I fucking love Bandcamp, I really do. Simply because whenever I go in there are always a few select bands that are constantly topping the site’s charts be it years after an album’s release or the day of or weeks before. Atmospheric black metal has done this an absolute fuck ton with Saor, Mesarthim, Downfall of Nur, and, most recently, Panopticon. This American one-man band has long been a fan favorite in the underground, and I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about by finally investigating with this newest piece being my first, and I’m upset at myself that I didn’t investigate sooner.
The glory about black metal is how malleble it is, and how some artists can mold it with different styles no matter how different the two might be from one another and then proceed to make it work splendidly. Panopticon has long been a rare act that has brought together the harsh world of black metal with the dry (in a good way) experience of americana/country/folk/whatever the fuck you wanna call it, and that’s not exactly something you can just say you’re gonna do and then go do it on a whim. It requires so much balance, but somehow Panopticon has done it consistently enough for his entire career, and it has truly resonated across the underground of metal.
With this brand new double album, Panopticon truly leaves no stone unturned with his unique approach to music. The first half of “The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness” is mostly black metal, while the second half is primarily americana, so we’re given a good split of the two in the form of a 2-hour experience the likes of which lives up to the grand hype that I’ve been misisng out on for years. In every way, Panopticon delivers as these eighteen tracks range from introspective pieces that reflect on the nature of man to hard-hitting atmospheric black metal that immerses us in nature itself. It creates a phenomenal balance that’s all but intoxicating, and I’m positive that Panopticon is one of a handful of bands that have ever and will ever exist that will master a unique merging of styles such as this.
“The Scars of Man” is everything that Panopticon has created for years now, and I’m positive in saying that the man behind is constantly getting better with each new release bringing new sounds to the surface, allowing the man to truly hone his musicianship like few others can, and bringing to the table a unique approach to not just metal but music in general while actually making it fucking work. “The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness” is destined to go down as one of the greatest album this year will have to offer, and I take solace knowing that this record has already garnered the proper amount of praise that it rightfully deserves.
LISTEN to “The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Panopticon on Facebook here.