Escape The Hive (Arizona, USA)8th November 2023
Martila (Norway)16th January 2024
Interview with Sonja Rosenlund Ahl (vocals)
Danish death metal formation Panzerchrist have been around in one form or another since 1996. Earlier this year they got three new members & released a new album entitled Last Of A Kind. To support the release of their brand-new full-length the band took on tour, which brought them to this year’s annual Aalborg Metal Festival. It’s where I took the opportunity to have a chat with Sonja, where we talked of the new album and her experience with the band so far. Now, you also have an unique chance to get more familiar with Sonja and Panzerchrist band.
Metal Revolution: Hi Sonja, thanks for talking to us. How are things going in Panzerchrist camp?
Sonja: Thank you for the invitation. We’re having a great time with gigs and writing new music.
MR: I’m sure most of our readers are familiar with Panzerchrist band, so instead I’ll ask you to introduce yourself. What’s your musical background?
Sonja: I used to play guitar and bas, and took up vocals a while back and really enjoyed the possibilities of expression. I’ve always been into death metal and was very excited to join my first band Arsenic Addict.
MR: You’ve joined Panzerchrist recently, how did that happen?
Sonja: Shortly after Arsenic Addict split up I was contacted by Michael H Andersen from Emanzipation with the offer to try out for Panzerchrist. They had the new album ready and studio booked at ‘Antfarm’ with Tue Madsen about a week later. So I wrote the lyrics and vocals, they liked what I did and rather starstruck I recorded the vocals shortly after. We’ve really clicked and I so enjoy working with those guys.
MR: Have you been fan of the band before joining them? As just mentioned you’ve been active in Arsenic Addict prior to joining Panzerchrist, but how much did you follow Panzerchrist?
Sonja: Yeah, Panzerchrist has been one of my favorite bands and especially Roomservice is on top of my list of great albums.
MR: You’re not the only new member to the band. You’ve also got a new guitarist and a drummer. I guess it was a bit challenging in the beginning to get confident with the music, but also to get to know other guys from the band?
Sonja: I think it went smoothly. Danny Bo was in Arsenic Addict as well and his style of playing matches beautifully with Frederik O’Carrols, so music-wise we aligned straight away. We enjoy each others company and always look forward to rehearsals.
MR: Do you know what was the reason for the departure of former members?
Sonja: Panzerchrist has been a project based band from the beginning, with Michael Enevoldsen at the lead. So the changes in line-ups have occured naturally according to availability and interest of capable musicians.
MR: OK, enough on that. You have recently released your new album entitled Last Of A Kind. How has it been received by your fans and the metal media? Got some positive feedback?
Sonja: The new album has been recieved incredibly well with numerous praising reviews. Of course, the change of style and bandmembers have caused old-time fans to comment, but in general I’m so honored and pleased with how it has been recieved.
MR: It’s via Danish-based Emanzipation Productions that you released Last Of A Kind. Are you pleased with the kind of support you’re getting from them?
Sonja: The revival of Emanzipation was a sweet move and we are in such great company with the other signed bands. I would love even more community around the Scandinavian old-school death metal scene.
MR: How it feels to be the only women in the band?
Sonja: Oh, that is not really something I think about. We laugh at the same jokes and like the same music, so it’s something I think about very often. Sometimes after a show some dude will tell me elaborately how I should be performing, and I wonder if he would give the same lecture to Bo Summer or Corpsegrinder, and comments like “female vocalist – dislike” on our social media posts does spark a bit of frustration, but in general I feel that gender is not that much of an issue in this context.
MR: I’ve seen you at this year’ Aalborg Metal Festival. I think you delivered a very convincing performance that day. Your set-list was as following: “Turn the Rack”, “At the Grave”, “The Devils Whore”, “Weep No More”, “Baptized In Piss”, “Suicide”, “Sabbath of the Rat” and “Metal Church”. Do you have any favourite tracks when playing live? Maybe one of those mentioned before?
Sonja: Thank you! Yes, AMF was a blast with a great line-up of Danish old-school death metal bands. I’m very pleased with the whole of the new album and enjoy performing them live. I do prefer the faster and angrier tracks though. And everything from Roomservice gives me goosebumps. And of course I’m immensely excited to present tracks like “Suicide” with actual Panzerchrist at some of the major stages in Denmark.
MR: With three new members I guess the song-writing process has also changed? Can you tell us a bit about the composing the music in Panzerchrist. How do you create a new Panzerchrist song together? Are all the guys equally involved in the process?
Sonja: Michael writes most of the music as always. Frederik and Danny will add their parts and drums and vocals are recorded in the studio. We have a lot of trust in each others capabilities and skills so there is a lot of room to play around with ideas.
MR: About the lyrical content, it has also changed, right? Nowadays it’s ‘more about witches than tanks’?!
Sonja: (Laughing) Yeah as Michael would probably say it, there are enough war and tanks in the world as it is, but we can never have enough witches. He asked for lyrics inspired by the crazy witch hunts of medieval times, so that is what Panzerchrist is about now.
MR: What bands/musicians did you listen to as a kid? How/if your taste in music has changed over the years? Do you still listen to some of the same artists?
Sonja: When I first tried out music on my own it was the same boybands as the other kids. However, my mom was not impressed, so she got me Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Shortly after I discovered a local death metal band and the Danish scene opened up for me followed by the international scene and an interest in black metal as well. I do listen to some of the modern bands, but always come back to the harsh sound of the 90’ies.
MR: You should have listened to your mother, at least in a connection to Black Sabbath (Laughing). Now, would you tell us what’s the next step for Panzerchrist? I guess it’s way too early to speak of a new album, but what are your other activities? Any other concerts planned before the end of this year?
Sonja: Actually, our next album will be recorded shortly and will be released next year! And we have an EP coming out soon as well. Next show is in February in Copenhagen.
MR: Cool, I’m already looking for the new album. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview! Would you like to add anything to the readers of Metal Revolution?
Sonja: Check out Last of a Kind if you like your death metal old-school, fast and blackened. Can’t wait to see you out there!