The name that always leaps out to me when we take into consideration the massive wave of atmospheric black metal in the last number of years has always been Panopticon. At every turn, the name has become synonymous with many ideas of the style, the height of quality that many bands wish to achieve, and a level of intensity that cannot be denied. Every new release has become a true celebration of all that the style can be, and that proved to be no different with the release of Panopticon’s latest work, and, much likes its predecessors, it doesn’t let down in the slightest.
To simply pass this record off that the next step in Panopticon’s evolution and another great addition to the band’s already magnificent discography would be to write this record off as quickly as possible without looking deeper into all that this massive work brings to the table. With an emotional backdrop that is detailed in the album’s liner notes, “…And Again Into The Light” is a record of overcoming struggle. Mental illness is far from a new topic in the world of black metal with how much the style often deals with the internal sufferings of the soul, but rarely does it get the exposure and quality that is deserves like what we’re granted here in this 71-minute expanse of raw emotion and exquisite musicianship. The mixture of devastating black metal, untouchable atmospheres, and staggering Americana has always been what has made Panopticon such a treat, and that is yet again the case in “…And Again Into The Light” as we get what absolutely is the next step in the band’s evolution, and to be taken on this tremendous journey of a human coming back from the brink of immense darkness is always an absorbent listen even in its smallest moments.
This is an undeniable peak of the style from all angles every way no matter how you look at it. From emotional salvation to immense black metal, Panopticon shows to us yet again why it has remained at the top of the style for several years now and there is still no sign in sight of that title passing on. Everything offered within “…And Again Into The Light” is to be fawned over with every minute providing glory that cannot be denied, and yet it’s still somehow not a surprise to me that such a stupendous work has come from Panopticon for if there’s anything to be associated with the band it most certainly has to be consistent excellence.
LISTEN to “…And Again Into The Light” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Panopticon on Bandcamp here.