Sunday 22 July 2018

Review: Hanzel Und Gretyl – 'Satanik Germanik'

'Satanik Germanik'

Four years after the darkest and heaviest album in the band's back catalogue, pseudo-teutonic metal duo Hanzel Und Gretyl return with another black and death metal-tinged release in the form of 'Satanik Germanik'. With 2014's 'Black Forest Metal' the band's trademark tongue-in-cheek themes and industrial elements take a back seat to relentless riffs and a more Satanic theme. And this is where their latest offering picks up.

Opening with the Wagnerian pomp of 'Golden Dämmerung' as a nice nod to their long-running Germanic obsession, the band soon drop a heavy riff and half-growled vocal with the head-banging 'We Rise As Demons' to open up a ferocious track list. Hard riffs, symphonic elements, snarling vocals and bludgeoning drums recall the likes of 'Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia' by Dimmu Borgir and 'Volcano' by Satyricon with a hint of their previous NDH style occasionally sticking it's head above the parapet.

Tracks such as 'We Rise As Demons', 'Black Six Order', 'Weisseswald', 'Hellfire Und Grimmstone', 'Sonnenkreuz', 'Unter Alles, '13 Moons', and 'Kinamreg Kinatas' give the album it's solid back-bone of symphonic/industrial edged black metal tracks. Characterised by slow sludgy riffs, and thunderous drums it's as focussed and serious as the band have ever sounded.

There are a couple of respites from the grim and gritty nature of the album with 'I Am Bad Luck' providing a slow, bass-heavy relief that strips the album's sound back a little. There's also 'Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)', the most overtly tongue-in-cheek title of the album and the one track where they most cut loose and get a little crazy.

In terms of production the album feels sharp and focussed. The symphonic and industrial embellishments are still there but there is a more guitar-centred approach which gives the album a much heavier sound than before.

'Satanik Germanik' is a solid statement from Hanzel Und Gretyl. Heavy, strong and captivating from start to finish the album is a standout in their back catalogue, while long-time fans may lament the silliness of older material and the minimising of the electronic elements, this album still has enough to appeal to them. And while black metal may be a predominant influence the band's Germanic obsession still means that a good pun is still never too far away.

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