Sunday, March 10, 2013

Panopticon - Kentucky

Review by Aaron Sullivan.


For my money THE most exciting American Black Metal band going, is Panopticon. Austin Lunn’s vision come to life musically. With 3 albums and countless split’s he has used each to explore different themes as well as musical direction. With Kentucky he has taken it to new level not only for him. But what can be done in the realm of Black Metal.

Kentucky is a very personal record for Austin as it has been his home state for the last 10 years. In this album he speaks of the states history with the coal miners, how the practice of coal mining affects the environment, the massacre of Indians at Ywahoo Falls, and the forest he finds himself in when feeling lost. Now anyone who has been following Panopticon for some time knows that the addition of Folk (including banjo: see Collapse album) is nothing new for this band. With this album he turns it up a notch. Adding straight up Bluegrass and his take on traditional mining protest songs. Have no worry though. The Black Metal is in full force with songs like Black Soot & Red Blood and the epic Killing The Giants As They Sleep. The sound is full and songs feel alive. The acoustic passages are rich with texture. The protest songs need no distortion or harsh vocals to get the anger across to the listener, their message is clear. As always with all of his albums, for me, the stand out is his drumming. The tone he has just grabs you by the throat and never lets you go.

This is a band I have followed from his first album. With each new release I thought he would never be able to top himself, and with each new release he does just that (Kentucky is my 2012 album of the year). With Kentucky he has set the bar very high. But with his talents I have no doubt he will meet and exceed expectations.


[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

6 comments:

  1. Excellent album. I kept reading good things about it last year, and finally got to listen to it when it was put up on bandcamp. I like his take on "Come All Ye Coal Miners." I have heard a number of versions of the song, mainly by alt-country bands (Uncle Tupelo), and it was nice to hear a slightly different spin on it.

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  2. I don't know any of the original songs, but I think the bluegrass works remarkably well in context of this album.

    It would interesting to a hear a similar combination of dark americana / alt country and black metal.

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  3. Fantastic album, and they were never able to keep up with demand for physical copies, so it's good to see it's on Bandcamp.

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    1. I guess I'll never understand why issues with physical copies should prevent an album from being released on Bandcamp. But I'm happy that it is finally available.

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  4. This. Is. Incredible. The blend of two of my favourite genres, mixed with story, emotion, meaning, and talent.

    Thank you metalbandcamp, thank you panopticon.

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    1. And thank you MReyes for the kind words.

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