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Review: Panopticon - Kentucky

Label: Pagan Flames
Year released: 2012
Duration: 51:29
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: May 16, 2014
Reviewed by: Edward T. Head
Readers Rating

Rated 4.56/5 (91.11%) (9 Votes)

Panopticon is a one-man Black Metal "band" of a different breed. The brainchild of Austin Lunn (aka A. Lundr), Panopticon has always had a sprawling, winding take on the genre, with layered/textured songs often exceeding the 10-minute mark, interspersed with ambient sections and samples pertinent to the message at hand. On 2009's Collapse, the opening track flirted with Bluegrass, which, lo and behold, was a sign of things to come.

Enter 2012 (with 2011's raging Social Disservices released in between), and Panopticon unleashed Kentucky, an entire album of the unlikely amalgam of Black Metal and American/Bluegrass. The craziest part? It works really well. With the subject matter dealing with Lunn's home-state (at the time), it only made since to further explore the sound. The album is about a 50/50 split between the two styles, but the segues into one another are handled effortlessly. It's a sound you have to hear for yourself to fully grasp.

The only real drawback is that there are only three tracks of Black Metal (however, adding up to over 32 minutes), but it's done so well, that it doesn't feel like enough. Also of particular note in the metal sections is Lunn's drumming. It's been perhaps my favorite part of Panopticon since first listen. His expressiveness behind the kit is some of the best in the genre, and at times takes the songs to a whole other level.

So, for the adventurous amongst you, or those just looking for something different, Kentucky is a recommended listen, and another very solid effort added to the Panopticon lexicon.

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