With the weight of adulation that Darkthrone now receive and the countless reviews of this phenomenal album already extant, there is no point in reviewing this re-release of ‘Panzerfaust’ as I would any other album, because anyone likely to buy this already knows what to expect from the first disc – icy cold black metal at its purest recorded by a duo whom for many are the masters of the scene. Instead it may be of more worth to consider why this re-issue is of note, even to long-time fans of the band who already own this disc.
To put it simply, Peaceville have once again come up trumps in the re-issue stakes. However, where the label have, in the past, contented themselves with remastering a release and pairing it up with a period DVD (see Paradise Lost and Anathema) what they have done here is arguably more special. The second disc offers up, not demos or stock video footage, but a detailed and fascinating commentary from the typically reclusive Fenriz. Of far more interest than a standard interview, the commentary allows this mystical figure the chance to wax lyrical about a band who singlehandedly defined the boundaries of the black metal genre. Happily it’s a chance that Fenriz doesn’t let go to waste – and he chats away like the true music fan that he is over the length of the record offering up a plethora of knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else – a real bonus for fans of the band who have long wished to delve into the secrets of the record.
As with most Darkthrone releases, a minor point is the lack of photography etc on the packaging that would make this definitive – certainly it would be nice to see some photographs of the band working on the album but the second disc, which is rendered with real enthusiasm by Fenriz who chats away happily about Celtic Frost and the black metal scene as well as the recording of the album, is akin to the holy grail for fans and of far more value than any liner notes. Fenriz is an interesting and cordial host and he discusses the album with a humour and passion for the subject matter that makes for incredibly interesting listening.
Ultimately if you’re a fan of Darkthrone, you’ll want this amazing reissue. The commentary may be of only passing interest to casual listeners, but for anyone who has followed the band this is something you’ll have to purchase. An excellent reissue from a label who have once again shown that they genuinely care about their artists.