Denmark's Panzerchrist has seen quite a few lineup changes over the years, and Regiment Ragnarok is no exception. Only two of the members from the band's previous album (Battalian Beast from 2006) remain in the fold this time around, but that should not be viewed at all as a bad thing. Despite the amount of lineup shuffles that have occurred within Panzerchrist, the band has always stayed true to their relentless style of death metal, and Regiment Ragnarok shows the band as brutal and creative as ever. This album is filled with bone-crushingly heavy riffs, captivating war-themed lyrics, and fantastic musicianship that just oozes with class. If you like your death metal to be uncompromisingly brutal, yet still intelligent and technically demanding, Regiment Ragnarok is one of the best recommendations I can think of. Panzerchrist fans and newcomers alike will definitely want to check this one out.
For anyone familiar with Panzerchrist, their style of brutal technical death metal with black metal influences should be instantly recognizable. A chilling atmosphere and highly memorable riffs set this apart from your average fast-paced death metal album, though. There are just enough melodic tendencies and riff variation to keep the album from ever becoming a boring mess. Every song is memorable, extremely fast-paced and heavy, and captivating even after multiple spins. Regiment Ragnarok is the sort of album that just refuses to grow stale, and instead reveals itself even more in-depth after every repeated spin. Seldom do I come across an album this brutal that manages to achieve such a feat - and that just spells "quality" on the band's behalf.
One of the most attractive features about Panzerchrist is undoubtedly the top-notch musicianship. These guys are tight, professional, and technically gifted musicians. Regiment Ragnarok contains quite a few difficult riffs and solos, as well as near-impossible drum patterns. Mads Lauridsen's insane drumming blows me away every time I give this album a spin. New vocalist Magnus Jørgensen is also fantastic and one of the most enjoyable death metal vocalists I can think of - he masters many extreme vocal styles and sounds like he ate a plate of nails before every recording session. There's certainly not much more I could ask from a death metal vocalist! The production is equally professional and enjoyable, finding the perfect balance between sounding polished yet not too sterile.
Regiment Ragnarok really blew me away in almost every regard, and currently stands as one of the finest death metal releases of 2011. Fans and newcomers to Panzerchrist will definitely want to give this one a spin, provided that you enjoy your death metal to be on the faster, more-extreme side. Regiment Ragnarok finds the perfect balance between brutality and memorability, and I will applaud Panzerchrist all day long for managing to achieve this essential point that so many bands forget about. Add in the terrific musicianship and production, and it looks like we have an essential album on our hands. 4 stars are well-deserved in this case.