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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Review: Panychida – Říruřec / Dreisessel

Label: Folter Records

Date: August 26th, 2022

The first time I heard about this release, it immediately got me thinking of Metallica’s “Beyond Magnetic”. It’s just the concept of leftovers from the previous record that is the same. Basically, songs that were recorded during the same session as those of the album, but didn’t make the final cut.

Now, while “Death Magnetic” was a seventy four minutes long outing and therefore couldn’t fit the four remaining songs on a single CD, I cannot really think why Panychida couldn’t have places these songs on top of fifty four minutes long “Gabreta Aeterna”. Especially since they could’ve left out the Impaled Nazarene cover and still ended up with all the “value for the money”. It would be seventy two minutes that would easily fit on the single piece of plastic.

It wouldn’t fit on a single piece of vinyl and that’s about the only explanation I can offer without consulting with the band (or the label).

Whatever the excuse for this, there’s one undisputable fact to be dealt with here. Panychida presented yet another exquisite piece of music. Seriously, the band that stepped on the scene with a modest effort called “Paganized” turned into a maelstrom of melodic, extreme, somewhat pagan metal. It happened somewhere between the mentioned debut and its three years younger successor, “Moon, Forest, Blinding Snow”. The Czechs have been on a mission ever since, adorning the scene with a bunch of tremendous records, which were not simple works of musical extreme art, but also thought through from the top to the bottom with designs, layouts and distinguished concepts.

“Říruřec / Dreisessel” heads on where its predecessors stopped. Naturally, it fits the best to “Gabreta Aeterna”, whose conceptual continuation it is. We’ve got four more tales of Šumava forests, plus “Via Dolorosa”, originally by the mentioned infamous Finns, which is “mutilated” just about enough to fit the original musical style Panychida invented some time ago.

About the style, well, it’s a bit difficult to explain. I’ve tried to do so above, but I feel like it was not adequate, no matter if correct or not. Panychida’s sonority is based upon atmospheric black metal, the one brought upon this world by Finns and Norwegians in the late 1990’s. It’s not about symphonic passages which would’ve made the task a whole lot easier, but the feel created by traditional metal instruments. Guitars, most notably, whose melancholic approach to melodies is the pillar of Panychida’s sound. However, if you couldn’t figure it out from Impaled Nazarene cover, Czech quintet doesn’t forget about aggressiveness. The combination of such diametrically different emotional paths is exceptionally executed.

Of course, Panychida tops it all off with a few more distinct features for whom they’ve become quite recognizable. It is the subtle, almost inaudible folkloric touch that links the band’s music to the topics they choose to cover. Particularly on the last full length and its continuation on this EP. The boys are meandering through the Šumava forests, meeting with both natural and man-made monuments in various states of decay. However, Panychida unveils them for what they were, presenting us with a testament to their glorious past. Enhanced with photos in the marvelously designed booklet, “Říruřec / Dreisessel”, together with “Gabreta Aeterna”, offers a full circle story about a grandiose and mysterious geographical region.

I’m somewhat digressing with going about the lyrics prior to finishing off the musical side of “Říruřec / Dreisessel”. But it’s so damn important for the whole to be taken in at the same time…

Anyway, rounding off the audial picture of the EP, Panychida became extremely epic on the mentioned duo of releases. They used these elements before as well, but it seems to me like they’ve gone further in that direction. At the same time, they seem to include the epic side in the existing pattern of their creation, without sacrificing this or that aspect of their music.

The band remains rhythmically diverse, so to bring connotations with completely unrelated genres of heavy metal. Let’s remember they used to cover Running Wild in the past, too. Traditional or even new wave of British heavy metal get their voice within. Among the black and “oh-so-hidden” death metal intake.

So, traditional, atmospheric, epic, melodic, extreme, “pagan-ish” death / black metal? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? It’s much easier to simply call it Panychida. A completely and utterly unique entity on the tried and tested heavy metal ground. Spectacular!