Falls of Rauros / Panopticon [US, Black] (2014)

Bindrune Recordings |2-15-14

Bindrune Recordings |2-15-14

Splits are an amazing way to get acquainted with old bands as they work on new material or discover new bands. The very nature of their design is joint advertising and trying to get as much music to as many different people. Birdrune Recordings has decided to make it their lot in life by surrounding themselves with rustic based extreme metal from all over the United States and beyond. Birdrune only seems to be providing temporary housing for Panopticon and this arranged courtship with Falls of Rauros seems to be for a brief moment in time. Whatever is contained on here is a flirtation between two stellar black metal bands who will be in different places within the months time. Enjoy it while you can.

Panopticon came to slightly larger notice with the release of Kentucky in 2012. The combination of Appalachian folk and black metal was something many people could discuss and talk about. It was also really decent and surprising in its experimentation. Panopticon’s 2014 material is without the folk flourishes which marked his previous album and even the 2013 split with Vestiges. In fact, most instances of folk and even atmospheric influences are gone with just cold and isolated bleakness in its place. Panopticon’s four new songs are marked with a surprisingly well mixed darkness which is brief and violent. I feel I am surprised with Panopticon’s side only in the fact that I thought it would be something completely different.

Falls of Rauros’s recent popularity is also due to a recent album, most notably, The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood in 2011. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Falls of Rauros are the intertwined guitar leads which dip and dive over atmospheric cliffs. The band’s anthemic side is slightly amplified on their side with songs like “Unavailing” reaching cloud height in terms of power. Compared to Panopticon’s half, Falls of Rauros is the more optimistic of the two yet their rasping vocals provide the necessary chill which is required for atmospheric black metal. The pairing of both of these black metal provides an interesting relationship between two bands who have been noted for their experimentation with the style. If one has not heard either one of these bands, this split is a decent start into a greater appreciation for current United States black metal.