Kentucky: Panopticon

Rating: 75%

io-review_panopticon-k_hOk, Atmospheric Black Metal mixed with American Folk music and Bluegrass. Sounds weird, right? Well…it’s not as far fetched as one would believe. Panopticon, which is a one man band by Austin L. Lunn, Austin, a very talented musician plays every instrument from the drums, bass, guitars and yes, banjo and fiddle on the Kentucky record. This record was released in 2012 and features a collection of songs that are bluegrass and black metal and sometimes the two go hand and hand on the same song. The final cut, is an Appalachian masterpiece. The Black Metal songs on this record are long coming in over ten minutes. The Bluegrass songs come in under five minutes.

While, I admit, Austin is talented, the record production is flawed with some background noise and at times, there seems to be a lot going on. The music has structure, it’s epic in which it tells a story of the coal miners. The harsh shrills and the rapid drum work are classic Black Metal. Then, the album also features American traditional sounds and the vocals are just as clean as water. If Austin wanted to, I believe he could take Bluegrass back from the mainstream pop world and make it to what it should be, music from Appalachia.

The album opens with an instrumental banjo and fiddle piece which sets the tone for the record. The music is good and very traditional. “Bodies Under The Falls” opens with full throttle fast double bass drums, flute, rapid bass and guitar with the shrills and growls that Black Metal is known for. Then the song fades to traditional bluegrass and head right back into Black Metal.

Bottom line, if you like something different, then this album would be a great piece to add to your collection.

Track listing:

1. Bernheim Forest in Spring 02:54 instrumental
2. Bodies Under the Falls 10:28
3. Come All Ye Coal Miners 04:13
4. Black Soot and Red Blood 10:11
5. Which Side Are You On? 03:00
6. Killing the Giants as They Sleep 12:25
7. Black Waters 04:57
8. Kentucky 03:21 instrumental

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