Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden Review

Talk among less experienced younger writers in the AMG exercise yard turned recently to return reviews; that is bands you are reviewing for a second time. Panzerfaust are my second return review—my first return was not everything I wanted it to be—and, to prepare myself for the much-anticipated The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden, I had to commit an act of Contrition, upgrading my review of The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War to a 4.0. The fact that it has only taken this quartet of Canadians a smidge over a year to pen the follow up to that rampaging, brvtal beast of an album was, I’ll admit, concerning. War, Horrid War combined raw intensity and crvshing riffs with moments of beauty and fragility to such stunning effect1 that, while I desperately wanted to get my hands on the follow-up, I wondered if Panzerfaust shouldn’t take just a bit more time to pen a worthy successor. Was I right to question these Canucks?

Part two of a planned tetralogy, Render unto Eden begins in gently unsettling fashion, as “Promethean Fire” breathes into being  an oppressively melancholic melody, before an echoing voice delivers a passage from Aeschylus — appropriately known as the father of tragedy — which opens with “He who learns must suffer.” It sets up perfectly the bleak and bruising 44 minutes that follow. Just as on War, Horrid War, the aptly-named Goliath’s huge vocal attack combines deep, bellowing roars with harsh, snarling rasps to incredible effect, conjuring an aura of gut-wrenching despair, which is only emphasized by the soaring guest vocals of Arkona’s Maria “Masha” Arkhipova on the album opener. Kaizer’s guitars are as visceral as ever, ranging from doom-laden menace to raging, industrial-tinged black metal fury across the record (the transition from the second half of “The Faustian Pact” into “Areopagitica” is a particular highlight). All the while, the churning, roiling bass of Thomas Gervais and the stunning, occasionally progressive work on the kit from Alexander Kartashov ground Panzerfaust in massive, monumental heaviness.

It is the moments of brooding quiet and calm, lying scattered like bodies across the battlefield that is Render unto Eden, that are the true secret to Panzerfaust’s magic. Whether it’s the evocative and tortured gloom of “Promethean Fire”’s doomy end, the discordant melodic edge that sees out the brutal “The Snare of the Fowler,” or the infinitely delicate guitar and somber voiceover that begins album closer “Pascal’s Wager,” Panzerfaust gauge it to perfection. In addition to the somber beauty such passages contribute in their own right, they also serve to emphasize the geological heaviness on show elsewhere across Render unto Eden. And heaviness there is and in abundance but it’s the balance of light and dark, heavy and melodic, that makes Render unto Eden the brilliant record that it is.

Render unto Eden finds all four members of Panzerfaust at the absolute top of their game. The tireless, pounding ferocity of Kartashov’s drums is like artillery and Kaizer’s riffs, for all their fury, have a level of complexity (“The Faustian Pact”) and dexterity (“Pascal’s Wager”) to them that repays repeated spins in spades. While I could—and indeed—have listened to Goliath turn himself inside out on the mic for hours, I feel I am selling bassist Gervais short. One of the things that makes Render unto Eden (and War, Horrid War for that matter) such a joy to listen to is the huge, powerful sound Panzerfaust  generate, and Gervais deserves a lot of praise for his part in achieving that, together of course with the production. Suns II sounds stunning, with the master also outstanding, perfectly balancing all the elements of the maelstrom.

“Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.” Part of the Orwellian quote that begins the incredible “The Snare of Fowler,” these words are a perfect summation of Panzerfaust on their strongest record to date, trampling the helpless listener (and reviewer). When I listened to Panzerfaust’s pre-Suns discography in preparation for reviewing War, Horrid War, I was underwhelmed. I have no idea what happened to Panzerfaust between 2016’s The Lucifer Principle and last year’s Suns Chapter I, but they should bottle it. Where 2019’s offering was excellent, Render unto Eden is not just one of the best black metal records of the year but one of the records of the year full stop. Panzerfaust are a band at the height of their powers and I’m already beyond excited for Suns III. For now, I will continue to enjoy Suns II and shall not question Panzerfaust’s wisdom again.


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Eisenwald Records
Websites: panzerfaust.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/panzerfaust.bm.official
Releases Worldwide: August 28th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yes, I know I underrated it on first review. But I’ve corrected that now. Leave me be!
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