After seven years of hiding in some forgotten corner of Sweden, Pantokrator returns with their third full length album in their nearly 20 year history. Pantokrator’s career began with the complicated, overwhelmingly masterful albumAurum, which by far was the best album in the career of the quintet. Only time will tell if Incarnate will be considered as one of the best Pantokrator releases, but certainly it is a beautiful addition to their epic discography.
In a little more than 51 minutes of music spread over nine killer tracks, the band shows that this time of “seclusion” was very well used. Previous releases showed some issues with the overall mixing and song structure but in this case higher doses of melody were inserted and even some brighter sounds/tones included, but overall there is no mistaking that Pantokrator is still a (melodic) death metal band.
The song “Incarnate” incorporates elements of Amon Amarth without the Viking elements and more focused on the melody, while “Cast Down” is faster and has a chorus that somehow we can label “accessible”. “Revolution” was chosen to be the first single and lyric video for the album and it’s not hard to understand why. The track is by far the strongest on the album with its opening contagious and catchy riffs, a chorus that literally sticks in your mind, and melody that is easily accessible. “Amidst The Wolves” show more pace than previous songs and is a good song, nothing more, and “Seraphim Wings” is a pretty cool instrumental track that serves as a partition of the album as after it we find the heavier tracks where double bass drums are more present and and guitars accelerated. The highlight of this second part is “Millennium In Chains”, but the tracks “Icarus Burning” and “Sammath Nuar” are still great tracks. The album concludes with “Ökevandring”, a more melodic and mostly instrumental track that features the beautiful female voice of Rebecka Gustafsson, who owns a beautiful timbre.
Individually, all performances are strong and none stand out as exceptional for the genre, but one that has to be highlighted are the vocals of Karl Baltazar, which have a unique resonance and quality. His voice is on the edge of raggedness but easy to understand, still commands respect, and is very “charismatic.”
For those who know the band this cd will not disappoint and for those who have never heard of Pantokrator this is a great start.
2. Cast Down
4. Amidst The Wolves
5. Seraphim Wings
6. Icarus Burning
7. Sammath Naur
8. Millennium In Chains
Mattias Johansson – guitar
Karl Walfridsson – vocals
Rickard Gustafsson – drums
Jonas Wallinder – bass
Jonathan Jansson – guitar
Ancient Path – Unclean Plants [Demo] 1997
Even Unto the Ends of the Earth [Demo] 1998
Allhärskare [EP] 2000
Songs of Solomon [EP] 2001
In the Bleak Midwinter / Songs of Solomon [Split] 2001
1997-2000 [Compilation] 2001
Blod [Full-length] 2003
Leviathan [Single] 2007
A Decade of Thoughts 1996 – 2006 [Compilation] 2007
Aurum [Full-length] 2007
The Initiation [Single] 2010
Incarnate [Full Length] 2014
Record Label: Rottweiler Records & Soundmass, Jan. 2014
Interview With ‘Pantokrator’ [Dec. 2013]
Lyric Video Below ‘Revolution’