I have said it before, and I suspect that I will say it many times over before 2019 is over, but this has been quite the banner year for black metal, the best that I can remember in a very long time. Panzerfaust joins the party from out of nowhere with this magnificently-executed black metal masterclass, each song quite distinct from each other and with significant dynamic shifts within and between songs, yet still very cohesive and unified by underlying motifs centred around the savagery of war. Simple comparators do not come to mind (though Kriegsmaschine is one), because even though many bands make music with war as a central theme, Panzerfaust have crafted something truly unique here. Instrumental proficiency is very high but this never flirts with ostentation, and the vocals are equally impressive because they excel in all of the ranges that are presented (clean, raspy, and outright harsh, but on the lower end as opposed to the high-pitched shrieks of most black metal). Whether they are blasting away at light speed (about half of the time) or crushing you slowly (especially on the epic final track), they demonstrate compelling song craft that continuously reveals nuances with multiple listens. This one was a surprise, but an exceedingly pleasant one.
Favorite track: The Decapitator's Prayer.