Falls of Rauros / Panopticon
29 April 2014
Panopticon’s career output been fairly prolific, with the one man band giving us four full lengths (with another due this summer) and seven split releases (including the one we talk about here). It’s in stark contrast to Falls of Rauros who, in a similar time scale, have released two full lengths a handful of early demos and this split. Both though, tread their own path of nature inspired black metal with the former often turning to slightly different sounds depending on the records theme while the latter are firmly planted in that Cascadian sound that’s been rife these last few years.
Falls of Rauros open with two extended pieces which ebb and flow with deeply entrenched emotion and gorgeous lifts of guitar. ‘Unavailing’ begins with harsh vocals [Aaron] set against otherwise beautiful progressions of emotive black metal, the music contrasting the voice and pushing it into colder landscapes of sound. The band have created these two tracks based upon their time in Norway, as with the Panopticon side, and both songs have married the unforgiving nature of the country with its accompanying beauty in a stylish, sorrowful manner. Falls of Rauros pass shimmering guitar through deeply moving moments that tear at the heart and fall into ‘The Purity of Isolation’ in ways that drive at the core and lift the songs into despairing territory giving it a complete sadness that truly engages. They are due to release Believe in No Coming Shore this year via Bindrune Recordings and if these two tracks are anything to go by, it will be a dramatic and beautiful work indeed.
Panopticon’s sound has always been a tad rawer than his peers and on these tracks Austin Lunn sounds as misanthropic as he did on 2011’s somewhat concept record Social Disservices or 2012’s community driven Kentucky. There’s still hints of the softer side of Panopticon to be heard here, namely during the latter moments of ‘Through Mountains I Wander This Evening’ and the doomier progression of ‘Can You Loan Me A Raven’ but this is often counteracted by Lunn’s aggressive vocal approach which sits back ever so slightly from the music yet produces a powerful command over the listener. ‘One Cold Night’ and its introduction harks back to early 90s Norwegian black metal in its rhythm and atmosphere, the guitar a cycling through a constant riff that underpins the entire track while different motions sit above it before everything breaks free of its chains and bursts into decidedly frantic life. It’s an intense experience and one that is always present in Panopticon’s work. The next record, Roads To The North, is due for release in the coming months and if these four tracks are the signal of things to come, then you best being preparing yourself now.
Sounds Like: Lake Of Blood, Velnias, Skagos, Alda
Standout Tracks: Unavailing, Through Mountains I Wander This Evening, One Cold Night.