Armed only with the album cover and the briefest promo blurb I’ve probably ever seen simply identifying this as black metal, I decided to take a chance on it. In fact, I’ll reproduce the promo text in its entirety here –
“What do you think this is all about?
Nothing more. Nothing less.”
So now you know as much as I did when I took the plunge. Since then, I’ve managed to find out online that the band seem to be from Germany, and as far as I can tell this is their debut album, but other than that, I don’t know how many band members there are or anything else. Regardless, let’s dive in; Pakkt offer 36 minutes of raw, old-school black metal, and I have to say I’m glad I gave it a chance.
The music combines elements of bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone with some Bathory to create a very enjoyable slice of darkness.
Pakkt have a talent for unleashing blackened groove that’s very tasty, and in some cases quite exceptional. This is then enhanced by grim atmosphere that arises from the depths like a gathering storm. Faster sections and blast beats are also used, also very well. When melody is applied it’s done so very effectively, and there are some really great examples of its affecting use across the album.
The songs are well-written and clearly crafted by people who know their chosen art form intimately. I like the way that Pakkt are skilled at merging ugly aggression with characterful feeling, resulting in songs that are surprisingly catchy and memorable.
The vocals are extremely well-performed. A range of styles are used, successfully balancing scathing screams with harsh croaks, semi-clean wails, and many other vocalisations. The singer’s performance is varied and rich, and demonstrates great presence and passion.
To Brocken Heights Where Witches Dance is a very satisfying and engaging release. If you’re a fan of the style you simply must give this a listen. Pakkt reproduce the classic black metal sound with confidence and skill, and To Brocken Heights Where Witches Dance is so very easy to enjoy.
Highly recommended for any fan of old-school black metal.