Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Panopticon : "Autumn Eternal"
This one man black metal band's new album opens with an acoustic Appalachian piece before the metal swells up in the form of "Into the North Woods" which is not color by numbers black metal, really thoughtful drumming moves the song in a way that blast beats couldn't showing showing what black metal can be if you are brave and talented enough to step away from conventions. Sure you might argue this is closer of the more post- rock influenced brand that bands like Deafheaven made popular and you would not be wrong but it works here.Its crazy to think Lunn is up in Kentucky doing this. He does bring in a violinist, cellist and Finntroll vocalist to help out in a few places. The more conventional blast beats to come in the title track. Lunn's vocals have improved he goes into a lower gurgle on a few spots. The title track doesn't blow me away like the first metal on here does, but it's still better than most of the black metal that has come out this year. The bass work compliments the drums well on the break down section, giving the build up the added intensity as intended.
On "Oaks Ablaze" the drums are an even more impressive pummeling machine. The galloping groove doesn't find its hooves until a minute in. The vocals give weight to my theory that often harsh vocals in metal serve as s layer of white noise to give the music just a human touch. Midway into the song it breaks down into the somewhat folk metal cliche of the sound of crunching leaves being walked on. The drums begin a tribal around around this before it builds back up.The sound effects continue on with " Sleep to the Sound of the Waves Crashing" it opens as a blast fest, which for what we know Lunn is capable of would be a cop out if it ended there. Three minutes in it begins to grow more melodic. If you read my review here on a regular basis you might notice I am always scrutinizing bands for melody and dynamic. I know this is a vulgar habit of mine, but since we are talking about music those to things are essential and what seperates it from being noise. The song goes into a Philip Glass like classical section that has a mourning quality to it. The song blasts back with a rapid fire yet melodic section.
The sweeping Deafheaven like feel returns to " Pale Ghosts". In fact the blast beats only further lean the sound into that direction. It is not the albums most original moment by any stretch of the imagination. I am surprised more of the Appalachian sounds haven't re surfaced. One of the album's longest songs is the slower but more driving "A Superior Lament" . The guitar work manages to keep up with the drumming and the vocals drop into the lower growl to create an overall more unique sound than the previous song mustered. The guitar harmonies are almost Iron Maiden like. Lunn is becoming more of a drummer than a guitar player , but the guitar parts aren't shabby. Its just clear where the albums strengths lie.
The album closes with " Wind's Farewell" which gets its start as more of a post-rock thing. The guitar tone on this one is great backing off from the standard metal crunch. Four minutes in the blast beats return but in a very organic manner. I typically don't like instrumentals , but the guitar here really sings to make up for it. This is one of Lunn's better offerings he keeps getting better. If you are a fan round it up a point from the 8.5 I think this album is worth.