Review Summary: a victorious effort that celebrates the process of change
Much like the leaves that change from green to brownish red as they wither away, Panopticon’s Autumn Eternal
is an album that examines both change and loss. It doesn’t just examine these themes, however, it embraces them triumphantly. One of the album’s first singles, ‘Into the North Woods’, could very well be a celebration of life’s constantly shifting circumstances. Its guitars gallop forward with bursts of energy, creating an undeniable sense of victory through its atmosphere. At its core, the album is really about which direction to turn in the midst of the changes happening all around us, and it’s the acceptance of this change that Austin Lunn uses to create such an honest and energetic tone throughout the album. Oh, and it ***ing slays, so there’s that.
Upon hearing Autumn Eternal
in its glorious entirety, one thing is apparent – Lunn has rarely sounded this determined and passionate about his music. Roads of the North
was an excellent step up from the ambitious yet indistinct Kentucky
, but several songs tended to overstay their welcome. On the 6th full length from the impressively prolific musician, this isn’t an issue in the slightest. Every single note and chord struck in the album feels as though it belongs to something much grander, as Lunn plants a picture of an autumn landscape in our minds with a multitude of influences from classical to shoegaze.
Lunn’s ability to mix these various genres without the end result sounding awkward or out of place is truly astounding. This is especially true on the complete beast of a track ‘Sleep to the Sound of the Waves Crashing”, one of the most ambitious and intimidating songs of Lunn’s illustrious career. The song mashes together several moods, but it’s the delicate use of the cello in its second half that really allows it to flourish into something special. Following the poignant classical influences the track suddenly switches gears and transforms into an intimidating, borderline apocalyptic mountain of riffs and angry screams. The contrasting tones throughout the song give it a powerful sense of longevity, and there’s something new to uncover upon each listen. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about every track here.
Although Autumn Eternal
flows together smoothly from start to finish, it’s perhaps a bit too cohesive for its own good at times. On one hand, the album is instantly gratifying, but on the other, a sense of familiarity between several tracks cause the overall experience to be slightly less rewarding. In other words, the album’s cohesion is not only its strength, but also its only real weakness. It’s highly impressive from the get-go, but leaves the more daring listener searching for more upon repeated listens. However, despite the album losing some of its initial steam, Autumn Eternal
is another solid and satisfying release from a determined Austin Lunn. The fact that he was able to follow up “Roads” so diligently and quickly is an accomplishment in itself, but the album’s structure and focus work together to craft perhaps his most accessible release to date. It’s not an album that takes much effort to get into, which makes it an enjoyable metal release for just about any fan of the genre, and an easy recommendation to those not well versed in metal.
gives off a positive vibe that proves to be as infectious as Lunn’s finest work. He never seems to make the same album twice, and he has continued this tradition with his victorious new effort. It’s an oddly uplifting album --one that reminds us with its consistent energy and passion that change isn’t always such a bad thing.