Pantokrator are back, bringing their refined take on melodic death metal with Marching Out of Babylon.
Formed some 25 years ago in 1996, Pantokrator have taken their time in releasing music but despite a relatively small catalog, the band has built a reputation as one of the elite in melodic death metal, coming from Sweden where the genre is well established. Starting in 2003 with Blod, the band has gone on to release only 3 other full length albums, Aurum (2007), Incarnate (2014) and now Marching out of Babylon (2021). During the intervening years, there were demos, eps, splits, and appearances on compilations to keep the band from being forgotten. For those wondering about the pedigree of band members, several have come from the likes of Crimson Moonlight and Sanctifica. As if that weren’t enough, Marching out of Babylon was mixed by Jani Stefanovic (Miseration, Solution .45) who also plays a solo on “Crossroads” and features Rebecka Gustafsson on vocals for the title track, “We the People”, and “Phoenix Rising”, Mund (Skald in Veum) adding vocals on “Phoenix Rising”, and CJ Grimmark (Narnia, Savior Machine) adding a solo to “Wedlock”. The band indicates the album was actually recorded over several years in several locations across Sweden with lyrics written from 2001 to 2019, perhaps not surprising for a band that has been around as long as Pantokrator.
Almost as if the band simply couldn’t wait to get to the music, Marching out of Babylon wastes no time jumping straight into “Day of Wrath”. A fast, heavy riff, accompanied by ultra-fast drumming from Rickard Gustafsson kick the song into high gear. Throw in a melodic chorus section into the track and Karl Walfridsson’s gruff, raspy shouted vocals and you have a great introduction to Swedish melodic death metal. Production is very good, to the point that Gustafssons drum work is clearly heard in the mix which in and of itself is amazing at times to hear the faster than a machine gun bass drumming.
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