Year of release: 2020
Released by: Cold Sword Productions
Rating: 6 / 10
It is unlikely that I, of my own free will, would pay attention to such a project as PANZERWAR, but its creator recently contacted me himself, having drawn up an amazingly intelligible and sensible request for a review. It would be very impolite to refuse such request, so I took this work.
The initial examination forced me to make a harsh conclusion: PANZERWAR, let's say, is not a great torchbearer. I'll come in from afar. There are groups that exist within the framework of archaic lo-fi aesthetics, and there are those that imitate it. They are betrayed by details: black-and-white photographs are too clear, the sound is artificially "polluted", and the supposedly irreconcilable and underground position is adjacent to accounts on the main social media, including Instagram. PANZERWAR, unfortunately, refers to such imitators, falling under all points. Let's also add this carefully written biography of the project, where you can see a desire to look more solid in every single word.
But it is not all that bad. Although after the above, there is a desire to ascribe Gautaz to posers and forget about him, the album still needs to be listened to and comprehended. In terms of approach to creativity, there are much fewer uncomfortable questions to a musician. First of all, do not pay attention to the origin of the project. Gautaz is originally from Norway (where music that claims to be Black Metal has long degenerated into something disgusting), and now lives in Canada, where there is a steady growth of wannabes, leftists and simple faggots. Gautaz doesn't seem to have the slightest relation to them. On the contrary, the ideological component of PANZERWAR is commendable: northern paganism, the Warrior's path, Tor of thunder way up high, hatred to modern mankind and other barbarism. Although the project refrains from making any open statements about its position, a healthy and absolutely necessary right-wing bias in such music is evident here. No comparison with clowns like GALDR.
Further, PANZERWAR's music really strives to get closer to the spirit and note of its inspirers, without trying to catch up with the fashionable “atmosphere”, “eclecticism” and other unnecessary garbage. However, the list of inspirers seems to be somewhat different from that indicated in the biography. The influence of BATHORY is clearly felt in the lyrics, but I don't here anything of SARGEIST here. Mahler (if we mean a classical composer) would also shake his head in bewilderment. But SWORDMASTER (for the record, this group later turned into a bunch of queers calling themselves DEATHSTARS, but at the beginning of their career they played good music) really ran around nearby. And DARKTHRONE - where can we go without them? Actually, almost all the material is jumping back and forth between the Norwegians of the early 90s and the Swedes of the mid-90s. Both options work with varying degrees of success. Sometimes the musician succeeds in excellent primitive fragments, sometimes he puts out an amazingly cool riff in the spirit of SACRAMENTUM or OPHTHALAMIA. However, most of the music consists of rather mediocre and hackneyed ideas, somehow forming awkward songs. The atmosphere of the album is twofold. The old-school sense of coldness, evil and brutality works, but is muted by too digital sound. I note, however, that on cassette (and "Warlord" is released so far only in this format) the digital sharpness is usually smoothed out and the sound becomes more organic.
The weakest point of the album palette is vocals. Something should be done about that, and fast. Maybe some vocal effects could help, or the invitation of new vocalist. Gautaz's hysterical screams lack any dynamics and do not correspond to the music at all.
As a result of what I have heard, I will probably refrain from recommending "Warlord", but I will not dissuade anyone either. If you're in the mood for a gritty old-style extreme metal with some flaws, give it a try. The album is released on cassette on two labels at once - Indonesian (couldn't you find a more Nordic place?) Kult of Belial Records and, suddenly, Moscow Cold Sword Productions. Designed by Warhead Art.