Ætergap Production, 2015
1. Þul - Canis
2. Panphage - Konungr/Lopt
3. Þul - Lynx
4. Panphage - Släkten solen ser i åkrar sjunka ned
5. Þul - Ursus
6. Panphage - Ginnheilug goð
7. Þul - Ginnheilagr
This split tape would be hard to review if you split up the releases. Basically this is a split between Black Metal and Ambient, which have always crossed paths, essentially, since both genres have existed. The way they've formatted this release the Ambient of Þul is intertwined with the Black Metal of Panphage as they alternate tracks on this release. I believe this tape was limited to 300 copies and it comes with a pro-printed booklet and stickers on the cassette itself.
The Þul material somewhat outweighs the Panphage material, but that's probably because these Ambient pieces serve as an intro and outro the album as a whole. The Ambient pieces retain that meditative quality that you expect from Ambient, but it also has a more primitive old world sort of atmosphere and edge to them. A lot of this is generated through the sheer simplicity of it and the more organic and natural feel of some of the instruments, even if they were digitally re-created. At times it reminds me a bit of the tracks created by Rajna, since they used a lot of authentic old instruments.
As with the other Panphage tapes, this release was later pressed to CD. Similar to the other releases this was pressed by Nordvis in 2017 and it features a new booklet with different artwork. It also features lyrics for two of the songs, but, sadly, it does not have my favorite one.
If you are a Panphage fan then this split is an absolutely must hear experience. If you're turned off by the ambient, at least with the CD edition you can skip all that stuff now... but it probably does take away from the overall intended experience. Either way, all three Panphage tracks are really well done.
Ætergap Production, 2015
1. Söner av Orsämjans Länder
2. Hagalaz Automat
3. Black Dawn Guerilla
4. Tag till Vapen
6. Helveteseld Faller från Himmelen
8. Klockringing i Dalen och Åkallan av Makterna
9. Det Svarta Vattnets Gåva
Side Jarnvidr: ...coming eventually...
Unlike the "Storm" album, the material composed on this split was actually written in 2015. So, it's nice to see Fjällbrandt returning to writing for this project again. He seems to go through massive creative bursts with this project that span years, but then it tapers off, then a few years later returns with more material. This also seems to be one of the first CD's released by Ætergap Productions, but like the tapes this is limited to 300 copies as well. It comes as a beautiful digipak with additional booklet inside. The booklet has pictures and art for both projects as well as liner notes.
Even though there is some decent time in between the recorded material of "Storm" and this, the material on this split basically picks up where "Storm" leaves off. In some respects I feel like this material is a bit more primitive in style and recording, but still maintains that solid blend of Black Metal and folk-ish style. "Black Dawn Guerrilla" is, by far, one of the catchier songs from Panphage ever written. The whole concept of this material is dedicated to the Westrogothian men from the 1400's who fought the nobility. As usual with Panphage, the songs are very well written and have that atmosphere that has been ever present on their earlier recordings.
Ætergap Production, 2015
3. Vid Kusten
4. Sävgetens Folk
5. Frusna Varsel
It's been quite a while since Panphage has put out material after producing something consistently every year. However, after such a long wait they return with their debut full-length album after existing for ten years. The material was composed between 2011 and 2012, but between 2013 and 2015 it was finally cut to tape. This tape is limited to 300 copies and comes in some excellent packaging. The tape comes in a velvet bag with the tape inside and a scroll of paper. The tape is housed in a simple slipcase with the above featured cover. The scroll features a thank you and liner notes as well as a track by track explanation behind each songs motivation. Overall a very special product to commemorate these ten years of Panphage.
I was a little late to the Panphage game and I believe "Storm" was actually my first experience with the project, which prompted me to track down everything I could find. Since this music was composed so closely to "Nordlandets Dödsande", "Storm" is certainly similar, but there's a certain level of refinement in the writing on "Storm" that I feel pushes the Panphage ideology even further. I think this is where Panphage truly solidified its sound and simply ran with it. There's nothing out there that quite sounds exactly like this, the combination of rawness, hatred, and traditional themes reminds me quite a bit of what Arckanum is famous for. However, Panphage builds on what Arckanum has done before and adds in more and more layers that make for an even more exciting listen, in my opinion. The manner in which the catchier sections are composed has a lot more force behind them than in a lot of other projects I've listened to and at the same time Panphage manages to construct this timeless atmosphere that is somewhat modern, but feels like it hearkens back to the days of old.
Every time I listen to a Panphage recording, I feel inspired. There's something about Panphage that feels triumphant amidst all the disdain and hatred for the modern world and modern man. I hope with the release of "Storm" we'll have a steady wave of releases of this nature. At least that's what I was hoping back when I first heard this release and I certainly got my wish... can't wait for the next installment!
Ætergap Production, 2011
1. Nordlandets dödsande
3. Svarta vågor
A mere few months since the last release and we already have a new Panphage tape ready to go! After the last release I was really excited to hear what "Nordlandets Dödsande" would bring us. As with before, it's released on cassette with a pro-printed tape and booklet. This time all the lyrics are published for us to read...and for those of us who understand Swedish, which is not me.
Now, "Nordlandets Dödsande" is a good and solid release, but it just doesn't have the same level of magic for me that "Gráðr Neðan" possessed. There's just something in the writing on that release that was immense and "Nordlandets Dödsande" feels more like a return to the earlier release style. Which is great stuff, but doesn't hit as hard. "Nordlandets Dödslande", while being in the vein of Raw Black Metal, has a decidedly more upbeat approach to all the songwriting. This is probably an attempt to incorporate the "happier" sounding folk melodies, whereas before he would usually choose more triumphant of darker styles. "Nordlandets Dödsande" still has that quality triumphant sound, it's just painted in a more positive light this time around, but it still manages to remain in the realms of raw and grim. A lot of the material is still making me think of projects like Arckanum quite a bit.
In the end, even though I didn't like this as much as the prior release, it's still very good material. The experiment he delved into felt like a faster version of Storm at times, so it had a lot more emphasis on Folk aspects. Even though he will change up the sound and approach of the project from time to time, I still look forward to what's to come, because even though there have been slight changes here and there, all the material is still quite good at the end of the day.
Ætergap Production, 2011
Genre: Black Metal
2. þrudmoþgi iotunn
3. Under sotröda vingar
6. Lemlästad & i snö förborgad
Another year and another Panphage tape. This one really pushes the envelope from "Ursvöl" in a truly excellent direction. As before this is released on cassette with a pro-booklet and pro-tape. The booklet is a really nice multi-panel booklet with the lyrics to a few songs written out.
Gráðr Neðan is a far more expansive journey than the previous releases, mainly due to the fact that it simply has more tracks. However, the musical composition feels a lot more mature and well thought out. This release marries the Black Metal atmosphere with some excellent Thrash and Folk moments to really hook us in like never before. Every song is wonderfully crafted. For me, "Gráðr Neðan" is where Panphage took a turn artistically into something of a higher quality project. There aren't any songs that stand in the background, and I daresay there aren't even any filler riffs. Everything feels attention grabbing, and maybe that's one of the reasons I feel like this release is much more intense than the others.
When a band finally hits this caliber of composition I want them to stop making these shorter releases and put out a full length. So, hopefully Panphage will be heading in that direction soon. However, if you're first delving into the world of Panphage, while the prior releases are pretty good, this is where the material starts to grow far beyond the original material, so starting here is a good spot.
Ætergap Production, 2010
Genre: Black Metal
1. Skall & Skalv
2. Svartmånfödda Yngel
3. A Haugi
5. Illa Sett (Glum cover)
Another year yields, yet another tape, from Panphage. Given the constant improvement of the project I was certainly looking forward to new material. As with the other tapes on this label the cover is pro-printed and is limited to 300 copies.
"Ursvöl" isn't as heavy in style compared to the prior release. It's probably closer to the material we heard on the "Jotunmodi" release. Rather than heaviness, this album creates a generally darker atmosphere overall. However, those catchier guitar licks and riffs that have become a staple of the Panphage sound are still ever present throughout the release. "Skall & Skalv" is clear demonstration of this. This material feels even more infused with Black Metal, and for some reason I keep coming back to Arckanum whenever I hear Panphage material like this. Although, "Ursvöl" seems like it is more influenced by the more melodic styled Black Metal bands out there. At times hear early Enslaved and early Einherjer in their sound a bit as well, but this is probably due to the dose of folk style meshed into the sound.
I quite prefer the style on "Ursvöl" a bit more than the last tape. It has more of the atmosphere I am looking for in my music. Either way this is, yet another, great Panphage release and I look forward to whatever comes next. Since, I'm sure there will be another tape for us in the following year!