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New tunes from black metal band Panopticon’s forthcoming fifth album

Panopticon Road to the North

Black metal, for all the beating it takes about being a very stuck-in-the-past genre, can be surprisingly forward thinking in so many ways. Bands such as Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, and Ruins of Beverast push the limits of what the style can do while maintaining the darker feel for which it is known, whilst the likes of Agalloch, Caladan Brood, and Austere push it in directions that move away from the simple blasts of evil that it is so often painted to be the only thing black metal can be.

Kentucky’s Panopticon are one of those bands that always find ways to be utterly innovative. The brainchild of Austin Lunn, Panopticon have been releasing truly visionary black metal for quite some time now, including the brilliant 2012 record Kentucky and 2009′s excellent Collapse. Panopticon released a split with Falls of Rauros earlier this year, which was met with acclaim, and Panopticon are now geared up to release their fifth full length album, titled Roads To The North. Yesterday, Stereogum premiered a first taste of the highly anticipated record.

The new song is titled “Chase the Grain“, and is an intriguing 12 minute exploration of black metal. It feels cold in that refreshing kind of way. It moves through passages of icy blasting, and is interspersed with moving sections which make great use of a variety of unusual folk instruments including a banjo, a Native American flute, mandolin, and a dobro, all played by the effervescent Austin “Lundr” Lunn. The folk passages offset the heavier black metal sections really nicely, but the best is when they all come together in a glorious union of odd and traditional. The mountainous cold of the black metal fuses perfectly with the folk music, creating serenity within the chaos.

The album was arranged, engineered, and produced by Colin Marston (Gorguts/Krallice/Dysrhythmia/Behold… The Arctopus), who seems to be doing everything these days, and will also feature a variety of guest performances from members of Obsequiae, Altar of Plagues, and Celestial.

Road to the North will be  released on Bindrune Recordings on August 1st.

Kevin writer banner Jan 2014