Thursday, July 31, 2014

Falls Of Rauros / Panopticon Split 12"




This is a beautiful package, brought to us courtesy of Bindrune Recordings.  If you are not familiar with this label, hop on the interwebs as soon as you finish this review and educate yourself.  This is a vinyl only release, so that's one beautiful thing.  The 12” vinyl itself is gorgeous, half black and half white.  That's two beautiful things.  And people will call me crazy, but I happen to think that black metal itself is beautiful, especially the variety played by Falls of Rauros.  And Panopticon is pretty good stuff too.  I dig everything about this release.

I don't know which is the “A” side and which is the “B”, and it probably doesn't matter in the case of a split anyway.  I started out with the Falls of Rauros side.  We are treated to two tracks, as these guys work more with the epic kind of song length.  The first song, “Unavailing” is very good.  The lyrics hint at loss and desolation and the music matches those sentiments perfectly.  There is a somewhat raging first section of the song and then a beautiful, slower, more acoustically tinged second part.  The thing that I really love about these longer tracks is that they develop some repetition in the riff and there is a feeling of almost drone or trance-like quality to the music.  It just makes me feel like I can slip away for a while, just wander outside of myself and truly lock in to the feelings and emotions of the song.  Second track “The Purity of Isolation” is shorter and starts out with acoustics so that the listener can more or less continue the vibe from the previous track.   Again, the repetition of the riffs and rhythms allows the listener to close their eyes and drift off.  And again, I don't know quite what it is, but it is music that really allows your soul to connect with what the musicians are bringing you.  All of it, performance, rhythm, progressions, combine to take you to a place that is almost sacred.

Panopticon bring us a slightly different flavor of black metal.  This is more to the point, less meandering, a little more brutal and menacing in feel.  They provide 4 tracks on their side, so the songs are shorter and more direct.  This is the black metal that feels like there is horde of rampaging Vikings bearing down on your village and there isn't a lot you can do about it.  Their first track, “Through the Mountains I Wander this Evening”, most definitely has the rampaging Viking feel to it.  Track 2, “Can You Loan Me A Raven”, has a cool name and a very sinister vibe.  Slower in tempo and a very ominous, repeating riff, you probably shouldn't listen to this when you are alone in the house and its dark outside.  Or maybe you should, and that's the whole point.

The third song, “Gods of Flame”, is the shortest one on offer from Panopticon, but it feels like it could really stretch out and go places.  It has an epic feel to it.  Mostly it's just a very crushing black metal tune that would be right at home on an album released in Norway 20 years ago.  Very classic stuff.  And then the side wraps up with “One Cold Night”, a very appropriately named track.  You can feel the iciness creeping up around you, and almost expect to confront some Frost Giants.  Then the song blasts off into hyper speed and you could maybe imagine that you're fighting said Giants with Thor by your side.  I think you get the picture.

You can probably find this digitally, like on the Bandcamp site for Bindrune, but do yourself the favor of trying to find a copy of this one on vinyl if its still available.  As I said, a beautiful package in every way, one that you will be happy to own and will listen to over and over again if you are a fan of the black metal. 

- ODIN



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