by Oliver on December 7, 2023 in Album, Heavy Rotation
A great vintage of atmospheric black metal deserves this crowning achievement: Austin Lunn underlines the supremacy of Panopticon at the end of 2023 The Rime of Memory in impressively massive imposing.
„This album has 2 meanings. You can see this album solely as a rant about the climate crisis and wilderness advocacy. Or you can see this album as a coming to terms with the aging process…Or, as I do, you can see it allergoricaly about both.“ explains Lunn in the manifesto accompanying his tenth studio album and later adds (probably not without a certain sentimentality): “Each day is sacred as we slowly march towards the end. Don’t forget to enjoy the beauty you see, smell, taste and feel along the way. It won’t last forever…so enjoy it, cherish it… protect it.“
A tragedy driven by feelings of happiness and despair, which demonstrates Lunn’s talent for creating sonic landscapes of impressively lively vitality and creating them with the balance of gripping momentum and lasting depth effect, with cinematographic determination, a rousingly clear dynamic in terms of production technology and the corresponding awareness one that captures one’s own greatness almost immediately: the opener In the autumnal gloom of memory With Celtic folklore and stoic piano, wearily striding through the snow, sets a captivating mood that makes the thoughtful atmosphere of a barren winter landscape visually tangible in imaginative density, and thus installs a panorama to spread the feeling of an epic, majestic and larger-than-life drama.
Directly taking over (because The Rime of Memory is above all more than the sum of its parts, especially triumphant as a whole) plucks the instrumental first part of Winter’s Ghost – Longing – in the snow-covered Appalachians as a picturesque melodrama, after five minutes it revels in the chorus of mystical naturalism, confronting the grandeur with an archaic, altruistic pragmatism, until Panopticon above Part II: Homeless penetrates to its roots and core competencies, unleashes a powerful stream of tacking drums and sawing tremolo, a rage that is so clearly directed towards an anthem in a clean, powerful production, at times even tearing into a doomy storm with sacred strings.
It has an unrelenting tendency to vehemence, such a beauty in the sound space that Panopticon Not only in the extremes – i.e. modern black metal and Americana folklore – appear a bit more complete than before, but also bring these poles together more organically in the homogenizing perspective in between, conjuring up the holistic aspect of the being. In the face of the underlying concept, every aspect rears up, nothing resigns.
The songwriting and the performance (also supported by numerous friends) are certainly impressive.
In a congenial way Cedar Skeletons the (frontal, but cleverly accentuated) drums blast the vocals into the background, the guitar walls begin to solo at some point out of the frenzy – the intensity, pressure and urgency simply do not let up: harsh and muscular, the undertow barks and barks in a concentrated, unwaveringly targeted manner and effective. You can feel at every second: Lunn knows where he wants to go with this album – and how he propagates this as a demonstration of power, the influences of Agalloch above Lankum up to Godspeed-Epigonism authentically assimilated.
In this respect, the return to contemplative post-rock is not a detour, but a growth step for the wild ride that begins once again (whose string arrangements are as simple as they are anthemic, uplifting and magnificently successful) in the sacred fever dream, with no upward limit.
The abrupt end comes without a break An Autumn Storm alright, where spherical textures over the maelstrom awaken a somnambulist berserker (with fantastic drum work).
Cathedral Enduring the Snow Drought Her catchy riff is perhaps repeated a bit too liberally on its own, but when embedded in the progression, this form of direct grip has a truly euphoric effect and also ensures a motif that is milled directly into the memory with this triumphant conciseness, which shows heroism. The shimmering post-rock of the finish is followed by the beginning of The Blue Against the White – in a sense a clearly sung shoegaze ballad without provoking a break in the aesthetic – even more definitively spread out before Lunn unleashes and savors the massive, clean American atmospheric black metal for which Panopticon has long been a synonym for consistent quality: “Either by ice or by rot/ This life is all we have got/ We have nothing else to lose, as we make a home of our tomb/ For all love we deny, for all the poison we imbibe/ For all memories lost to time/ Another part of us dies/ …./ Blind eyes still perceive the beauty of the dawn/ Beyond all sunsets and into the dark of loss“.
In fact, it rounds off the 76 minutes without any really serious baggage The Rime of Memory This makes it even more poetic as a monolith, surpassing the previous discography highlights Kentucky (2012), Roads to the North (2014) and even …And Again Into the Light (2021) – and thanks to the consistency of the material this time it also deserves to be rounded up between the rating points: the awareness of transience ultimately fuels a momentum (although not necessarily iconic, but almost flawless), which is presumably also based on the current enthusiasm will continue to exist.
The Rime Of Memory by Panopticon