Panopticon

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room is an important band for me. When I was just getting into black metal, I found my way to the early albums in the band’s discography, which demonstrated to me the intrinsic and glorious bond black metal has with nature. I was absolutely captivated and I still consider the trilogy of Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters and Black Cascade to be one of the strongest in black metal’s catalog. While I may be less enamored with the later albums (Thrice Woven, apart from its thunderous opener, left me cold), I feel a very close affinity with the band, and any new release is a very big deal to this reviewer.” Wolves or sheep?

Dismalimerence – Tome: I Review

Dismalimerence – Tome: I Review

“Naming a debut Tome: I is a ballsy move. Not only does it hew awfully close to a famously divisive metal work (Wintersun‘s Time I), but it’s a sign that a band considers this a “serious album,”TM requiring both patience and effort to understand and appreciate. Chicago’s Dismalimerence is nothing if not serious. Its name is an awkward portmanteau of “dismal” and “limerence,” indicating an ugly or depressing infatuation. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and repeating it in quick succession after a few drinks is challenging.” Wherever I may Tome.

Fool’s Ghost – Dark Woven Light Review

Fool’s Ghost – Dark Woven Light Review

“Dark, cinematic, and dreamy is not the typical combination of descriptors used for bands signed to heavy metal label Prosthetic Records. Nevertheless, there’s a first time for everything. Prosthetic Records released one of my favorite metal albums of 2019 (Paladin‘s Ascension), and now they are releasing Dark Woven Light, the debut by Fool’s Ghost, a husband and wife duo from Louisville, Kentucky.” Haunting haunts.

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

“There’s something intriguing about black metal. While its origins are saturated with violence and its imagery is so defiantly anti-status quo, it’s calmed down significantly over the last decade or so. With more accessible styles like folk and post-rock taking more of a prominent role, it can be difficult to find the trve kvlt style that once circulated the underground in whispered rumors.” Dirty deals.

Primeval Mass – Nine Altars Review

Primeval Mass – Nine Altars Review

“What is it about black metal that drives artist to go at it solo? You rarely hear about one man thrash or prog metal bands, yet some of the biggest and most influential black metal artists take their journey solitary, including the likes of Panopticon and early Windir. They usually get by with the assistance of a guest musician or two. And most of these hermits even specialize in the same subcategory of atmospheric black metal. Maybe the inherent misanthropy of black metal specifically has something to do with it, or people copying their examples. Maybe it’s simply an easier genre to solo than others. Whatever the case, Primeval Mass is another example, with main man Orth taking up vocals, guitars and bass, leaving drums to session musician George C.” One man, nine altars.

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

“We all have those times where we look back and say to ourselves ‘what was I thinking?’ That’s kind of how I feel about reviewing Dzö-nga‘s second album, The Sachem’s Tales, back in 2017. Today, a folky atmospheric black metal album with classical influences seems so far out of my wheelhouse that it’s not even in the same hemisphere. Yet, I did enjoy my share of Agalloch and Cascadian black metal back in the day, and as such, I was able to appreciate Tales as an inspired and engrossing piece of woodsy black metal with intriguing Native American themes. Led by vocalist and guitarist Cryvas, this Boston project has now returned with another opus, this time based on H.W. Longfellow’s epic poem ‘The Song of Hiawatha.'” Spirits of nature.

Grima – Will of the Primordial Review

Grima – Will of the Primordial Review

“Being in forests for extended periods makes me uneasy, because 50 feet of visibility feels claustrophobic when you’re used to seeing the point where the Earth curves away. Russian atmo-black duo Grima have no such qualms. Hailing from Siberia and that same boreal forest, ‘taiga’ to them, they make music to ‘worship the elder forest…where the Grima is a supreme god…who protects only those who live in a forest, and punishes everyone who does not respect nature.’ To which I say, backing away slowly, ‘Whoa fellas, we’re all nature lovers here. Forests, amirite?'” Tree mugger.