Panopticon
.​.​.​And Again into the Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale STAFF
May 22nd, 2021 | 104 replies


Release Date: 2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album thematically less focused than most of Panopticon’s recent output, and all the better for it

In recent years, Austin Lunn’s one-man project Panopticon has released a series of impressive albums with fairly diverse stylings. There was Kentucky , which melded black metal most fully with the folk and bluegrass influences of Lunn’s native state. There was Autumn Eternal , which turned Panopticon’s signature folk-tinged metal towards a thematically-focused seasonal release. Finally, Panopticon’s most recent previous LP, The Scars Of Man On The Once Unnamed Wilderness was a prodigious double album with a first side comprising black metal followed by a second side comprising folk/country tunes. Meanwhile, 2014’s Roads To The North may be the only album in this chapter of Panopticon’s discography which feels like a “quintessential” Panopticon record, despite having some distinctive touches of its own. The fact that it is arguably the consensus pick for Lunn’s best work during that stretch becomes less of a surprise upon hearing Panopticon’s latest effort, ...And Again Into The Light .

This reviewer went into Panopticon’s latest LP with the reasoned guess that this would be Lunn’s first fuller foray into the burgeoning blackgaze scene, this hypothesis backed by the shimmer of the album cover and the seemingly positive tone of the title. Does this album, then, truly turn towards blackgaze and as such adopt some lighter sonic touchstones than Panopticon’s previous output would suggest? Yes and no, but mostly the latter.

Expectations of a mellower style certainly aren’t disabused by the opening title track, an absolutely gorgeous piece of folk which produces images of idyllic natural grandeur. The following track, “Dead Loons” also starts extremely peacefully, with a reserved buildup of several minutes, but this proves to be a lead-in to doomy riffs which eventually turn towards the blackened maelstrom Panopticon is most known for. “Dead Loons” is a strong harbinger for the overall tendencies of Lunn’s tracks here: many are well over ten minutes in duration, and while often featuring folky and post-rock tendencies, uncompromising black metal is the backbone. That isn’t to say there isn’t some experimentation with lighter tones, with the shimmering stylings of “Embers At Dawn” coming to mind. When the album’s best track, the epic closer “Know Hope” is completed though, it becomes clear that ...And Again Into The Light is eight tracks with Lunn at the top of his game, crafting music which largely falls comfortably within the confines typically expected from his project.

Upon first listen, this record may feel a bit unfocused, as it lacks the thematic continuity which most of Panopticon’s recent full-lengths possess. However, further listens demonstrate that this is in fact a positive. Many of the tracks here have enough subtlety to only reveal themselves fully after a few listens. Beyond that, Lunn’s decision here to forego a staunch focus on any one style or concept, and instead simply present the various strands which make up his signature sound allow this LP to be just a (very strong) Panopticon album. That’s plenty good enough for this reviewer.



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user ratings (281)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't believe this didn't have a review yet, so I took one for the team!



This has grown on me while on heavy rotation this last week, one of my favorite metal albums so far this year.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


18241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Was waiting for the contrib review on this. Very nice.



I found this wishy washy in places, some really nice ideas next to some weird execution.



Small thing - - this would look nice if the album titles were in italics.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Nocte!



I do get that critique, I initially felt that way to some degree but it's sort of "clicked" for me in recent days.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


18241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

--I initially felt that way to some degree but it's sort of "clicked" for me in recent days.--



I've had this on and off (I have so many albums to get through at the moment), I do need to really sit down with it though.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get that for sure, there's always too much to listen to! It's the struggle...

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


18241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Fairly, I seem to run into this same damn problem every year so it’s probably more my fault than not. That said, I do feel like there’s a few guys on here who could relate to the need to process this much music. I think the word is “addiction”.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, probably true!

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

Nice review.

I don't share the love that most have for Panopticon, either in its folk or black metal approach.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers @TheNotrap! To each their own, over the years Panopticon has really grown on me, I wasn't overly impressed at first.

Scoot
May 22nd 2021


21950 Comments


love this dude

WatchItExplode
May 22nd 2021


10416 Comments


You are a reviewing machine Sunny.

brainmelter
May 22nd 2021


8246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

didn't dig the album too much tho I only listened one and a half times, a generous 3 for me

Sowing
Moderator
May 22nd 2021


43745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sorta rules

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2021


5650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@WatchItExplode, I've been in the reviewing mood the last few months for sure...



Sowing, kinda surprised you like this, but glad to hear it!

Sowing
Moderator
May 22nd 2021


43745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The folksy stuff here is nice and I've been inching my way into metal. Not my idea of a classic, but thoroughly enjoyable.

porcupinetheater
May 22nd 2021


11010 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Embers at Dawn is one of the best things he’s done. Initial impressions of this got it as some of the weaker Pano stuff, but that’s such a high bar it ain’t say much of anything at all

Pho3nix
May 22nd 2021


1570 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm probably one of the only ones who didn't really vibe with this one. I think I enjoyed the last one so much I miss the softer tones, ambience and acoustics.



Kentucky is still my go to album by this dude. By no means a bad record... just not feeling it this time ;___

Dedes
May 23rd 2021


9757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I forgot this was coming out

I am prepared for big nut

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2021


18241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yes this looks very nice now.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2021


31825 Comments


Gotta get on this soonish.

Great rev Sunny, you're on a roll my dear.



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