Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Panopticon : Roads to the North

Pushing past what you thought blackened folk metal was a step further than Ifing recently did. The first song opens with a brutal blend that is thrashed against the rocks. This is the 5th full length Austin Lunn has released and it's also the most baffling that it is the work of one man rather than a band. Sure with the technology to overdub infinitely is not inconceivable, yet impressive none the less. More impressive when you take into consideration all the varied instruments played on the more organic passages.

When Lunn is indulging in metal it blends Thrashy black metal with post- rock and  a few almost hardcore break downs . At 12 minutes"Where the Mountains Pierce the Sky" holds plenty of room to explore, yet the song never wanders to far from it's original intention. With a song of this magnitude it requires a few listens. I have been sitting on this album for some time digesting it in rather piece meal portions.

The "Long Road" is split into three songs. The first of these is rambling bluegrass, sure it descended from the Appalachians but it's bluegrass just like the kind Jerry Garcia used to play, so put that in your bong and smoke it.The second song is sweeping metal. Not really super blasty all the way through instead kicking the blast beats beats in for quick spastic accents. He lets it breathe with the more post rock interludes. The third seeps out of the post-rock element Lunn established in the previous song, so these are more connected than the first song was to the second.This one is more shoegazey and dream like, very much like somewhere Alcest or Deafheaven would considering how it builds into a more black metal section.It rallies into a pretty powerful chug. The vocals lower into more of an effects coated death metal roar.

The ballad "Norwegian Nights" is well executed and sung rather well in a passionately hushed Baritone almost like Brand New. It is not something that I would feel the need to listen to on a regular basis, but it was pulled off  to the degree Lunn wanted, so it succeeds on that level.The pummeling black metal of "In Silence" speeds by in a snarling blur.It smooths out into Moonsorrow like a epic soaring. Clean vocals around faintly layered around the rasp and slowly move to the forefront. The song slows almost back into the post-rock thing , but much more of a say Agalloch pace, then blasts back off.

The album closes with "Chase the Grain"Epic metal cruncher set against an orchestral synth backdrop. The guitars carry the melody like progressive death metal as the vocals rant and roar further back in the mix. Midway through the symphonic elements become even more heavy handed like something Dimmu Borgir might do. The song builds into a very At The Gates like section. Pretty engaging listen I'll give it a 9.5, as a song like the ballad I probably won't be listening to much, nor the first song in the Long Road trilogy, but the album nails it pretty hard when it's on and is an outstanding piece of work.


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