Panychida - _Paganized_
(Folter Records, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (6 out of 10)
The debut album from this Czech project is promoted as a mix of heavy, black and thrash metal combined with traditional Czech folk. Not inaccurate, but what isn't mentioned is that Panychida sound an awful lot like post-_Blizzard Beasts_ Immortal with bagpipes and sans the glossy Nuclear Blast production. I might have accepted the similarities as being due to a common influence if it weren't for the Abbath-esque vocals, which have been reproduced with eerie clarity and pitch -- even the soaring keys of the intro are reminiscent of the start of "Mountains of Might".

The bagpipes and other folk instruments are not omnipresent and surface intermittently, courtesy of a guest musician. This may explain why the synchronization has been less than successful -- for example, "Final Donation to the Oath" was not enhanced by the late emergence of bagpipes, and its emergence was directly responsible for the loss of momentum in what had been a powerful thrashy song. More effective was the use of bells in "Dream About the Roaring Sky" just as it was speeding up; it also uses the bagpipes more effectively, but I'm not sure they actually add much to the song. The thrashy rhythms and folksy melodies are effective in themselves, but their juxtaposition is not, and effectively synchronizing the two will be Panychida's biggest hurdle when they record their sophomore album.


(article published 26/1/2008)

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