- Year 2016
- Genre Black Metal
- Country Germany
- Label World Terror Committee
- Rating Solid
You may have missed ‘Knochenkamp’ from Paria, as the German black metal band and World Terror Committee put this mini-album only a few days before the end of the year. But it’s worth circling back to, especially for those that are keen on the type of black metal that grabs them by the throat and doesn’t let up for a moment. These guys have had plenty of time to hone their craft, as they formed back in 1995 and have released three full length albums and a slew of demos prior to ‘Knochenkamp’. This five-song effort takes a similar path as 2013’s ‘Surrealist Satanist’, with the focus on twisting and turning riffs that keep a razor sharp level of intensity throughout and downright spine chilling vocals, but still manages to stand on its own as another noteworthy effort from Germany.
…the instrumentals remain jagged and abrasive, like barbed wire dragging across your skin
Paria doesn’t immediately launch into their attack, instead choosing to begin with an ominous, ethereal intro track that features angelic singing and background noise that seems to get louder and louder as the song progresses. It’s an interesting way to begin, and almost lulls you into a false sense of security before the instrumentals unleash their attack. ‘Knochenkamp’ may utilize a lot of familiar elements in the way it creates a mysterious, violent atmosphere, but the guitar leads prove to be distinguishable and lead listeners through plenty of twists and turns. Even on songs like Pergamentikkch Nemesis that start off with a slower tempo, there’s a consistent sinister feel to the tonality and the band has a tendency to whip things up into all-out chaos when you least expect it. All three of the group’s original tracks showcase this swirling unpredictability, and the instrumentals remain jagged and abrasive, like barbed wire dragging across your skin. It’s through this type of writing that Paria is able to capture the violent, unrelenting nature of traditional black metal while also offering something a bit more hypnotic and unpredictable. ‘Knochenkamp’ finishes with a cover of Bathory’s Call From the Grave that slows the original song down and lets its gloomy atmosphere come out even further.
Though the guitar leads may have the substance to keep listeners returning to Paria’s material, what will likely grab their attention first is the performance of Panzerdaemon. His style initially comes through as a raspier scream, but as you get further into the songs they reach some truly ear piercing and terrifying shrieks that are on par with some of Bethlehem’s more intense vocalists. There are also some shifts over to stranger clean pitches that have a chanting feel to them, and just about every variation in between that you can think of. It’s one of the most genuinely unhinged and intense performances I’ve come across recently, and this is within a genre of metal that tends to be known for chaotic and violent screaming and growling. This same sense of chaos is added into the cover of Call From the Grave, which gives it quite a different feel from the original.
‘Knochenkamp’ takes the elements that Paria laid out on ‘Surrealist Satanist’ and further refines the songwriting, allowing the swirling riffs and violent upswings to reach their peak. Though this isn’t quite my favorite German black metal release of 2016 it’s certainly up there, and hints at even more mystery and sinister ideas still to come. Since this mini-album was recorded Panzerdaemon has left and been replaced by new singer Mentor, so it should be interesting to see what the future holds for this long running entity.