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.
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