an interesting spoken word song 'Sno Og Granskog (Utferd)' which had what I presume to be brass instruments (could've been a synthesizer preset though) playing in the background with Fenriz drumming atmospherically. It was different and refreshing at the end of the album but I'm glad that it was the only song of its kind on the record. The lyrics also worked very well on this album with plenty of biting Norwegian lyrics while I found myself laughing upon reading the English lyrics to the song 'Quintessance' which were unintentionally hilarious. For me at least, an excellent vocal performance by Nocturno.
The riffing on this album was brilliant at it's best and alright at it's worst. While there were several excellent melodic riffs on tracks like 'Hans Siste Vinter' and the aforementioned 'En Vind Av Sorg' as well as some brilliant rhythmic riffing on 'Quintessance' and 'The Hordes of Nebulah'. However, there were some more forgettable riffs on more punk songs like Triumphant Gleam. While they were by no means bad songs, they certainly weren't of very high quality.
The drumming was not the same continuous blast beat found on 'Transylvanian Hunger' but was much more rolled back and slow with some mid-paced punk-esque drumming as well as the occasional blast beat. Although for the most part it was "just there" there were some drum fills and even "drum-centric" passages in 'Sno Og Granskog'.
Overall this album was very dark (duh), atmospheric, rhythmic and moody (with a very good guitar tone) with some mix-related issues. Best songs: 'En Vind Av Sorg', 'Hans Siste Vinter' and 'Quintessance'.
Also, apologies if this review is a bit shit as it is my first one.
Lars_Stian on February 23rd, 2017
''Panzerfaust'' is quite a good album, with primitive and raw riffs, grim production and excellent songwriting, however there's one thing that holds it back from being truly amazing: The vocals. The first thing you'll notice is that Ted's vocals sound significantly different from other releases, and though some seem to like these vocals, I don't. Rather than doing the classic black metal shrieks, it simply sounds like he's drunkenly shouting, and it comes across as very lazy. And what makes it even worse, is the fact that the vocals are so predominant in the mix, so it's not easy to ignore how bad the vocals are.
That being said, ''Panzerfaust'' is quite the good album, apart from the vocals. Though there are traces from ''Transilvanian Hunger'', mainly seen on ''En Vind av Sorg'' and ''Hans Siste Vinter'', both excellent songs by the way, the riffs are very raw, stripped and simplistic. There's a very clear Celtic Frost influence (with a small hint of early Bathory). Most of the songs are quite slow paced, and sound nice and brutal. The songwriting is quite simplistic as well, as there's few riffs in each song, however this is made up for by each riff being great.
The production perfectly compliments the songwriting, as it is quite raw and cold. That isn't to say that it's hard to hear what's being played, however, as there's great clarity, and sounds similar to the production on ''Transilvanian Hunger''. ''Panzerfaust'' sounds a lot more aggressive than its predecessor, however.
Though the material itself is quite good, it's sadly somewhat ruined by the vocals. I would only recommend ''Panzerfaust'' to those already familiar with black metal, as well as with Darkthrone's other work, and it can take some time to be able to appreciate the incredible songwriting.
ConorFynes on October 30th, 2015
Even if Panzerfaust lacks the classic aura of the three (or even four) albums that came prior to it, there's no doubting the fact that the mid-90s belonged to Darkthrone. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto had invented a sound and aesthetic, then swiftly proceeded to reinvent it again and again, each time offering a new fresh glimpse into what palpable horrors black metal could wreak upon the unwitting listener's soul. Even listening to these albums a t a time where these albums have long since been canonized into the essential pantheon, I've always had the feeling that a lot of the magic happened by chance. This band had a bold and unnervingly unique way of approaching their craft, but the way it's played out in the music's lurid details could have turned out a hundred different ways. Fortunately for us as listeners and they as artists, the cold and wilfully sloppy risks they took with their presentation paid off like crazy.Panzerfaust really is the first time in Darkthrone's career where I think they made a real misstep. This doesn't have to do with the music itself, of course; you don't suddenly become a bad musician or songwriter overnight, and this album dropped only a year after Darkthrone had finished their punishing 'Unholy Trilogy' with the deceptively melodic Transilvanian Hunger. No, Darkthrone's real key has always been the manner in which they've realized their music. Each of the three before Panzerfaust were blissfully raw and rough, and Darkthrone had Soulside Journey before those to demonstrate that they could actually play with tact and polish-- they simply chose not to.
Anyway, the problem with Panzerfaust isn't that they took rawness too far, but that the wilful sloppiness began to give way to, well, actual sloppiness. Those complaining about the fact that Panzerfaust draws in as much from doom and punk as it does from black metal proper should stick to Transilvanian Hunger and stay blissfully unaware that Fenriz and Herr Nocturno have almost always been eclectic with their material. No, the real issue with Panzerfaust is that other glaring elephant in the room. A bad production can be good in certain cases, but a bad mix is always a bad mix. Can a review still be worth writing if it's just parroting the same thing everyone else has said? What were you thinking, Darkthrone? The vocals are mixed highly to the point where the riffs actually sound underwhelming by comparison. And as for the vocals themselves... Nocturno Culto was reportedly drunk as all hell while recording them, which would normally be a great thing and totally in keeping with the band's production aesthetic. Unfortunately, Mr. Culto's drunken yell lacks the frantic resonance and punch of the fantastic performances he'd given on albums past. The extent to which those vocals botch the mix is almost extreme enough to define the album as a whole.
To add insult to injury, Panzerfaust is otherwise a pretty great album. Even if it lacks the monolithic atmosphere of Under a Funeral Moon or Transilvanian Hunger, the eclecticism feels revived in a way from A Blaze in the Northern Sky. That album offered an all-expenses paid buffet of their influences, and I think the same thing could be said for Panzerfaust. The line between black metal and punk rock was becoming harder to distinguish once again, and Darkthrone weren't beyond embracing their doomy inklings full-force with this one. Although it doesn't have the black metal force of the albums before it, Darkthrone demonstrate such a palpable knowledge of proper doom atmosphere that it's an honest shame they've never made pursuing it their front-and-centre at one point or another. "Quintessence" earns top marks from me; it still suffers from the damnable mixing issue, but it's otherwise hard to fault a song agog with rich and atmospheric riffs.
I really wanted to like Panzerfaust more. I do enjoy it, and would never turn away from acknowledging the pros as much as the cons, but it is frustrating to hear an album that could (read:should) have been so much better if Darkthrone had decided not to purposefully sabotage their own music. If that was really their intention, I'd say they only half-succeeded. It's enough to pull Panzerfaust from ever being considered a great album in my books, but not nearly enough to defame to the level of the lukewarm bands the duo went on to influence. Oh well.
MRmehman on September 11th, 2015
A True Tank-Killer
For some reason, Panzerfaust is an album that never got the respect it deserved. While people have warmed up to it very much, it still isn't hard to find people. This is Black Sabbath if Black Sabbath were pissed off Norwegians who knew Euronymous. Panzerfaust isn't trying to be the next Transylvanian Hunger, it isn't trying to grow Darkthrone's audience, shit, it isn't even trying to sound sober but what it lacks in raw black metal, it makes up for in it's doom-drenched riffs.
Panzerfaust is full of great, buzzing guitars, churning out some excellent and surprisingly catchy chords. The big hitters for me in these categories being "Triumphant Gleam" and "Quintessence", the former also having some of Darkthrone's best drumming, with Fenriz discarding the usual black metal beats in exchange for a slightly slower but still pounding kicks and snares that really make the song come to life as an anthem of war. I also really enjoy the closing track "Snø og granskog", it's an eerie chant spoken by Fenriz and it works incredibly well.
There really isn't a bad song here, everything is just as heavy as its always been, just now it more doom-inspired black metal, instead of death-inspired black metal, which I think I prefer a little bit.
Unfortunately, while the instrumentation is as good as it's ever been, the vocals are really crap in comparison to Darkthrones other albums. Culto was supposedly drunk while recording them, and I guess Fenriz was high enough to not make him some eggs or something and make him record them later. The vocals feel like they're from completely different songs, all out of time and just weird. Culto's vocal depth has also been lost, which is a shame as he usually makes use of many different techniques that make his performances come to life. To be fair, some of the later songs do sound a little more sober but not by much. It's an interesting sound, but it really doesn't pay off.
As well as that, did we really need another track written by Varg? I mentioned before that I liked "Quintessence" but the lyrics just don't fit with the rest of the album that well in my opinion. Varg should just stick to writing his own stuff where he has control of the song that fits around it.
For all I've said, Panzerfaust is a hard album to summarise. If you loved Darkthrones previous work, or even didn't like it all that much, this album is still worth your time. It's an excellent blend of genres and a great accompaniment to Transylvanian Hunger.
Sigillum_Dei_Ameth on February 24th, 2012
"Get the fuck off my lawn, damn kids" - Fenriz
Darkthrone fans are fucking fickle. They constantly change at the drop of the hat by Fenriz's word and are the first to start saying "Black Metal sucks" yet were the very same reason why Darklthrone has been trying to get away from the genre for their past few albums and essentially telling the entire genre that the game is pretty much over and done with. Well this isn't the FIRST time they have tried to do this sort of thing. And I don't mean by changing genres with 'Ablaze"...no, I'm speaking about telling BM to basically piss off. They did this at the height of their creative peak in the mid 90's in the form of an album that generally is not well-recognized. I mean, yeah it exists and fans KNOW that it does, but because of the album that came before it, it doesn't get the attention it deserves and damn it it deserves just about as much praise as their unholy trinity ("Ablaze/Under/Transilvanian"). "Panzerfaust" is an album that is basically uglier than all of those albums combined. It doesn't let up on the feeling that you are being shouted at by an aging old man in a wheelchair, hunched over, just about to be touched by death himself, while shitting his pants and telling kids to get the hell away from him.
First thing to be noted; don't expect "Transilvanian Hunger" Even though the first song "En Vind Ar Sorg" sounds like a left-over, it's to set you up for what is to come with the rest of the album. It's the calm before the storm of fucking RIFFS and I do mean RIFFS from metal hell. Because shortly after that song we are subjected to what could be the best Celtic Frost-worship album next to Dream Death's "Journey Into Mystery." "Triumphant Gleam"??? That intro riff is the same intro riff to Celtic Frost's "The Usurper" and the CF worship doesn't stop there. "The Hordes Of Nebulah"....one word: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!! Oh motherfuck me, it doesn't get any heavier than this song. The song is more Hellhammer-influenced with a dash of possibly early Paradise Lost/Dream Death as far as the doom influence goes. "Hans siste vinter" is really the only other song that is a leftover from "Transylvania Hunger" almost to the point where you might call it "En Vind Ar Sorg Prt. 2." "Beholding The Throne Of Might" goes right back into the doom-ridden Hellhammer influence and the truly epic finale of "Panzerfaust" is the song "Quintessence" that takes the doomy-as-fuck song "The Hordes of Nebula" to even more doomier lengths. How that is even possible, I don't know but they pull if off. One might say that "Quintessence" is a more somber/depressed-sounding cousin to the ever-fucking-pissed and angry sounding "Hordes..."....and at last we come to the weirdest way to ever end a Darkthrone album. "Snø Og Granskog" is an instrumental/spoken word track. Imagine early Mortiis ala "Født til å Herske" with deep Norse vocals and that's what you would get. Essentially "Snø Og Granskog" is an old poem by Tarjei Vesaas. I have no clue to as what this poem may have in relation to the music, but feel-wise you get the idea of who the real kings of Norway are as far as music goes. The horns, tribal drum sounds.....it's all very fitting.
Lyrically wise, and this is something that I forgot to touch upon. It's definitely the angriest. Remember this is the album before "Total Death" which was essentially Darkthrone having all the other well-know Norway bands basically write their own album for them. You can definitely hear the levels of pure misanthropic frustration and general hatred Fenriz and Nocturno Culo have for their fellow man. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to feel Nocturno and Fenriz's scorn when reading lyrics such as this;
"For the eternal slaves
The envy of losers so indeed upon losers themselves
And destruction upon the holy man
Who hails a Jew
We are (the) future now
Be desecration master
Be the hammer
The hammer" - "Beholding The Throne Of Might"
There's also some lyrics that might suggest a bit of, dare I say 'soul-searching', or in the case of these Nord's.....a search for even further isolation which just re-affirms for their unobtainable level of misanthropy:
"Oh, We are the Hordes of Nebula
Having Traveled through an Eternal Sea of Void
We glance upon a distant light
Star in the Far; Ye Mighty Sun
Will you Die before We reach you?" - "The Hordes of Nebula"
The only thing that I do not tend to agree with everyone on this is the sound production. Folks, this is a Darkthrone album. This is the band that carried the torch of lo-fi sounding albums into the 90's. I mean if these so-called "TR00 METAL WARRIORS" with their cut little kvttle jackets they post on tshirtslayer.com all the time just to compare the same 50 million patches everyone has, are complaining about the sound production on a fucking Darkthrone album then why in Satan's name would they also say listen to Sodom's "Obsessed By Cruelty", or Sarcofago's "I.N.R.I." for that matter??? This is what Metal is supposed to be; raw, ugly, uncaring, in-your-face, and going against the grain which Darkthrone has been doing long before these assholes started stroking themselves over Xasthur 2 years ago.
In short; it's a definite album any Darkthrone fan should have. It's a must-have. It's the angriest and possible most misanthropic album they've ever created, and....what else....it's a fucking Darkthrone album. Nuff said. Get it and worship it's ugliness.
Noktorn on February 20th, 2010
i'm not entirely sure about this
This is a weird, polarizing album. Let's go through some of its issues point by point:
1. The vocals are too loud. This is hard to dispute but it's also only an occasional grievance; it feels like Nocturno Culto kept swaying too close and then too far from the mike (though mainly the former), so they're at a very inconsistent volume. Compounding that, the instruments are pretty quiet, especially the guitars, which sucks because there's some fantastic riffs on this release.
2. There's a massive, abrupt split in the songwriting on this album between stuff that naturally extends the sound heard on 'Transilvanian Hunger', with melodic riffs and droning construction such as 'n Vind Av Sorg' and much rawer, more dissonant tracks like 'Quintessence' which honestly sound like they were written in the 'Under A Funeral Moon' era but only recorded later. It would be hard to explain how such completely different tracks are found on the same album, and as a result the listening experience is choppy and moreover the album comes across as a collection of random tracks more than as a coherent work.
3. Not much of the material here is as strong or memorable as that on the previous three albums. Sorry, but while this is definitely good and a worthy part of the Darkthrone pantheon, this is absolutely not as effective as the unholy trinity.
With all that out of the way, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this release. I would like it a great deal more if the band had chosen one direction or another with the album's structure: either continue 'Transilvanian Hunger''s melodic sound or regress but elaborate on the dissonance of 'Under A Funeral Moon'. It's very hard to take this as a complete album; the very questionable recording values and structure of the album in general really does make this come off as a compilation of b-sides.
That being said, some of the tracks, particularly 'En Vind Av Sorg' and 'The Hordes Of Nebulah' are undoubtedly Darkthrone classics. The former's elaboration on the melodic ideas present in the previous album and the uncompromising Celtic Frost emulation of the latter both make for excellent songs which absolutely stand the test of time. The rest are good but tend towards the unremarkable; I suppose one could say that this album is the sound of Darkthrone settling down into a fairly comfortable pattern of songwriting, but the sheer weirdness of 'Panzerfaust', it suggests to me that the band was in a tumultuous, confused period, lacking a precise direction after the jewel that was their previous release. The fact that Fenriz wrote the entire album just increases the questions; where was Nocturno Culto on this?
This is still a worthwhile part of one's Darkthrone collection, but it's certainly not up there with the classics the band put out. If one only needs Darkthrone's essential works to be happy, the previous three will suffice, but anyone with more than a passing interest in the band or black metal in general will want to grab this as well. There's enough quality on here to make it a very worthwhile curio, even if the work's overall coherency leaves much to be desired.
autothrall on January 26th, 2010
Be the Hammer
1995 may have seen a shift from the more visible Peaceville Records to the little known Moonfog Productions (Satyr of Satyricon), but there was no shift in Darkthrone's dedication to spawning blasphemous, cold filth into the scene, which is what Panzerfaust, their 5th longplayer, represents. At this point the black metal movement was in full swing, bands choosing sides and drawing the line between 'keeping the faith' (Burzum and Darkthrone) or breaking the bank (Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir), and the church burnings and murders of Euronymous were the gossip of the world. Meanwhile, melodic death metal and gothic metal were also taking off, with labels snapping bands up in a frenzy once more to cash in before the trends were spent.
Thus, it was only fitting that Fenriz and Nocturno Culto release their harshest record yet, an album that returns to the Hellhammer worship of their earlier years, and to some extent leaving behind the monotonous, rampant brilliance of Transilvanian Hunger. Once more, Fenriz was responsible for all the instruments here, and he sought a more dynamic, if primal tone to the tracks, grim as a family of cute forest animals cut off from their normal food and water supplies, starved and frozen to death slowly over the winter months. Where before the similarities to Celtic Frost were in the riffs alone, here the guitar tone actually sounds the closest to the source, with the band's simple, psycho bends and drudging chords, but this aesthetic is not dominant throughout the entire playtime, as there are some faster songs. The band also returned to English lyrics for the most part, with three exceptions on this album.
Opener "En Vind Av Svorg" actually seems like a direct continuation of Transilvanian Hunger, with a faster beat and streams of haunting notes that feel like sunlight escaping through a woodland canopy, its boughs and branches littered with rime and decay. There is no change in pace until about 3:45, where the beat remains driven but the guitar transforms into this great, grooving death metal riff. "Triumphant Gleam" is quite derivative of Celtic Frost, to the point it feels like you just put on your Morbid Tales vinyl and realized there was a bonus track you hadn't noticed prior...save for Nocturno Culto's barking, tortured vocals. This might actually bother me if the song weren't so goddamned excellent, in particular the sparse, doomed chords that barrel out beyond 1:30. "The Hordes of Nebulah" continues this pace, a crawling, evil riff which sounds like a corpse evaporating, its ghost dispersing into the air while the flesh flowers with maggots and vines, all in painful slow motion:
'Oh, Father Fog of Nebula
your faithful children have escaped
The Walls of Eternity
The Elders Curse-
like Snow of the Solstice of the Sun'
Ever wanted to get stoned to a Darkthrone track but just couldn't find that perfect track on any of the previous albums? Well, this is the one, so light 'em. "Hans Siste Vinter" returns again to the Transilvanian Hunger formula, a steady driving beat through about two riffs. It's entertaining for about two minutes, but this is one of the tracks I could have used less of, or rather, it could have used a little more deviation. The central riff is simply not as immersive as the material on the previous album, so it can't keep you strapped in for the entire ride. "Beholding the Throne of Might" has another big Celtic Frost groove, and another testament to how Darkthrone can take the most asinine, simplistic riffs and transform them into a huge, unforgettable shitstorm of torment and melancholy. As the guitar chugs over the basic fret pattern, you can feel the black ichor rising from within, ready to be retched forth like a human sprinkler. In short, it rocks, and the little descending guitar melody is perfectly placed before the 3:00 mark, before the pace picks up into a bruising rhythm.
"Quintessence" is the album's longest track, with a majestic slower riff that recalls to me the early work of Tiamat (up to Clouds), but with the obvious difference in vocals. There are only about 2-3 shifts in the guitars throughout the track, so at over 7:30 in length, you would suspect it gets boring, but it surprisingly doesn't, since the purity of the central rhythm causes one to look forward to it repeatedly. "Snø Og Granskog (Utferd)" is something very different for Darkthrone, a martial ambient piece with some bombastic, synthesized horns and Fenriz' folk vocals over sparse percussion. I remember needing a few spins to acclimate myself to it, but it's pretty charming if you give in to it, though possibly belonging more to one of Fenriz' other projects than here (Neptune Towers, Storm, Isengarde, etc.)
Panzerfaust is a pretty interesting crossroads for Darkthrone. After all, most would consider it the first album beyond their 'classic' era (1991-1994), and many bands don't survive a few albums out. Landing right in the center of the decade, i.e. the 'death of metal' years (for those who didn't know where to look), it seems a refreshing blast of black energy, completely anathema to the trend of the day, which involved more melodic guitars, an increased symphonic presence, and trying to bridge the 'accessibility gap' to bring new listeners into the fold. It was clear that one band (at least) would survive all this change and keep things to a minimum, and here is the proof.
Highlights: Triumphant Gleam, The Hordes of Nebulah, Beholding the Throne of Might, Quintessence
hells_unicorn on May 2nd, 2009
A step up and a step forward.
One could say that this album was born out of controversy, or more specifically out of Darkthrone’s inability to avoid the controversy that had exploded within the scene they helped pioneer. It tells the tale of a band that essentially had to start over almost at square one without label support and continue on without the means to lead a music scene that had spread far beyond their little slice of frozen heaven in the tree ridden land of Norway. But with a little help from good old Satyr’s small label and a strong dose of convention destroying, rebellious energy, “Panzerfaust” was put together.
The general approach taken by most bands who attempt to reestablish themselves is to take a sort of compilation approach and play up the glory days of their past, usually discovering a new sound in the process. This album essentially does the same thing, taking bits and pieces from each of the 3 parts of their Peaceville black metal trilogy and merging them into a dark and chaotic, yet very much methodical album that demonstrates the raw spirit and versatility of black metal. Not a whole lot of new ground is broken on here, but in terms of songwriting this is definitely among the finer moments of their post-Peaceville career.
One of Darkthrone’s unique qualities is that in spite of the general approach of rawness in their production practices, there is a good deal of variety from album to album in terms of sound character. “Panzerfaust” is probably the rawest and most animalistic of the band’s offerings, owing to an extremely dry, heavy and very much present drum production, which is a big departure from their last 3 albums. The guitar sound is a little bit warmer than previous efforts, coming to something of a middle heavy tone that brings to mind the dew on an early autumn morning rather than the permafrost, dead of winter character of “Under A Funeral Moon” and “Transylvanian Hunger”. Nocturno’s voice has also been brought into greater prominence, just falling short of crossing the line between being aggressive and being overbearing, coming off as a crazed wolf, frothing at the mouth before a kill.
Although this definitely takes a step away from the rabid simplicity of “Transylvanian Hunger”, this album still exhibit’s a dominant character of droning. Riffs are repeated heavily and are few in number, although the riffs themselves do not sit only on a melodic tremolo drone but also incorporate Hellhammer styled pre-thrash riffs in a similar manner as “Under A Funeral Moon”, though the radical difference in production here makes the songs come off with a bit of a traditional doom feel. “En Vind Av Sorg” sounds mostly like a more elaborate and technical variation on the title track of the previous album, while “Hans Siste Vinter” is a little plainer and closer to copying the model on said album. “The Hordes Of Nebulah” plays off the elaborate tempo changes that made “Under A Funeral Moon” so intricate, though the tempo changes have been exaggerated a little.
Most of the rest of the music contained on here sort of reaches back to the Celtic Frost character of “A Blaze In The Northern Sky”, albeit without the technical detailing that made that album as strong as it was. There’s a nice little guitar solo on “Triumphant Gleam” which showcases Fenriz’s ability to break out of repetitive riff work when he feels like it, although it goes nowhere near the intricacy of what was heard out of Zephyrous and Culto on the first 2 albums of the black trilogy. But otherwise, things sort of stay in a droning variation of the style that was heard in 1992. The formula breaks into an odd interlude before ending on the final song, where Fenris shows off his interest in ambient music with a little poem reading over top a series of synthesized brass sounds and drum noise. It’s not so much a menacing narration in the same way that the intro to “Kathaarian Life Code” was, but more of a mysterious and somewhat bizarre auditory experience.
Generally speaking, there are three conclusions that are usually drawn by those who encounter this album. The first is that it is the last worthwhile album by a band who had a short run at glory in the early 90s and is now irrelevant. The second is that it is a sort of amazing masterwork that successfully combined all of the strongest elements of the 3 previous albums. The third is that it is a weak afterthought by a band that lost their steam after being ejected from their label. Essentially all of these viewpoints are wrong. This is more of a new beginning for a band that saw the old ways of black metal coming to an end and began searching for a new sound. It’s not their greatest work, nor is it by any standard a weak work, but more of a strong work that would pave the way for a series of stylistic twists and turns. Like many in the original Norwegian 2nd wave, this band is made up musicians who are not content with repeating themselves or hanging up their nail spiked gauntlets, a band who seek to explore the limits of their genre rather than live in the past.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 2, 2009.
Abominatrix on January 7th, 2008
A musical hodge-podge united by a common theme
A pretty climactic year had passed for the lads in Darkthrone. They had just released their most ambient and controversial album, "Transilvanian Hunger", which absolutely purged all traces of death and thrash metal from their music. They were unceremoniously dropped by the usually-forward-looking Peaceville Records after the label executives seemed to get cold feet over some doubtlessly flamboyant and inebriated statements from the band. With that, out walks Zephyrous into total obscurity (or so it seems), and Darkthrone is left as a duo who convinces the little guy who calls himself Satyr to release their next album on the fledgeling Moonfog Productions. Darkthrone hold back no punches here, making yet more flamboyant statements in the album insert about exactly how much the people who thought they were a political band need to fuck off, yet also revealing their (or at least, Herr Nagell's) sense of humour just a bit. In many ways, this album feels like a bit of a rush job, because it lacks the coherent direction of previous works, yet it actually gains strength through its somewhat schizophrenic nature. It also happens to be the most grandiose album in Darkthrone's discography.
This is certainly no Isengard, and the recording itself is uniform in sound. This is mostly a great thing, because the guitar and drum sound is, to put it bluntly, fantastic. I've always felt that Darkthrone knew exactly what they were doing in the studio and managed to get an interesting and distinct sound out of almost every one of their albums. Here, the drums have a muted but very heavy, natural thump, and the guitar tracks seem to exude the intoxicating, thick aroma of damp soil. You might almost say it's a "warm" sound, and seems a deliberate contrast to the very trebbly "Transilvanian Hunger", where despite the prevalence of high-midrange frequencies Nocturno Culto's bass-playing was distinctly audible. Here, the lower-midrange tones of the guitar has been emphasised, sacrificing the four-string anchor, but it's not needed here as the guitars simply sound so vibrant and ... alive. I feel that while "Transilvanian Hunger" was insidiously hateful and melancholic, "Panzerfaust" is a coursing, prancing beast, jaws flecked with foam and eyes alight with primordial intelligence. It's an exuberant album, in its black metal context.
The schizophrenia I alluded to earlier becomes clear once one has had time to digest the record and its implications. There are three distinct sounds, directions, or chapters to the "Panzerfaust" musical experience. The first that manifests is the melodic, melancholy-ridden progressions that made up the entirety of "Transilvanian Hunger". The songs "En Vind av Sorg" and "Hans Siste Vinter" might well be leftovers from the previous album's writing period. They are characterised by hypnotic, cycling short melody lines that wind and burrow into the cranium, with the endlessly "polkapolkapolkapolka"-ing percussion of Fenriz providing the pulse that simultaneously grounds the listener and opens his mind to receive the gnosis. The latter song seems to feature a single riff, but it is so beautiful and memorable that its nearly five-minute duration seems concluded in a trice, and the fade-out is slow and seems drawn out with exquisite deliberation (yes, that often-unnoticed Darkthrone ear for detail again). The effect is awesome, as you strain to continue hearing the song's melody and message long after the guitar has nearly ceased to be audible at all. "En Vind av Sorg" is a bit more harmonic and makes use of a few similarly patterned melodic ideas, dropping into a surprising, monstrous metal riff toward the end with a killer guitar slide .. the sort of thing that the band would *never* have placed on "Transilvanian Hunger". This is a phenomenal effect, because the rest of the song simply drips sorrow whereas the aforementioned metallic collossus of a riff (it's so simple, too!) is the transformation, the woeful man turning to rage for his solace as he drops to all fours and begins to transmogrify, bloodlust filling his heart. I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about the vocals. They're ugly, and there's no way around it. Unapologetically loud, unhindered and up-close without a hint of the usual Darkthrone echo effect to be found anywhere, Nocturno sounding stoned out of his mind to the point where you can almost see the drool spattering from his lips. I like them quite a lot, myself, but can relate a little to those who find them gratuitous or wish that someone would at least have turned the volume down in the studio. In the end though, I really can't imagine "Panzerfaust" being as good without those nasty and unique snarls.
I'm tackling the three segments of "Panzerfaust" in order of their appeal, from greatest to least, and so we come to the middle-tier, the Hellhammer-ish dirges. Again, there are two of these in number, and they're both incredibly strong in their own right. "The Hordes of Nebulah" is sluggish and menacing, Nocturno Culto's fingers seeming to have expanded to the thickness of large tree branches so that every chord must be picked out with entirely too much effort and concentration. The song has great lyrics and those riffs have about them the stench of necrophilia. "Quintessence" almost deserves a paragraph all to itself. It actually sounds more like Burzum than Hellhammer, and is without a doubt the most over-the-top, monstrous song Darkthrone has ever written, and I admit that I laugh almost every time I listen to it .. but it's laughter of joy and zeal rather than derision, because who the hell knows how they thought they could get away with this, but they did it and it turned out to be one of the most memorable, anthemic songs in the canon of black metal. A slow, prideful riff of infinite simplicity and majesty that slides up to a different key but never really changes much. Drums that pound ponderously like the gait of an unstoppable behemoth. Nocturno Culto roars and groans out lyrics penned by Varg of Burzum about indomitable will to survive and thrive overcoming the adversities of man and nature. The song builds to a sort of climax at which everything stops to make way for screaming feedback, a descending orgy of tom-bashing and our satanic emissary getting so wrapped up and carried away by this expression of ideal that his vocals definitely bare the suggestion of predatory, sexual release, before the song returns to its original key and the narrative resumes at a calmer (well, comparatively calm, for this album) pitch. I think it's a neat little coup de grace that Fenriz only really begins to vary up his drumming and make things "spicey" when the song is already fading out, suggesting, perhaps, that the striding beast still continues in his journey though his hymn be concluded for the present. If the vocals in this piece are too much for you, you can here what is almost a much tamer version of the song on the Storm album. I guess that riff was just too good not to recycle.
Then we have the third section, the Celtic Frost tribute songs, and this is to my mind the least notable part of "Panzerfaust". The songs are quite good for what they are, and the riffs are certainly nice and complemented well by that exquisite guitar sound. However, Darkthrone haven't really tread this path since the "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" days, and when they did, they made sure to inject a good helping of their original formula into the fray. "Beholding the Throne of Might" sounds like "In the Shadow of the Horns" without as many cool parts, and "Triumphant Gleam" sounds a bit like an embryonic out-take of something from "To Mega Therion", perhaps "Fainted Eyes". The conviction is still present in spades, but all the same these two pieces are lacking in something that almost made "Panzerfaust" a superb rather than a good album in Darkthrone's catalogue. The epilogue is Fenriz's responsibility, and it is a suitably eerie synth piece (the only time Darkthrone would try something like this) played with a brass patch and overlaid with sinisterly-spoken Norwegian poetry and rolling tom accents.
Despite the feeling of odd juxtaposition I occasionally get from this album, on an ideological level it does seem to convey a unified message. I'd call this a most noble and triumphant record, and when it's at it's best it really is among the greatest in Darkthroen's achievements, while the mediocre material doesn't really detract from the over-all experience and provides some catchiness that the rest of the work mostly lacks. It is certainly necessary that anyone even remotely interested in Darkthrone have this in their collection, and it is an effective bridge between the more riff-heavy, rhythmic style of 80s death/thrash that inspired Darkthrone and the original, cold Norse black metal aesthetic.
Perplexed_Sjel on November 1st, 2007
Time For Clichés.
The year 1995 signalled the end of an era for me. It was the year the last decent Darkthrone full-length graced the public with it's uncompromising style. Panzerfaust represents the last of the Darkthrone material which is good enough to be seen under their name.
It takes the style of Transilvanian Hunger and attempts to progressively alter it. Although Panzerfaust doesn't quite live up to the previous Darkthrone release, it does it's job effectively and with ease. This is just another black metal album which relies heavily on creating atmosphere to appeal to the listener. Some might say it relies too heavily on this one element to pull it through and make it something special. That is somewhat true. Panzerfaust is by no means fantastic, but it's decent. Something which cannot be said about the vast majority of Darkthrone's material. Considering the fact that it's been over a decade since this full-length was released and since then all the public have heard is an awful change in sound, style and approach by Darkthrone, it's incredibly hard to write a positive review in the knowledge of how their career turned out.
This, like Transilvanian Hunger, is about repetitive riffs and percussion sections. This is done in order to achieve a certain atmospheric sound, one that Darkthrone pull off well. It's bleak, cold and dark. Not to the same extent as previous albums, but it's close enough to those elements to become enjoyable to listen to. The vocals are quite poor. They fail to live up to the standard Darkthrone previously set themselves. They're scratchy, much like the production, and they lack any real spark to be considered any different to any other mediocre black metal performance on vocals.
The production isn't as harsh as we've seen. Darkthrone either suit reasonably clear production with immense atmospheric qualities, or a harsh lo-fi production. Panzerfaust displays neither. It's somewhere in-between, which one does not want to hear. It doesn't enhance the atmospheric nature like the repetitive guitars do, in actual fact it doesn't really have much purpose. This is a striking negative on latter Darkthrone albums. A sheer lack of purpose and soulless material, Panzerfaust can display this at times.
To put it simply, this is the beginning of the end for Darkthrone as we know it. Funnily enough, as I wrote that, I heard the vocals say, "We're the future". Unfortunately not, no.
CannibalCorpse on May 14th, 2007
A Missed Opportunity
Holy shit, this guy is annoying. Seriously, Nocturno Culto sounds like shit on here
He's croaking his way through the album (trying to do a Tom G. Warrior impression) and he's far too fucking loud in the mix. The absolute worst vocal performance on this album can be found in "Quintessence", where he's probably trying to sound original by emulating about 15 different forest animals, but fails miserably. I don't know what possessed his mind, but you need to listen for yourself to understand.
The most annoying fact is that the music contained on "Panzerfaust" is actually pretty strong. Great tremolo-picked melodies share their space with Hellhammer/Celtic Frost-esque proto-thrash riffs and fitting drum work. Therefore, "Panzerfaust" is a pretty catchy album, not only relying on atmosphere, but also on the aforementioned riff craft.
Fenriz’ drumming might not be too technically demanding, but one could say that he's instantly recognizable. Blastbeats aren't the main focus here, which does help in letting the riffs shine. Yeah, these riffs are definitely the album's saving grace, especially in songs like "En Vind Av Sorg" and "Hans Siste Vinter".
Stylistically, "Panzerfaust" is slowly moving away from the sound featured on earlier albums, but is not exactly exploring new ground either. Instead, Darkthrone took a wide step back to their earliest influences (the aforementioned Hellhammer/Celtic Frost) and tried to combine them with their original sound. They succeeded for the most part, but sometimes the worship is just a tad too obvious.
The simplicity of earlier albums is also less prevalent here, leaving room for more technically demanding compositions. Best examples are the more advanced tremolo-picked melodies in “En Vind Av Sorg” and the more oldschool-sounding “Triumphant Gleam”.
Apart from the extremely annoying vocal mix, the production job is an improvement over their earlier works, granting a more accessible, organic sound, which fits the compositions rather well, without being even remotely “clean” in the modern sense of the word.
I checked this album out because I wanted to see what the fuzz was all about and while I agree with this being a rather good album, I see Nocturno Culto's lack of vocal ability as a severe negative point. Without him, "Panzerfaust" could have been close to being essential, but now it simply serves as a perfect example of a missed opportunity.
Valleys_Of_Hades on April 6th, 2006
A step down from Transilvanian Hunger
Here’s where Darkthrone lost much of their originality. Panzerfaust is often hailed by many as the one of the greatest, if not, the greatest Darkthrone album ever released. But I disagree. Why? Well, remember how I stated many times before that Darkthrone was influenced highly by extreme Metal bands of the 80s? Well, this isn’t the case here, with the exception of one band. Panzerfaust is nothing but a carbon copy of Celtic Frost’s first two albums. There aren’t even any Sodom or Bathory influences to be heard here. Most of the material here sounds exactly like something Celtic Frost would have released back in ‘84 or ‘85.
Now, I do like Celtic Frost a lot, but if you’re going to take an influence from a band, I don’t think that copying their entire damn style is the right thing to do. I mean, people claim that Usurper, a Death/Thrash Metal band from Chicago, is a Celtic Frost rip-off. But what about this? Despite my rant, there are a few elements on this album that differ from the traditional Frost style. For one, the vocals are completely insane. Nocturno Culto sounds NOTHING like he did on the previous Darkthrone albums. Instead of that evil, harsh, raspy shriek that he commonly used before, his vocals sound more angry here than anything, sort of…punk-ish might I say? And if you thought that the vocals from Under A Funeral Moon were far too high in the mix, then just check these out! The vocal mix here is almost twice as loud as the mix on Under A Funeral Moon, although they don’t contain the reverb that the vocals on that album had.
Another difference would be that a few tracks do stand out as a reminisce of Transylvanian Hunger, consisting of repetitive tremolo guitar picking overlining a constant pace in the drum patterns. Still, I think that Darkthrone could have layed off of the Frost influence a bit. Seriously though, this record is RAW! RAW I tell you! RAW! There’s very little atmosphere to be heard here. This is more straight up, blackened thrash Metal from the 80s the way Celtic Frost used to do it. There are even some doomy parts to the album, meaning that Darkthrone layed off the “all open strings” rule for a bit, blasting out several moments of thick and heavy riffs the way, of course, Celtic Frost used to do them. See what I mean? They overdid it with the Frost influences, but that’s not to say that this is a bad album or that it isn’t enjoyable. There are still some trademark, Darkthrone elements here, meaning that this album isn’t completely unoriginal. This isn’t anywhere near as repetitive and/or minimal as Transylvanian Hunger or even Under A Funeral Moon. It’s more along the lines of A Blaze In The Northern Sky without the other extreme Metal influences.
The opening track, En Vind Av Sorg, sounds more like something left off of Transylvanian Hunger. It’s got the exact same vibe of that album, though overall less impressive. The vocals are incredibly upfront and in-your-face, giving off a true vibe of hate and anger. Unlike Transylvanian Hunger though, this track manages to spew forth a bit more riff variety under the chaotic overtones of the music. The English translation of the title is One Wind Of Sorrow. Now Triumphant Gleam sounds EXACTLY like Celtic Frost with hasher vocals. To be honest, this is nothing short of an 80s Doom/Thrash Metal tune with some trademark, Darkthrone overtones, which of course, are barely present. In fact, if you were to eliminate the vocals from this track and play it, you’d probably assume that this was something off of Celtic Frosts’ Morbid Tales or To Mega Therion albums. This is still a good song though, just nothing great. I’d rather just listen to Celtic Frost instead. The Hordes Of Nebulah is another very Doom Metal based track with the obvious Celtic Frost influences. Ever heard Celtic Frost’s Procreation Of The Wicked? Well, that’s pretty much what this song sounds like. The vocals, of course, just sound much angrier and overall more harsh. Needless to say, this song is HEAVY in all caps! So yes, this is a great song. Original? Not exactly, but this is some great shit.
Hans Siste Vinter is my favorite song off the album. Yes, it does strongly have that Transylvanian Hunger vibe to it, much similar to this album’s opening track as well, but the difference here is that this one has some incredible atmosphere. Okay, so the mood and atmosphere isn’t as intense as one would find it to be on Transylvanian Hunger, but at least this song doesn’t reek with Celtic Frost clonage. The English translation of the title is His Last Winter. Beholding The Throne Of Might is another doomy, heavy as all hell track in the exact vein of old Hellhammer and Celtic Frost (duh!). The first half of the song consists of thick, heavy, chugging riffs that drag along slowly in a fit of death and despair. Pretty soon though, the song begins to thrash things up similar to…yup, you guessed it, Celtic fucking Frost, or even Sodom or Venom for that matter. In other words, it’s a great fusion of old school punk and thrash Metal, which is something that all three of those bands did back in the 80s.
With Quintessence, I guess the band chose to leave the guitar strings opened for the entirety of this song. To be honest, this track kind of bores me. It’s not entirely bad, but I could have dealt without it on the album. It’s all slow paced, but let me say something; if you’re going to make a slow song that‘s NOT a ballad, make sure the riffs are nice and heavy. Look to Beholding The Throne Of Might or The Hordes Of Nebulah for some GREAT examples of that formula. Like I said, this isn’t a bad song, but it does tend to bore me quite a bit. The last track, Snø Og Granskog (Utferd), is a weird way to end the album off. There’s some…trumpet playing the background? Actually, this entire song consists of ONLY this trumpet like instrument, along with some guy saying some shit in Norwegian that I cannot understand. Sounds like he’s preaching or something. Maybe I could have guessed what he was saying if the English translation of this title was available. I can’t seem to find it! So I have no idea what the title even means. Well, this is an interesting ending to the album, despite how weird it may be.
Panzerfaust marked the end of Darkthrone’s glory. At least that’s how I view it, as well as most other people too, I’m sure. If you liked any of Darkthrone’s previous releases after Soulside Journey, then you’re bound to like this. Or even if you’re just a casual fan of 80s Death and Thrash Metal, you might even get into this as well. I also forgot to mention that this was the last album with Zephyrous in the band. It’s still unknown to this day as to why he left. Both Nocturno Culto and Fenriz refuse to speak about it in interviews when the question is brought up as to why he left. So now Darkthrone was only down to two members. Could the band survive? Well, I’ll elaborate more on that on my next album review for the band.
namelessheretic on January 13th, 2006
another Darkthrone masterpiece
Production: Rough, but has the feel of a giant throwing you through the dark excitement of battle.
"En Vind av Sorg" picks up right where "Transilvanian Hunger" left off; and it is one of the most mystical, enchanting, intriguing, other worldly songs this reviewer has ever heard. One may get the feeling of standing in a forest, arms outstretched, while everything whips around you; your body and soul channeling the energy of the universe while being in awe of the surreal aspects of creation.
With "Triumphant Gleam" and "The Hordes of Nebulah" the album switches gears, taking on a very strong Celtic Frost influence, executing it with perfection. "Triumphant Gleam" is what I envision as a war parade of victory, but unlike the happy, confetti, float filled victory parties of WWII, this parade celebrates the victors as they crush any possible on-lookers. "The Hordes of Nebulah" is like a mud stomp through hell; filled with a confidence that must be similar to what immortality feels like. The album as a whole switches back and forth between mystical surrealism and in-your-face battle cries.
Instruments here are played with a combination of minimal yet aggressive phrases; distorted guitar crunch, but overall expanded into a space of giant sound. The random use of unpredictable lead guitar adds a tone of sinister viciousness, showing how these songs can evolve into a romantic influenced aura of structure; while staying grounded in a dual use of style.
Drums compliment rhythms in an almost mocking style; whether it be held back, snail's paced beats, or a horse stomp-trotting through a war zone. Fenriz shows again his mastery of drumming skill; using the constant thread of the high hat to sew everything together.
Chills cover the listener as Darkthrone shows brilliance in its ability to deliver dark melody and rhythms that many have imitated in black metal ever since.
This album marks the end of an era for Darkthrone; they have yet to achieve on any following release the darkness, power, and authority that they established on their first four black metal albums. That being said, they succeeded with those four releases what other bands can only dream of.
DOOMGIVER on September 17th, 2004
This is what Black Metal should sound like
Simply put, this is an amazing record. The best Darkthrone has to offer.
Released in 1995, this record picks up where "Transylvanian Hunger" left off as Darkthrone has expanded their sound. The songs on "Panzerfaust", although similar to those on the aforementioned previous LP, are a bit more interesting.
Overall, "Panzerfaust" could be described as Darkthrone's tribute to Celtic Frost. The mid-tempo and slow parts featured on this record are nearly identical to those found on Celtic Frost's debut album "Morbid Tales." However, this record is hardly slow, as Fenriz's frantic and drumming pound throughout the entire record. These faster parts of this record are the epitome of the Darkthrone sound.
Perhaps the best aspect of this record is found in Culto Nocturno's guitarwork (although Fenriz did have a hand in writing the guitar parts). The memorable guitar riffs on this record are both melodic and unrelenting; they buzz and howl throughout every song. For example, the opening track "En Vind Av Sorg" has arguably the best riffs of any Darkthrone song wirtten.
Fenriz's amazing drumming, however, cannot be overlooked. Although minimalist, Fenriz knows exactly what to do and what not to do. He doesn't have the "show-off" flare of Mayhem's drummer Hellhammer, but that is a good thing. Fenriz knows when to play and when not to play. He hardly does fills on this record (less fills than in "Transylvanian Hunger" even). That's not to say that he plays the basic "high hat+bass drum / snare / high hat+bass drum / snare" the ENTIRE time, however. His bass drum patterns and syncopation in the slower parts are especially impressive and inventive. It is no wonder Fenriz's drumming style for these sections have been copied and rehashed so often by other black metal bands.
Vocally, this record is much more aggressive and angry than the vocals heard in "Transilvanian Hunger." Culto Nocturno's voice is much louder in the mix for this record, which may put off some listeners at first. This mix works very well however, as his screaming is more varied and dynamic in style than on previous records.
As for the recording itself, it suits the songs very well. The rawness only increases the sinister nature of the music. Although, it is a bit heavier and thicker when compared to Transylvanian hunger (which was recorded in the same "studio").
As a whole, "Panzerfaust" is an amazing genre-defining record.
Lord_Jotun on October 4th, 2003
The most hated band in the world...
...with even more raw, ugly and merciless unholy Black Metal! After the "Norwegian Aryan crisis" and the label change, Darkthrone resurface on Moonfog Productions with the clear intent of continuing their grim crusade. After completing their by now notorious Black Metal Trilogy, Norway's darkest sons take a trip back to the first wave of Black Metal in search for inspiration for the new material, eventually focusing their attention on the ever so influential Swiss underground legend namely Celtic Frost. Although references to this band could already be detected in Darkthrone's previous work, the boldly titled "Panzerfaust" almost reaches a tribute status.
The label change apparently brought some fresh air in terms of sound too. "Panzerfaust" is unquestionably underproduced and raw, yet it doesn't reach the barbaric trebly fuzz of "Under A Funeral Moon" or the chilling minimalism of "Transilvanian Hunger": the guitars are now a lot more organic and even some bass strums can be heard here and there. This different side of sonic ugliness (I wouldn't talk of "more polished sound") actually fits the new songs better than words can explain. I do, however, find a problem with this album's sound, namely Nocturno Culto's vocals. Gone are the chilling screams of "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" or "Transilvanian Hunger": here, Culto tries out what could be described as a semi-clean rasping singing, no doubt an attempt to get close to Tom G. Warrior's well known tormented vocals. His attempt, however, doesn't always emerge as convincing, with numerous bits sounding downright forced and uninspired. All of this is made worse by the real flaw in "Panzerfaust"'s production: the excessive loudness of the vocals in the mix, which at times end up drowning the whole music (especially the drums which on the other hand are a bit too low).
Despite these troubles, "Panzerfaust" still stands as a winner thanks to the strength of the new material. The opening track, "En Vind av Sorg", descends directly from "Transilvanian Hunger"'s title track in terms of structure and rhythm but is fueled by new blood in the melodic progression department. Next, an amazingly groovy and cool riff introduces the second assault, "Triumphant Gleam", a quite complex song where the Celtic Frost comparison is on its firmest ground, thanks to its crude palm muted riffs and thrashing speedfests. "The Hordes if Nebulah", in contrast, brings the pace down to a slow and almost trancelike surreal journey, producing one of the most bizarre and original experiences Darkthrone has offered this far.
At this point a corious fact about "Panzerfaust" has to be pointed out: if you let out the outro "Snø og Granskog", the tracklist can be divided into two halves which have a symmetrical structure, meaning that the songs on the two halves can be coupled together. So, as on the first half we met a fast, grim song ("En Vind av Sorg"), a thrashy and complex one ("Triumphant Gleam") and a slow one ("The Hordes of Nebulah"), so do we on the second half, in the same order. It's a bit of a pity, as the structures underlines the similarities rather than the differences between the songs, and makes the second half of the album sound more predictable. Whatever...
"Hans Siste Vinter" takes us back to the coldness of "Transilvavian Hunger" once more with its sorrowful riffs and ice cold minimalism. "Beholding The Throne of Might" opens with a riff which is a crossing between Darkthrone's very own oldie "In The Shadow of The Horns" and the beginning of Mayhem's "Necrolust", before evolving into another Celtic Frost tribute and exploding into a headbanging faster section. For some reason this track suffers from the comparison with its companion piece, "Triumphant Gleam", sounding less intense and inspired. On the other hand, the slow number of this second half, "Quintessence", is a lot more focused and organic than "The Hordes of Nebulah", and finds further strength in its fantastic lyrics, courtesy once again of Varg "The Count" Vikernes.
"Snø og Granskog" closes the album on an atmospheric and eerie note, a very stripped down synth melody with some percussions and Fenriz reciting a Norwegian poem, an atmosphere somehow not too dissimilar to "The Shadowthrone"'s most laid back moments. Yet the back cover of "Panzerfaust" states that the album is indeed dedicated to Satyr "Evig er krigen mot de av lyset" ("eternal is the war against those of the light"), a quote which comes from the song "Hvite Krists Død" off "The Shadowthrone" (and "The Shadowthrone" itself bears on its back cover a dedication to Fenriz "we are the fist in the face of God").
Between label changes and political criticisms, an admirable result from a band which was experiencing one of its most problematic moments.
Panzerfaust track list
|1||En vind av sorg||06:21|
|3||The Hordes of Nebulah||05:33|
|4||Hans siste vinter||04:50|
|5||Beholding the Throne of Might||06:07|
|7||Snø og granskog (Utferd)||04:09|
|Nocturno Culto||Vocals (lead)|
|Fenriz||Drums, Vocals (spoken), Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Lyrics (tracks 1-5)|