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Quick Review: FALLS OF RAUROS/PANOPTICON Split LP

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Back in 2011, Austin Lunn, the mastermind behind one-man black metal project Panopticon, was studying zymurgy in Norway to prepare for the opening of his Hammerheart Brewery in Minnesota. In the Autumn of that year, Lunn was visited by a few of his friends in the Maine-based black metal band Falls of Rauros. The group were inspired by their time spent in the Nordic countryside, and this split LP is the result of that.

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The album begins with 2 offerings from Falls of Rauros. The songs, "Unavailing" and "The Purity of Isolation," are very much in the vein of what the band has created in the past, and there's a definite neo-folk influence present in both Falls of Rauros songs that Agalloch fans will cotton to. However, there isn't much in the way of traditional black metal to be found in these first two songs. The atmosphere is melancholic rather than hateful, and the music even lapses into what can only be described as serenity at times.

For Panopticon's contributions, Austin Lunn chose to go in the opposite direction of Falls of Rauros as well as his own recent work. The four tracks on the Panopticon side of the LP are decidedly more raw and brutal than anything he's written since the project's self-titled debut album.

If you're one of those crybabies who gets their panties in a bunch about modern black metal not sounding "evil" enough, take note: the four Panopticon tracks on this LP are straight-up frenetic True Norwegian Black Metal worship. There's nary a hint on folk music or post anything in these songs. While Falls of Rauros seem to have been inspired by the beauty and majesty of the Norwegian landscape, Lunn sounds like he's channeling Mayhem and Burzum here. Track titles like "Through Mountains I Wander This Evening" and "Can You Loan Me A Raven" may sound slightly goofy and goth metal-y, but there's nothing but ravishing grimness to be found in Panopticon's new material.

There's no official release date for this split LP yet, but it's available for pre-order now through the always reliable Bindrune Records. Fans of nature worshiping heathen black metal and O.G. Norwegian black metal alike will want to grab one of these albums quickly before they're sold out.

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