The Rickety Old Shack

Panopticon — The Crescendo Of Dusk EP

album cover

As tends to be the case, Panopticon drops another release in our lap with precisely zero advance warning. Only a mere 9 months since the release of last year's double LP, The Scars Of Man On The Once Nameless Wilderness (review), and we have a 'short' EP — clocking in at 20 minutes total running time. Consisting of a pair of cuts scrapped from the project's last 2 albums, The Crescendo Of Dusk gives Panopticon fans something to tide them over until the next full-length release. (Which will also drop suddenly, with little-to-no warning, just how we like it.)

The bulk of the EP is comprised of the title track, which was apparently scrapped from The Scars Of Man... album, followed by a shorter piece culled from the full-length before that. "The Crescendo Of Dusk" certainly sounds like it would fit right in with the material on that record. Austin Lunn didn't specifically state why the track was cut, everything about it meets the high standard of quality the Panopticon project is known for, though I suppose, for pacing reasons a 14-minute track was easily cut from a double-album that still has 2 hours of material. "The Crescendo Of Dusk" is a lengthy track, featuring multiple sections delineated by quiet, instrumental interludes. The track opens with a buzzing, classically black metal riff and then quickly transitions to a typical Panopticon arrangement of frantic drums, low growls, and long instrumental passages.

The title track is an excellent sampler of a lot of what Panopticon has to offer, as the song is lengthy, transitions between all-out aggression, haunting melody and relaxing atmospherics. This is one of the longer tracks the project has ever put out, but it's still a quality song and doesn't drag at any point, although it's a lot to take in if you're new to the band or the atmospheric black metal genre. I definitely understand why the track didn't stay on the cutting room floor, it's Panopticon doing what it does best. Likewise, the second track on the EP, "The Labyrinth," is another quality tune that completes this 'taster' release.

Opening with the sound of footsteps in the snow and the wold winter wind, "The Labyrinth" evokes the opening of Roads To The North (review), but is an acoustic folk number rather than another blistering metal track. I honestly would have figured that this track, an acoustic guitar / banjo number, was recorded during sessions for The Scars Of Man... rather than Autumn Eternal, but I would be wrong. The track is a slow, melodic piece that features a spoken-word narrative rather than traditional singing, recounting the tale of a man spiritually finding himself in the vastness of the wilderness. The EP is a dedication to the Northern Lights, and this track does a good job celebrating nature without coming off as try-hard or excessively evangelisitic.

This is a great little release, and a very pleasant surprise to this long-time fan of Panopticon. Additionally, The Crescendo Of Dusk is a great primer for anyone interested in Panopticon and / or the whole concept of blending black metal with American folk.

Summary

A quick dose of material from Panopticon, consisting of tracks cut from the project's previous 2 albums. The Crescendo Of Dusk doesn't blaze any new trails, but rather provides listeners with excellent demonstrations of the project's hallmark sound. A 14-minute metal track and a 7 minute acoustic folk song comprise this 20-minute offering from one of America's best underground musicians. This EP is both a solid addition to any Panopticon fan's collection and a nearly perfect entry point for those unfamiliar with the project. These may be leftovers, but they didn't get cold.

Album Information

Release date: January 26th, 2019.
Record label: Independent

Austin Lunn — guitars, vocals, bass, keys, square neck resonator, samples

Track Listing

  1. The Crescendo Of Dusk
  2. The Labyrinth

Link: thetruepanopticon.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: February 1st, 2019.