7 of 7 thought this review was well written
In today's world of music, releasing a split album with another artist is a great way to promote yourself. You could hook up with an artist of similar genre type, and hope their fans enjoy you too, or you could even collaborate with a band that shares no sonic traits with your group, in hopes to convert them to new and exciting music. Either way, splits can be essential in making or breaking a band in it's earlier days. A band that has come to fully utilize the potential of the split is the Kentucky based black metal band Panopticon. Since the groups 2007 formation, sole member Austin Lunn (also known as A) has already released an exceptional two albums and two great splits, boosting the popularity of the band immensely and cementing the fact that Panopticon is not just one of the premiere USBM bands of the decade, but also one of the premiere black metal bands of all time. Joining with fellow American based group Lake of Blood for the Panopticon/Lake of Blood Split
the two bands showcase that Xasthur and Leviathan aren't the only two USBM artists to be bragged about.
Throughout his previous musical adventures, Austin Lunn has shown tremendous skill in composing highly sophisticated black metal, and on the Panopticon/Lake of Blood Split
release, it's no different then before. First track "Haunted America" is not the black metal assault one would expect from Lunn, but instead is an eerie acoustic folk track, featuring political commentary in the background. Starting with a melancholic piano lead, the song goes on to incorporate soft, acoustic guitar lines and mournful, harmonizing cellos. The track is both melodic, yet grim, with sorrowful harmonies throughout. "La Passione di Sacco & Vanzetti", on the other hand is the high quality black metal Panopticon is known for. The song begins crushingly heavy, with Mr. Lunn's incredibly skillful drumming and a fast, chugging guitar line. Of course as the progresses, Lunn's begins to unleash his dynamism as a songwriter with the song gaining more melodic qualities such as a simple, yet powerful lead that dwells in the background of the mix and a razor blade tremolo picked line in the foreground. Overall, the Panopticon's side of the split is very successful, definitely upholding the standards set by the band before.
Surprisingly enough, the Lake of Blood side of the split is almost equally enjoyable as the Panopticon side, proving the band has great potential for the future. The band displays their own brand of melodic black metal quite well on this split, sometimes with the music even somewhat delving into melodic death metal. Their opening song "Eternal In My Domain" combines the tremolo picked riffing of black metal, with some great melodic death metal style guitar lines, to create a great contrast between simple and technical. Vocalist Haagr's hoarse, yet enjoyable rasp also definitely helps the band cross between the genre's with his voice easily being able to successfully occupy both genres. Unfortunately, the next two song's is where the split begins to see some problems. The tracks "Lake of Blood" and once again "Eternal In My Domain" are performed live and while the band seems to be performing quite well, the majority of the performance is drowned out by the drums. Some moments are giving clarity, but other-wise the songs are just a whirlwind of high hats and fills, severely eschewing what the song would truly sound like.
All in all, the Panopticon/Lake of Blood Split
is a very successful release by two of the best up and coming bands in USBM. While it slightly falters in some places, it once again shows why Panopticon has been garnering such rave reviews, and how lesser known group Lake of Blood will most likely become a forced to be reckoned with in the near future.