Review Summary: And with hubris comes the fall, Drifting across the rippling wall, On the dark and bloody ground
The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render Unto Eden is the fifth full length and 2nd Chapter in the Suns of Perdition series from Toronto band Panzerfaust. As the band’s name and album artwork suggest, the themes, lyrics and atmosphere lean heavily towards a war-driven concept. The music encompasses the crushing brutality and unnerving sadness of war and the sometimes-evil nature of humanity while also exploring some of the metaphysical aspects of war, conflict and death.
One of the defining characteristics of this talented group is the utilization of dueling vocals. The back-and-forth low growls answered by higher shrieks makes for an engaging listen of call and response. There is a heavy atmosphere of a bleak battleground, shrouded in a blood-red sunset as hewn bodies cover the muddy and scared earth. The opening track Promethean Fire paints this picture vividly, as battle worn soldiers yell out to the setting sun and an ominous response from a sinister force is heard through shrieks in the distant mist. Around the 7-minute mark, sorrowful female vocals enter the mix. Sung in a beautifully eerie Russian dialect, the swirling vocal melody creates images of families grieving their fallen loved ones.
After a very grounded experience from the Promethean Fire, the following track Faustian Pact takes a more abstract turn. The sickening battlefield begins to open up, swirling murk pulling the lifeless bodies down into to the void to meet the “angle at the bottomless pit”. As the lyrics also describe:
“The vultures damn the hive to the wreaking hole
Where lust defines the order
Till the mass grave that sends the defeated man to the madhouse”
It’s a truly disturbing song, but incredibly powerful and flawlessly performed. The spastic guitar lines reminiscent of Deathspell Omega sit in front of a macabre wall of sound from the bass, drums and growls.
The musical performances are top notch throughout the entire run time. Excellent progression throughout the songs always keeps things interesting. Whether it’s the blistering drum blasts, dissonant guitar riffs or post-metal/atmospheric sections, the songs develop and flow wonderfully. The five-track, forty-five-minute run time works, with all songs sitting around the 8-10 minute mark. This gives an opportunity for the songwriting to evolve and progress to tell a unique story in each song. Lyrics are fantastic and certainly dense enough to require several readings to really grasp the totality of the inherent evil of war and destruction.
Suns of Perdition - Chapter II was certainly one of the best black-metal releases of 2020 and a defining release in the bands catalogue. It takes influences from the genre that you would come to expect while adding a unique take with their concepts and post-metal influences. They are a promising group with a solid past that should march confidently into the future. Definitely a band to look out for in the coming years.
“The Faustian pact is all that the ground may give back. And bound by it's own gaze, was lost and all that the sun made was cast on their iron graves”