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Kriegshetzer, meaning 'warmonger', are a two piece black metal band with war themes hailing from Donetsk, Ukraine. They formed in 2009 and have since released a full-length, 'Panzer Vorwärts', released in 2011 by Darker than Black Records.
The first impression of this release is a gripping, startling one which demands immediate attention of the senses. The guitar riffs possess compelling and heavy tone. The melodies are fast and are rarely offer any kind of break. When it does slow down, it is nothing short of entrancing. The sound doesn't take the listener gently, no - it instead forces the listener into a battlefield. The drums remain uncompromisingly forceful and aggressive throughout the entire album; many blast beats and quite domineering. The beats are strong and maintain the attention of the listener and are certainly one of the main focal points of the music. The vocals are deep, assertive and even commanding - very appropriate for this particular style. The vocals aren't overloaded or drowned away overwhelmingly with effects which is unique because most of these bands add way too much reverb. These vocals remain very natural, alpha even - and it works. The bass remains consistent yet non intrusive and blends with the mix accordingly. There are some interesting bass lines which cause Kriegshetzer to stand out from most. You can tell this is actually an intended bass player, not just a guitar purist attempting to fill in because no one else was able. It is refreshing to hear some intriguing bass lines within black metal where typically the guitar receives all the attention.
All in all, this release is top notch for the Ukrainian black metal scene, not to mention war-themed black metal as a whole. The production is quality; all instruments are very clear and concise. It is well mixed and shows they obviously care about the condition of their music and take their work seriously. This album successfully teleports the listener into the cold heart of a battlefield, with or without their consent. This release will keep the listener wired for hours. Many war themed black metal bands all do the similar things, however Kriegshetzer possess a sound that sets them apart from the rest, one that makes them easily identifiable. Kriegshetzer are currently active and listeners eagerly await the next addition to their discography.
Pure relentless war is a good way to describe Kriegshetzer’s debut album Panzer Vorwärts, and is there really any need to analyze assaults like these any further? Perhaps a few additional words are in place, but if you already know that you want variation and calmful melodies in your black metal, there’s no reason to continue reading.
The paradigm is simple: a load of fast-paced blast beats, swift and piercing tremolo riffs and masculine screams. The instruments are executed with rather precise touch and timing which makes the music sound fittingly sharp and militant. In addition to the overall belligerent atmosphere, there are also some latent tendencies towards melancholic melody, such as in the main riff of ”Hohe Nacht der klaren Sterne” even if it’s only for a couple of seconds. One of my personal favourites off the album is the adventurous ”Mutspruch” which showcases the band’s ability to create such twirling and damn engaging riffs in insane tempos - not that this particular track is the only one of its kind.
Usually, I’m bored to death when it comes to prolonged albums where hateful riffs are played incessantly without the slightest change of compromise. This is why it comes as a surprise how well Panzer Vorwärts and its not-that-unique Eastern European black metal chord progressions retain my interest throughout, even if I would have still removed a song or two from this 48-minute entity. The production, natural sounding and hence far away from a modern overcompressed turd, is also a partial reason why Panzer Vorwärts is an endurable record. For obvious reasons, this album is not for everyone, but for those who seek for simple violence from their black metal, Panzer Vorwärts is a recommendable album.
3 / 5
[ http://www.vehementconjuration.com/ ]
Kriegshetzer are a Ukrainian black metal band who appear to have an extreme infatuation with Nazi Germany. Obligatory German band name (even though you aren’t German yourself)? Check. Cover depicting some item of Nazi military hardware and/or personnel? Check. Adoration of prominent Nazi figure? Check. Hell, we even have a reworking of a classical piece by the German poet Hans Baumann who coincidentally also happened to be heavily involved with the Hitler Youth. Now that is dedication to your ideology, never mind that poor Hans would be rolling in his grave if he ever heard this shit-encrusted, vacuous take on his work. Infact, the only thing this album is missing is the token Burzum cover which every single fucking NS band under the sun seems to have, as if it’s a prerequisite for releasing shitty, inane NSBM.
The music on display here really is nothing at all to write home about. There have been countless bands past and present who have performed and tuned this style of black metal that Kriegshetzer are aiming for to perfection; sadly you have to wade through all the muck to get to them in the first place, and unfortunately for Kriegshetzer, you better stick on your waterproofs.
The style of black metal for the most part revolves mainly around the fast break-neck riffing of Anders, which is a relief because the guitarwork is the only area on this release with any discernible quality whatsoever. Occasionally among the stock riffing, something half-decent will creep out and threaten your neck muscles, but before you know it you’re back to a jumble of derivative riffs again. The guitar tone is somewhat similar to that of Satanic Warmaster, the only difference is Satanic Tyrant knows how to write a decent track.
The vocals have (suprise suprise!) that unmistakable low, gruff German slight to them that so many black metal bands from Germany seem to like, and it’s not a style I’m a massive fan of. Too laid back and without any backbone or delivery. A tad more forceful and some genuine conviction behind them and we may be getting somewhere. This leads me on to the subject of the lyrics, which usually are something I never make a point of paying attention to in black metal, but when you hear “Deutschland ist der schönes Land” which pretty much literally translates to “Germany is the beautiful land”, it’s pretty hard to take seriously. The drum work isn’t too bad, but all too often it just ends up lost in the banality of the whole thing.
Panzer Vorwärtz all in all is just a bit of a non-event. It’s just flat out unremarkable and hollow. When most of the songs aren’t even five minutes long and they still drag, that’s not a good sign. It may be the case with a lot of black metal, but in all honesty you could play the album back as many times as you want and you still wouldn’t be able to pick out an individual song. It might as well be one song on repeat eleven times for all I’m concerned. There is much better coming out of Ukraine at the minute, with bands such as YGG, Ulvegr, Khors and the ilk, there’s really no need to bother with this.