Abaddon magazine

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: Panychida – Gabreta Aeterna

Label: Folter Records

Date: November 27th, 2020

One thing we need to clear right away. Nothing and nobody sounds like Panychida! The Czechs have established themselves on a lonesome ground. From there, they keep delivering mesmerizing releases, time and again. You can try to describe them. You can try to explain their music. You can even try dismantling it and figuring it out from pieces available. Yet, you will fail miserably. Panychida does not belong in a genre specific category. Even broadening the search is likely to fail. Yet, they keep coming to me for evaluation. And, yet again, I’m baffled. Assignment is way too hard. Best I can do is try.

One thing that is absolutely certain, this is already the fifth masterpiece from the Czech quintet. I will also use the reference to Primordial, as the key to phrase how “Gabreta Aeterna” feels. Of course, I cannot quite call them Czech counterparts to the famed Irish band. The one thing that connects these two separate entities is the feeling you get from listening to their respective records. Well, that and the obvious rooting in melodic black metal they both possess. Also, both of them cloak their respective folk motifs within, according to their country of origin. However, Panychida uses a bucketful of various influences, reaching from traditional heavy metal to almost tribal sounding rhythm patterns. There’s also this occult aura floating around at times, almost as an additional dimension to Panychida’s works.

Luckily for all of us loyal followers, Panychida does not change the winning formula with “Gabreta Aeterna”. Their trademarked sound is carrying the album once again. It is heavy, melodic, abundant with various elements you do not notice at first and focused on gathering the atmosphere needed. Needed to portray a primordial forest that has seen it all. Humanity, with all its crimes, wars, beliefs, superstitions and rare examples of good deeds. A forest that stands as a silent witness to all. A forest that will stand long after it has swallowed all the evidence of invaders. The album revolves around Šumava forest, its inhabitants, both living and dead. Its natural and material wealth. Panychida paints a whole picture, describing all the elements, one by one, song by song.

What can I add… Pretty much nothing. Panychida is a group of extra talented musicians. On both ends, I might add. Even if their musicianship doesn’t show too much in their music, their creativity is at the highest possible level. The ingenuity with which they keep publishing immensely effective and involving music in undeniable. If you’re a metal fan, there’s just two ways you can handle Panychida. You either love them, or haven’t heard about them. I’ve heard them for the first time long ago and our love affair keeps on burning intensely. Recommended!