Louisville, KY based one man band Panopticon has been one of the most creative forces in black metal in recent years, combining the ever-popular atmospheric black metal sound with Americana and Bluegrass. The breakout album Kentucky was a genre-bending masterpiece, breaking up swathes of blasting drums and tremolo-picked riffs with old protest songs from the coal labor union movement in the early 1900’s, complete with traditional folk instruments such as mandolin and banjo. An odd amalgam to be sure, but it was an inspired record that put Panopticon on the map as a band essential to the American black metal scene.
Panopticon’s upcoming effort Roads to the North appears as though it will continue with this stylistic fusion, albeit with much more intensity. A new track from the effort — ‘Capricious Miles‘ — has recently been made available for streaming, and the 8-minute epic is shockingly catchy. Austin Lunn has grown magnificently as a musician, with his aggressive sections carrying more groove and actual riffing. There’s not a lot of folk instrumentation going on during this track — there’s a fiddle lead around 2:30 — but it’s still worth the journey.
Roads to the North will be out August 1st on Bindrune Records. For more information (including pre-orders!) visit Bindrune Recordings online.