Panopticon, Social Disservices

A. Lundr's one-man black metal project Panopticon is set to release two albums between now and the Spring of 2012. The first, Social Disservices, is what you see above.

Whereas the last Panopticon full-length, On the Subject of Mortality, was a rather sad and sometimes harrowing look at a man dealing with the reality of his own mortality, this record is... not. This record is ferocious. It is angry, raw, and relentlessly aggressive, often primal in its fury. It is directed at a social service system that has failed and continues to fail the people it claims to serve and protect. It comes from the point of view of a man who has made this his living for a long time, and can no longer bare to watch the system brutalize more children.

The lyrics are biting and harsh, but at their core are driven by the author's compassion for the exploited:

Welcome to a home you aren't allowed to leave. Herded like cattle into walls of concrete. Sterile like your raped womb. Therapists wait to pour salt on your wounds... A ghost of a world you could have known. Surrounded by drugged rage, you will face this horror alone. You will face this horror alone.
(track 2, "Client")

The aggression is tempered - reigned in, almost - by an almost ambient quality that makes this record quite eerie and in some ways downright scary at times (see track 3, "Subject," for example). Samples of children wailing and crying add another layer of experimentation to Panopticon's continued use of post-rock elements, creating an atmosphere of extreme disappointment and sorrow behind the pointed anger that remains at the forefront. The drums are insanely good, as usual, raging along with Austin's tortured screams. The buzzsaw guitars are at once sharp, scathing, and hypnotic, with some of the best lead work we've heard on a Panopticon record thus far.  

Mr. Lundr's inner beast has been set free, to wondrous results. Somehow, the rage and passion with which this record was written and created have served to make this perhaps the most focused Panopticon record yet. Those who may have questioned the experimentation with post-rock on the recent split with Wheels Within Wheels will likely view this as a "return to form," and anyone who has been a fan of Panopticon thus far will certainly be pleased, as I really think this record features a little bit of everything that Austin has done so well throughout his discography. 

4 tracks that burn through 50 minutes of amazing music (mastered by Krallice's Colin Marston, and featuring violin by Johan Becker). I sound like a broken record when it comes to Panopticon's music, but this receives the highest recommendation that I can possibly give. This album will be released soon by Flenser Records, and when it is, you will be best served by purchasing it and reading the liner notes that will accompany it. There, you will be able to see more clearly into the heart of the man who has created this record, and perhaps be driven to do something.

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